Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” Lyrics Meaning

“You Need to Calm Down” is a song that Taylor Swift is directing at haters, specifically those who spew negative words over the internet. And the targeted individuals not only include those who come at her but also her peers. Furthermore, she targets those who target the LGBT community. And what she is telling these negative people, as the title suggests, is to take a chill pill.

Taylor bases the logic of this suggestion on her own personal experience. Or as Swift states in her own words, life has taught her “a lesson about stressing and obsessing about somebody else is no fun”. But ultimately, while having people “taking shots” at her obviously is a nuisance, she is not going to let them get her down.

It is clear that, in this track, Swift is counterattacking internet trolls who try to make life for her and her fellow female superstars difficult. But it reads more like an attack against homophobia – with Swift even namedropping GLAAD – than anything else. So in a sense, the singer is relating her own personal struggles against unprovoked attacks to the persecution homosexuals face. And in both cases, she is telling the people who perpetrate these ugly things that they “need to calm down”.

Lyrics of "You Need to Calm Down"

Taylor Swift’s remarks about the meaning of “You Need to Calm Down”

In a Beats 1 interview, Swift categorically explained the meaning of this song. According to her, it focuses on how she took her time to observe people who devote a great deal of time into negativity. She said such actions made her feel like such people needed to swallow a chill pill and stop stressing themselves out! Hence the title of the track – “You Need to Calm Down”.

Taylor Swift explains the meaning of "You Need to Calm Down"

Writing and Production

Swift wrote “You Need to Calm Down” with New Zealand songwriter and record producer Joel Little. Swift and Little also worked together on the song’s production. Thus they are the only two with production credits on this track. FYI, Little also co-wrote and co-produced Swift’s “ME!

Album and Release Date of “You Need to Calm Down”

Swift’s team (Republic Records and Universal Music Group) officially released the song on June 14, 2019. It came out as the second single from the album Lover. Lover is officially the seventh studio album of Swift’s. The Joel Little co-written and co-produced track “ME!” (ft. Brendon Urie) was the first single from the album.

Music Video

Swift directed the official music video for “You Need to Calm Down” along with Drew Kirsch. This video, which was dropped on June 17, 2019, features numerous celebrities and LGBT icons, including the following:

  • Ellen Degeneres
  • Ciara
  • Adam Lambert
  • Ryan Reynolds
  • Hannah Hart
  • The Fab Five from the TV series Queer Eye
  • Billy Porter
  • Hayley Kiyoko
  • RuPaul

American singer Katy Perry also made a cameo appearance in the clip. Perry’s appearance served as the highlight of the video as it saw the reunification of Swift and Perry after a lengthy feud.

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