At midnight on Friday, Taylor Swift dropped her new track “You Need To Calm Down,” in what is her most political effort yet.
Sitting just under three minutes, the single is a markedly less saccharine experience than her last single “ME!”, but it’s the lyrics, ardent in their support for the LGBTQ community, which has got the internet very excited.
Swift said in a video posted by Beats 1’s Twitter account, that the song is a call for her haters to, you guessed it — settle down.
“I’ve observed a lot people in our society who jut put so much energy and effort into negativity,” she said.
“It just made me feel like, ‘You need to just calm down, you’re stressing yourself out.’ This seems like it’s more about you, than what you’re going off about.”
The first verse is a general middle finger to her internet critics, but then by the second verse, the song takes clear aim at homophobes. It’s perfect timing given it’s currently Pride month, and the lyrics aren’t subtle about those who are against the LGBTQ community.
Swift sings, “You are somebody that we don’t know / But you’re comin’ at my friends like a missile
/ Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD? / Sunshine on the street at the parade / But you would rather be in the dark ages / Makin’ that sign must’ve taken all night.”
The GLAAD reference certainly didn’t go unnoticed by the pro-LGBTQ organization, which tweeted its glee about the shout out.
In further support for the LGBTQ community, Swift goes on to sing, “You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace / And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate / ‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay.”
You can bet that last line will become a catch-cry for a long, long time.
Listen up lgbt swifties can you imagine screaming “shade never made anybody less gay” at the ts7 tour with all your friends because I can and… I’m crying
— Jemima Skelley (@jemimaskelley) June 14, 2019
Girls and gays we’re really going to be screaming “‘CAUSE SHADE NEVER MADE ANYBODY LESS GAY” at the next tour. That’s really happening.
— Chris Swiftie™🏳️🌈🦋 (@HuffleBoy) June 14, 2019
second verse and chorus is calling out homophobes (references making signs about people you hate during parades). “shade never made anybody less gay” = gay people will still be gay no matter how much you yell that you hate them.
— Katie Minard (@KatieMinard) June 14, 2019
“You Need To Calm Down” is the inevitable result of Swift’s ever-increasing voice in political matters, something she shied away from until the midterm elections in 2018, breaking her silence to back Democrat candidates in the Tennessee race.
Swift recently backed the Equality Act, a bill which outlaws discrimination against LGBTQ people in public places like schools, work, and housing.
In early June, the artist penned a letter asking a Republican lawmaker to pass the bill, and in the video for “You Need To Calm Down,” the letters “EA” — a clear nod to the legislation — are repeatedly highlighted in the video.
As well as her new song, Swift showed off the cover for her forthcoming album, Lover, which is due for release on Aug. 23.
In a May interview with German news agency DPA, Swift said her music was going to take a political turn.
“I definitely think there are political undertones in the new music I made,” Swift said, according to a a translation. “I’m not planning to stop encouraging young people to vote and to try to get them to talk about what’s going on in our country. I think that’s one of the most important things I could do.”
After years of frustration at her political silence, times are certainly changing.