In an Instagram livestream yesterday, Taylor Swift ~finally~ announced the title and release date of her upcoming seventh album. It’s called Lover, and our ears will be blessed with all 18 tracks on Aug. 23.
And THEN, as if she hadn’t given us enough already, Taylor went and dropped the second single from Lover at midnight.
The song is called “You Need to Calm Down,” and the single cover plays to the whole ~snakes to butterflies~ thing Taylor has been doing this era.
Obviously, the song is a bop, but we need to focus on the lyrics for a second. Because even though Taylor said her new music had “political undertones”, she was completely lying about the “under” bit.
In a video for Beats 1, Taylor explained that the song was a response to people “who put so much energy and effort into negativity”.
For example, the first verse is a criticism of toxic online culture, calling out people who hide behind anonymous profiles to send hate.
The bridge continues in the same vein, but specifically references society’s constant comparison of women in similar fields.
Because, as we all know, Taylor is no longer here for feuding with other women, and recognises that we can have MULTIPLE QUEENS!!!
But the thing fans are freaking out about most — and rightly so — is the second verse, where Taylor punches anti-gay sentiment in its metaphorical face.
When I first looked up the lyrics to the song about three minutes after it was released, it said “you could be glad”, and I was like, “that’s cool, I guess”. Then Taylor dropped the lyric video, and it turns out that’s not the right lyric AT ALL.
It turns out Taylor was actually referencing GLAAD, the organisation dedicated to fighting for LGBT equality.
And then in the pre-chorus following the second verse, Taylor takes her final shot and knocks anti-gay sentiment out cold.
Of course, this is Taylor Swift, so there are also some Easter eggs in the lyric video — like the fact that every instance of the letters “EA” in the second verse is highlighted in a different colour.
Fans think Taylor is making a subtle reference to the Equality Act, which was the subject of her recent open letter to Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.
If you look closely, there’s also a subtle reference to LGBT pride on the single cover, which will ~probably~ appear in the music video Taylor’s releasing this coming Monday.
I think it’s safe to say we stan.
And people aren’t missing the fact that Taylor turned “you need to calm down” — a phrase often used to belittle those who are marginalised — into an empowering anthem for women and LGBT people.
WE LOVE YOU TAYLOR. ALSO, BUY “YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN” ON iTUNES. BYE.
Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.