Taylor Swift just dropped
a star-studded music video for the second single
off her upcoming album. “You Need to Calm Down” shows a playful yet political side of the pop star, and in classic T-Swift fashion,
both the song and video are filled with hidden details,
references, and meanings. Here’s everything you missed in the lyrics and video for “You Need to Calm Down.” The video begins with an overhead shot of Taylor wearing an
eye mask and lingerie. The outfit references one
of the most memorable looks from her “Blank Space” music video. We see table spreads with
several seemingly random objects. But this is Taylor we’re talking about, so let’s take a closer look. The dice on the left here add up to 13, Taylor’s known lucky number. The next table has six
pieces of candy on it, which could be referencing
the month of June. June, of course, is Pride Month and something Taylor’s celebrating in her new song and video. And when you combine the six with the 13 from the dice, you get 6/13, or June 13, the day Taylor announced her
upcoming video and album dates. On the wall, there’s a framed quote from a Cher interview from 1996. Cher: “You know, sweetheart, one day you should settle down and marry a rich man.” And I said, “Mom, I am a rich man.” [Narrator] The quote is in line with feminist themes
Taylor’s song explores, which we’ll get to. Taylor looks down at a watch as she sings, Swift: It’s 7 a.m. [Narrator] We see the time set to 7 a.m., another nod to her seventh album, as well as the face of her
newest kitten, Benjamin Button. On the watch, the number 1 is replaced with Taylor’s lucky number 13. When Taylor throws her phone to the bed, we see her case has the
word “Lover” written out in the same font as the album’s artwork. The sparkly case also matches
the outfit Taylor wore to the iHeartRadio Awards,
her first red carpet of the “Lover” era. The phone sparks into flames, hinting that Taylor’s
finally over all the drama that her phone’s caused her,
aka her recorded phone call with Kim and Kanye. On the wall to the right of Taylor there’s a butterfly picture. Butterflies are another
image Taylor’s been using to promote her new era. Next, we see Taylor
outside of the trailer. We catch a glimpse of the back tattoo from the song’s artwork,
a snake surrounded by lots of butterflies. The tattoo also matches the opening image of the video for “Me.” Taylor’s wearing heart-shaped earrings. If they look familiar,
it’s because Katy Perry wore a nearly identical
pair in October 2018, but more on Katy later. And, of course, there are
exactly 13 rhinestones on top of Taylor’s sunglasses. When Taylor walks away, we can see that her trailer is on fire. This could symbolize Taylor setting fire to her “Blank Space”-era persona, when she was at the height
of her media visibility. As the inside of her
trailer burns, Taylor sings, Swift: And snakes and stones
never broke my bones so. [Narrator] a reference to the people who tried to bring Taylor
down by calling her a snake. We then see Taylor floating in a pool, which is covered in roses. At her 2019 Wango Tango performance, Taylor said that she brought an Easter egg on stage with her. The stage was decorated
with, you guessed it, roses. The video goes on to reveal
the rest of the trailer park. If you look closely, you’ll see a sign that says 16th Avenue,
which could be a nod to Nashville’s 16th Avenue,
also known as Music Row. We see the first of the
song’s many LGBTQ nods, with the entrance
decorated with Pride flags. The song’s overall pro-LGBTQ message could be aimed at President Trump and his administration’s
anti-LGBTQ policies, as the song “You Need to Calm Down” was released on Trump’s birthday. We get our first celebrity
cameo with Dexter Mayfield, a queer, plus-size model. YouTube comedian Hannah
Hart can also be seen in the background holding up a boom box. There’s a mailbox labeled
“love letters only” in Taylor’s handwriting. At the next trailer, we finally find out what Taylor’s mysterious
orange-fence post was about. All the fences in the
video could be another dig at Trump, whose platform for immigration involves building fences and walls. There are more Pride flags
hanging behind the orange trailer and the word “rent” in a window, which could be referencing
the iconic musical of the same name, best known
for dealing with queer issues. The next cameo is Laverne Cox, a transgender actress and activist. Chester Lockhart, a gay actor and singer, swoons at the sight of her. We then see Taylor in a blue-toned wig that ombrés to match the
colors of the bisexual flag. Taylor’s jacket is decorated with stars, another popular motif in her album promo. She’s also wearing her lucky
number 13 on her necklace. Taylor walks up with her longtime BFF and the video’s coproducer Todrick Hall, who’s a gay singer, dancer, and actor. Todrick’s robe is covered
in glittery hearts, similar to the ones from
Taylor’s album cover and in the “Mean” music video. Gay pop star Hayley
Kiyoko is the next cameo. She’s shooting an arrow aimed at a target labeled with the number 5. Five could be a reference to
Taylor’s fan-loved track fives. “Track 5” was also written
on a button Taylor wore on her Entertainment
Weekly cover back in May, all of which she confirmed
were Easter eggs. Could “Track 5” be Taylor’s next single? The video goes on to reveal protesters holding up anti-LGBTQ signs, leaning in to the political
tones of the song. The first protest sign we
see says “Homasekuality is a sin,” with
“homosexuality” spelled wrong. This might be Taylor’s way of saying that homophobic people
need to educate themselves. We get to a celebration of gay love with a wedding between
actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his real-life husband, Justin Mikita. The wedding is officiated by Ciara. We see another protest sign that says “Adam + Eve not Adam + Steve,” which is a saying frequently
used by conservative Christians and could be Taylor calling
out religious conservatives. Our first “Queer Eye” cameo
comes from Tan France, who walks by with a teapot
and dramatically sips tea. The video pans over to Taylor sipping tea with Todrick and the rest
of the “Queer Eye” cast. “Tea” has become a popular
reference to throwing shade, and the phrase “spilling tea”
comes from black drag culture, another aspect of the LGBTQ
community Taylor celebrates in her video. Both the tea set and Jonathan’s dress were teased on Taylor’s Instagram before the video release. The tea set also looks identical to one Taylor used in a sketch on “Ellen” in 2012, which
could be an Easter egg for Ellen’s soon-to-be scene cameo. Our next cameo is Olympic figure skater Adam
Rippon serving snow cones. Rippon is one of the few
openly gay Olympic athletes. Ellen DeGeneres makes her brief appearance while getting a tattoo from Adam Lambert. The tattoo looks like it
spells out “Cruel Summer,” which could be a reference
to the 1984 self-love anthem by Bananarama, or one
last dig at Kanye West, who released a compilation
album of the same name. Ellen secretly sported the
tattoo under her jacket during her recent interview
with Taylor on her show. The video goes on to show Taylor tanning while wearing heart-shaped sunglasses, which were featured in her lyric video, and the straw in the cup
next to her says “Lover.” We see the protesters again. One of the protesters’ signs
says “Get a brain, morans!” with “morons” spelled
wrong, reiterating the idea that protesters need
to educate themselves. The iconic Billy Porter walks
in front of the protesters as Taylor sings, “Don’t step on his gown,” which could be a reference to when Billy faced homophobic backlash for wearing a gown to the Oscars. On the song’s bridge, Taylor shifts from LGBTQ pride to
feminist pride, singing, Swift: And we see you over
there on the internet, comparing all the girls
who are killing it. [Narrator] The video’s accompanying scene is a pop-queen pageant. Stars from “RuPaul’s Drag
Race” play iconic pop queens that the media constantly
compares each other to. Let’s take a closer look
at each star in the lineup. First, we see Tatianna as Ariana Grande. Grande and Swift are two of
music’s biggest record-breakers, and the media loves comparing
the singers to one another. Trinity The Tuck is Lady Gaga. In a 2014 interview with Howard Stern, Gaga commented that she used
to think Taylor was full of… but instantly changed her mind once she met Taylor. However, the quote was spun
into a feud between the stars. Delta Work is Adele, another
musician whose awards and records the media
constantly keeps score of against Taylor’s. Trinity K. Bonet is Cardi B. In 2017, Cardi’s “Bodak Yellow” knocked Taylor’s “Look
What You Made Me Do” from the top of the charts. Taylor was quick to knock down any rumors of bad blood and sent the rapper flowers, congratulating her for the song’s success. There’s Jade Jolie as Taylor, and the next is Riley Knoxx as Beyoncé. Taylor was most recently
compared to Beyoncé after her performance of “Me” at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, which many people called out as copying Beyoncé’s
“Beychella” performance. Not to mention Beyoncé was one of the first female entertainers Taylor was ever pitted against, by Kanye West, during the infamous
VMAs acceptance speech. Adore Delano is Katy Perry. The singer is the subject of one of Taylor’s most well-known feuds, but the pair reconciled last year with a literal olive branch. Still, there’s a constant
media cycle devoted to their feud and reconciliation. Last, we have A’keria C.
Davenport as Nicki Minaj. Taylor and Nicki butted heads on Twitter when Taylor thought Nicki was shading her in a tweet before the VMAs. But they quickly made up
with a joint performance. In her tweets, Taylor brought up the idea of pitting women against women, which relates to the
lyrics during this scene. It’s also worth noting
that the lineup here draws parallels to the
lineup of old Taylors from the “Look What You
Made Me Do” music video, each representing a version of Taylor that was criticized by the media. RuPaul enters the pageant with a crown, one of the video teasers
from Taylor’s Instagram. He tosses it into the air,
and no one reaches for it, representing the lyrics Swift: We all got crowns. [Narrator] This line is also a reference to Taylor’s “Reputation”
track “Call It What You Want,” on which she sings, Swift: They took the
crown, but it’s all right. [Narrator] in reference to
her crumbling reputation. Here, Taylor’s realizing there’s space for everyone at the top. Rather than fight for the crown, the pop queens all dance together with the trailer-park residents. They’re dancing in a
colorful mess of cake, similar to how Taylor danced
through a rainbow mess at the end of the video for “Me.” But here, Taylor isn’t dancing. Instead, she’s dressed as french fries and appears to be searching
for someone in the crowd. The image looks like a scene from her music video for
“I Knew You Were Trouble,” where she’s searching
through a dancing crowd for a guy, sporting
similar pink-dyed hair. But Taylor doesn’t really
need a man anymore. Instead, who she finds is
none other than Katy Perry. Katy’s dressed as a burger, the perfect pair to Taylor’s fries. Fans had hoped that Katy
would make an appearance in the video, after spotting
those heart-shaped earrings in the song’s cover art. Katy’s burger dress is
the same one she wore to the Met Gala in May. While Katy and Taylor hug and
the other characters dance, we see Ryan Reynolds painting a picture of the Stonewall Inn, where Taylor gave a surprise
performance the weekend before the video dropped. The NYC landmark is known as the place where the gay-rights
movement began in 1969. Ryan’s inspiration board
also includes images from Pride parades. The video closes out with a call to action to support the Equality Act,
a bill currently in Congress that, if passed, would
amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Taylor previously referenced the act in the lyric video for
“You Need to Calm Down” and publicly shared the letter she penned to her Tennessee state
senator about the act. “You Need to Calm Down” is
Taylor’s first musical effort at politics. Although Taylor has described “Lover” as a very romantic album
in both content and sound, so far her new music seems
to be about empowerment and spreading positivity. Did we miss anything in
the lyrics or music video? Let us know in the comments below.

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Dennis Veasley

28 thoughts on “Everything You Missed In Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’ Video”

  1. I love the song but could care less what the songs meaning is all about. Does any one really have that much time on their hands to look at all of that?

  2. Its stick and stones may may break may my bones not snakes. U can tell the devil owns her . Homosexuals is wrong.Satan can say welcome to hell. What a horrible disgrace.

  3. This woman has never had no talent just the people to put money behind this Remeo save me little girl. Has no talent but for teens.

  4. Wow… This really open my eyes… I was UNLIKE the taylor swift You Need To Calm Down music video.
    But after seeing this… I… I really need to calm down… I like taylor swift personality even more now. 😍

  5. I feel like this song is morally targeted towards conservatives which is really messed up! She's pretty much assuming that all conservatives and Republicans are racist, homophobic monsters that don't want anyone to be happy. I'm here to say that's very disrespectful and not at all correct! She has no idea what Trump is for and she should probably do her homework too! This is coming from a fan of Taylor Swift! But since she's so politically on the left side and not even sure what's going on on the right she likes to assume that conservatives are hateful people, which we are not! Oh Taylor! You have so much to learn my dear.

    P.s does she not know like other liberals that the left is the most hatred political party ever? The left is morally the one party that hates people.

  6. Someone must have stepped on her gown; shade never made anybody less gay. Besides the fact that none of this matches the lyrics, and then of course, the queens. I don't think this is accurate. J/ s

  7. Here's one. Listen to the song: Hina Na Ho by Susan Aglukark (Inuit performer). Taylor's song is eerily similar to this, at least the opening few bars. Hina Na Ho, translation: Celebration.

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