Taylor Swift released a new song on Friday, and it’s extremely pro-LGBTQ+ — at least, I think it is. I mean, she mentions being gay and GLAAD in it, and also there’s a part where she sings about men in gowns. It’s all pretty incoherent, to be honest, but I’m gonna go ahead and read it in good faith. Taylor Swift’s new song is pro-gay! If only it were pro-good.
The latest single off of seventh album Lover, out Aug. 23 per Pitchfork, “You Need to Calm Down” finds Swift singing about how internet haters need to stop being so mean to her and her friends and just chill out, man. “Why are you mad, when you could be GLAAD?” she sings, apparently in reference to the LGBTQ+ mega-nonprofit as the song’s accompanying lyric video clarifies. Clarifies is perhaps the wrong word, because now I’m actually more confused. Why GLAAD? Why not glad? What does a nonprofit that releases annual reports on queer media representation have to do with not being angry? And how would you even know she meant GLAAD if you weren’t reading along with the lyrics??
And then there’s this lyric: “‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay.” So, I think what she’s trying to say here is that “shade” = “being mean” (which it doesn’t) and that being mean to people who are gay never stopped them from being gay (which isn’t true, that’s literally how bullying and oppression work??). Or maybe she’s just doing a late-stage non-apology for all the “shade” she threw at gay people on 2007’s “Picture to Burn”? Like, sure, I sang about telling all my friends my ex is gay to get back at him on a song bought by millions of teens at a time when not even same-sex marriage was legalized, but shade never made anybody less gay!
There’s also a line about not stepping on “his gown.” Is that supposed to be trans representation? Listen to the song below!