“You Need To Calm Down” is the latest single from pop sensation Taylor Swift from her highly anticipated album of the year “Lover”, which is due to be released in August 2019.
“You Need To Calm Down” was written and produced by both Taylor and Joel Little, who also worked together on Swift’s last single “ME!”. The track discusses the ridiculousness of homophobia as well as Swift addressing her critics. The track integrates LGBTQ+ slang and known charities, such as the line “Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD?”, with glad being spelt as “GLAAD”, which is the American organisation “The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation”. On the 1st June 2019, Swift gave GLAAD a huge donation in order to create campaigns that fight against the discrimination and hate LGBTQ+ people face daily. Swift has also created a petition in support of the Equality Act, which will help create more legal equality for minority groups. After the release of “You Need To Calm Down”, GLAAD reported that they saw a significant increase in donations. Swift spoke to Beats1 Radio before the release of the track, explaining it’s meaning: “It’s about how I’ve observed a lot of different people in our society who just put so much energy and effort into negativity, and it just made me feel like, “You need to just calm down, like you’re stressing yourself out. This seems like it’s more about you than what you’re going off about. Like, just calm down.”
However, despite the increase in donations and the song’s intended good message, Swift has been accused of queerbaiting, as well as not truly demonstrating how to be a good ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Justin Kirkland from men’s magazine “Esquire”, said that the track “misses the point of being an LGBTQ ally” by “equating online haters with the personal and societal struggle of LGBTQ+ people”. Swift spoke out about the backlash from the song, telling The Scottish Sun: “I pretty much know that anything I do is going to have some people who just hate it. I’m trying to make things that will make my fans happy, that will make my fans feel accepted, supported and loved. If people want to criticize me and be constructive, I’m always open to learning. I don’t think you are ever doing things perfectly, I think you always have room to improve and learn. I want to constantly learn how I can be a better ally. If criticism is constructive then I am all ears.”
The music video was released on the 17th June 2019, and was directed by Drew Kirsch and Swift, and executively produced by choreographer Todrick Hall and Swift once again. The video features many celebrity appearances, many of whom identify as LGBTQ+ – these are some of the celebrities that featured: Laverne Cox, Todrick Hall, Hayley Kiyoko, Katy Perry, RuPaul, Ellen DeGeneres, Adam Lambert and many more. The video opens up in a colourful trailer park, where Swift wakes up in a trailer. Throughout the video Swift and her fellow celebrities into a hall walking down a street, ending with a “pop queen” pageant. Almost one week after the video was released on Taylor Swift’s official channel on YouTube, the video has almost 40 million views and over 2 million likes.
Release Date: 14th June 2019
Songwriter/s: Taylor Swift & Joel Little
Producer/s: Joel Little & Taylor Swift
Label/s: Republic / Taylor Swift Productions
Music Video Release Date: 17th June 2019
Music Video Director: Drew Kirsch & Taylor Swift
Chart Rankings: “You Need To Calm Down” upon its release has ranked #43 and #40 in Canada on differing charts, and #33 in the US Billboard Adult Top 40 as well as #35 in the US Billboard Mainstream Top 40.