Why Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’ Is Her Most Political Song Yet
Taylor Swift 's new single, "You Need to Calm Down," off her upcoming seventh studio album, Lover, is unlike anything the pop star has released before — and the most politically outspoken she's been on a song yet.
Prior to her colorful new era, Swift has remained rather tight-lipped on her political views. Her reasoning was that she didn't want people to vote for or believe what she believes just because they love her as an artist. In an interview with TIME, she said that when she was a teenager she did follow politics but didn't know everything: "I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for."
Whether you've noticed it or not, Swift has, in fact, been slowly becoming more and more outspoken on major political and social issues over the last few years. On 1989, her fifth studio album released in 2014, she included a subtle politically charged, pro-LGBTQ lyric in "Welcome To New York." "And you can want who you want / Boys and boys and girls and girls," she sang on the track, hinting at her political voice.
Swift is arguably one of the biggest musicians and celebrities on the planet. When she shares something, it's viewed millions of times by fans and the media outlets reporting on it. She was previously criticized for being private about her specific beliefs, but Swift made her first overt political stance known in October 2018, when she endorsed Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives and Senate. Since then, her political voice has only become louder.
One of the causes closest to her is LGBTQ+ rights. She gave a speech on the subject during her Wango Tango performance on June 1, simultaneously launching a petition urging politicians to support the Equality Act. And her latest single, "You Need to Calm Down," is practically a pro-LGBTQ+ anthem.
In the lyrics, Swift takes aim at the internet trolls and hate groups known for homophobic picket signs. She slams anti-LGBTQ protestors: "And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate / 'Cause shade never made anybody less gay." (In the artwork for the single, a rainbow Pride flag can be seen on a trailer in the background.)
She also gives a shoutout to LGBTQ+ organization GLAAD in the lyrics:
Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD? (You could be GLAAD)
Sunshine on the street at the parade
But you would rather be in the dark ages
Since the song was released on June 14, GLAAD has reported a considerable uptick in donations. To further her LGBTQ+ support, on Friday night she performed at the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City, where she previously donated to for the restoration fund.
Aside from speaking out about her support of the LGBTQ+ community, Swift also tackles misogyny aimed at women online, which includes slut-shaming and unfair comparisons between women: "And we see you over there on the internet / Comparing all the girls who are killing it / But we figured you out / We all know now we all got crowns."
It's no secret that the internet has become a cesspool of judgment, hate and political turmoil, often aimed towards marginalized groups. Taylor Swift, one of the most visible celebrities in the world, takes a firm and specific stance against homophobia and misogyny in lyrics that will be heard across Top 40 radio stations around the globe, something that will hopefully amplify the voices of those impacted by the issues she is singing about.