You Need to Calm Down
Date Aired
June 30, 2019
Running Time
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Todd plays "You Need to Calm Down" on the piano.

A pop song review

Todd: [sighs] Yep. Two Taylor Swift episodes in a month. We're doin' this.

Video for Taylor Swift ft. Brendon Urie - "Me!"
Todd (VO): When I made that last Taylor Swift episode just three weeks ago, I asked one big, provocative question.
Clip from Me!
Todd: Is the Taylor Swift moment over?
Todd: And now we have a definitive answer. No, it is not.
Video for Taylor Swift - "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): It is still Taylor Swift's world, and we are still just living in it. Her new single was titled, "You Need to Calm Down". And...

Todd: ...people did not calm down.

Todd (VO): I was out seeing a show when she released it, and when I got back, it seemed like [shots of tweets about...] everyone I follow on social media, including the non music accounts was talking about it.

Cut to Todd's computer

Alarms goes off and a system alert shows on monitor: "TAYLOR SWIFT DRAMA ALERT"
Todd: [offscreen] The hell?! What the...? What...[checks computer] What set off the alarm?! [turns off alarm; beat] Oh. Oh, no.
Clip of live performance
Todd (VO): So whatever you wanna say about her, it's clear that she still has enormous power to attract attention. [clip of "You Need to Calm Down"] It felt like she deliberately dropped this song dto spite me personally for asking such a stupid question. It dropped, and in its first week, it has rocketed up the charts all the way to...

Todd: ...well, to #2.

Video for...
Todd (VO): It has not budged "Old Town Road", sits on a [image of Lil Nas X's face over Grim Reaper sitting on...] throne of skulls from all the challengers it's vanquished.

Todd: But, something's gotta unseat it eventually. I wouldn't be super shocked if it was Taylor.

Video for "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): 'Cause this is not just any Taylor Swift song. Believe me, I would not be rushing out another Taylor episode this quickly if I could avoid it, but...

Todd: ...this felt like it demanded an immediate response.

Video for "Me!"
Todd (VO): Unlike the vapid and pointless lead single, "Me!", [clip of "You Need to Calm Down"] this feels a lot more...

Todd: ...substantial, I guess. A lot more meat on it.

Video for "Me!"
Todd (VO): And unlike the puzzled apathy that greeted that underwhelming first song, [clip of...] the response to "You Need to Calm Down" from the pop-listening world...

Todd: ...has been extremely positive. [pause] And also extremely negative. This one's really polarizing. [Todd scrolls through Twitter...] Taylor's fan base seems to be really appreciating it. [shot of article: "Taylor Swift's Anthem 'You Need to Calm Down' Is Pretty Clueless"] The more jaded and cynical nerds have been firmly unimpressed. Like, I made my feelings about it known pretty quickly. [shot of tweet from Todd with poop and thumbs down emojis; farting noise] And the Swifties showed up in my [more tweets from Taylor Swift fans bashing Todd] mentions in full defense of her, which...definitely did not happen for that other song.

Video for "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): And since at least a portion of people seemed...fairly protective of it, I'm gonna try and take in everyone's responses as well as my own. 'Cause we're yet again dealing with sensitive topics, and I wanna be careful, and...

Todd: ...yadda-yadda-yadda. Yeah, it's one of those episodes [makes jerkoff motion]. Well, I'll say this much right off the bat.

Brief montage clips of....
Todd (VO): Between this, and "7 Rings", and "Old Town Road", 2019 is turning into a...

Todd: ...banner year for thinkpiece bait pop singles. So, let's start [rubs hands together] generating those hot takes.

Video for "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): OK, so the song is titled, "You Need to Calm Down".
Taylor Swift: You need to calm down, you're being too loud
Todd: Who needs to calm down? Is she talking to herself? [shrugs]

Todd (VO): That would make sense, 'cause it looks like the new album will have a much more relaxed vibe than the [clip of Taylor Swift - "Look What You Made Me Do"] exhaustingly extra previous one.

Todd: But, no. She doesn't need to calm down. You need to calm down.

Taylor: You are somebody that I don't know
But you're takin' shots at me like it's Patrón
And I'm just like, damn, it's 7 AM
Todd: Yeah, it''s another one about the haters.
Taylor: But you say it in a Tweet, that's a cop-out
And I'm just like, "Hey...
Todd: I've never tweeted at Taylor Swift, but...

Todd (VO): ...I am one of her critics.

Todd: Arguably, a hater at points. So, I can speak from experience.

Todd (VO): Telling your critics they need to calm down is always a great move, 'cause it's...

Todd: ...absolutely infuriating.

Todd (VO): "I'm not being emotional, I'm making good faith arguments that deserve a...

Todd: ...response!" D-don't tell me to calm down! I am calm! I'M PERFECTLY CALM!

Todd (VO): So if the idea was to make me look like an idiot, it's doing a decent job.

Todd: But, like Taylor, I am also extremely online. So I do get it, and relate.

Clip of Mean Tweets from Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Todd (VO): Like all celebrities, Taylor does see a lot of unfair shit. [clip of "You Need to Calm Down"] She remains thin-skinned as she's always been, but I do understand that no matter how rich and famous you are, one shitty comment can absolutely fuck up your day.

Todd: She also gets a lot of fair criticism, but we'll be generous and say she's not talking about that.

Todd (VO): She's talking about the pointlessly negative shit-talkers on Twitter, and Instagram, and...

Todd: ...[pause] YouTube.

Todd (VO): Those people suck. She has every right to be irritated at internet trolls; I'm not saying she doesn't.

Todd: My criticism of her criticism of her critics is more that...I've heard it? [shrugs]

Clip of Taylor Swift - "Mean"
Todd (VO): She has had at least one song like this in each of her...what, four last albums?

Todd: It's getting real old.

Video for "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): Like, I guess the tone that she takes here, which is of condescending annoyance and confusion...I guess that works better [clip of Taylor Swift - "Shake It Off"] than when she tried to act like she didn't care at all when she clearly did. ["You Need to Calm Down"] It's just that...after so many of them, I'm so tired.

Todd: She'll be over the haters when she stops talking about them!

Taylor: Snakes and stones never broke my bones
Todd: You were the snake! Remember?
Video for "Look What You Made Me Do"
Todd (VO): It was your thing! Unless you mean the [image of Taylor surrounded by...] snake emojis everyone was sending at you, which...kinda did break your bones as I recall.

Todd: You were so hurt by it, you made a whole album.

Video for Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar - "Bad Blood"
Todd (VO): Taylor's obsession with her enemies was already getting old long before now. [clip of "Me!"] For all the talk of making a clean break from the Reputation era, [clip of "Look What You Made Me Do"] the new album looks like it's...just gonna be Reputation painted in Care Bear colors.

Todd: I am so tired of Taylor Swift's forever war with her haters.

Video for "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): How much longer is she gonna fight this battle? How many more resources will it take? How many more lives will be lost?

Todd: Bring the troops home!

Todd (VO): She's just done this to death. I'm bored with it, and if this were all that the song were about, no one would be talking about it.

Todd: But of course, it's not. So, let's get to that second verse.

Video for Taylor Swift - "Blank Space"
Todd (VO): For the vast majority of her career, Taylor Swift has barely issued any statement ever, artistically or otherwise, about a single topic except herself. [shots of articles: "Who is Taylor Swift voting for? She'll never tell"...] She was one of the most notoriously apolitical celebrities alive. [..."Taylor Swift's Loud Election Silence"...] A position she was being criticized for [...and "It's Time for Taylor Swift to Denounce Her Neo-Nazi Admirers"] even before the intense current zeitgeist, where silence is basically unjustifiable.

Todd: So after so long without a peep...

Clip of ABC News with headline: "Taylor Swift Gets Political"
Todd (VO): was genuinely shocking last year when Taylor Swift issued a very thorough and sharply worded endorsement in the midterm elections.

Todd: It was not a wishy-washy statement.

Clip of Taylor's Instagram video
Todd (VO): And that sudden hard stance looks like something she wants to continue in her music. She said the new album will be more political, and in this song, she makes good on that. She is officially standing for something.

Todd: The haters she takes on in that second verse is...homophobes.

Clip of "You Need to Calm Down"
Taylor: Sunshine on the street at the parade
But you would rather be in the dark ages
Makin' that sign
Todd (VO): It's a big pro-gay message, and the video has tons of various LGBT celebrities.

Todd: So, what do we do with that?

Todd (VO): It is 2019. Most [brief clip of Lady Gaga speaking at gay rights rally] of her peers were out on the frontlines long before this. [image of LA Rams logo in rainbow letters] And even football teams do pride events now. She has nothing to lose and everything to gain by speaking up now, so if people are suspicious of her motives, I don't blame them. You can't really call this a brave stance.

Todd: But, it is probably a necessary one...

Todd (VO): ...for Taylor's relationship with her fans if nothing else. [image of...] Taylor has a looot of LGBT followers.

Todd: They love her, it'd suck if she didn't love them back. The longer she went without saying something, the more people might wonder why.

Taylor: Control your urges to scream about all the people you hate
'Cause shade never made anybody less gay
Todd: So, it's good she finally said something. And it's certainly not useless either. [image of protesters] Prejudice is still really powerful, and the fight continues. So, it absolutely cannot hurt to have the biggest pop star in the world on your side.

Todd (VO): So if people feel like she's standing up for them, and they're happy for that...[sighs]

Todd: You know, I feel like a dick stepping on that.

Taylor: Like can you just not step on his gown?
Todd (VO): But, just speaking for myself...

Todd: first verse is still part of the song.

Todd (VO): To me, this is not a gay rights song; it's an anti-hater song like Taylor's other hater songs that just happens to have a verse about gay bashers. So...

Todd: ...uh, yeah, it's a real interesting move for Taylor to be all like, [images of...] "I, and also the gays, have too many haters." It's like, uh, "Man, the [...and...] cops are outta control! The Central Park DUI. Fuck the police!"

Clip of "You Need to Calm Down"
Taylor: You need to calm down
Todd (VO): The two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other!

Todd: I mean, yes, it's good to make supportive statements. It's good that she's doin' it. It's good that [image of...] McDonald's does it. It's better than not doing it.

Todd (VO): But that doesn't mean I gotta be moved or impressed that my [image of...] McRib came with a [...topped with...] ]rainbow on the wrapper.

Todd: Like I said, I can only speak for myself, but juxtaposing her [images of...] mean Twitter replies with active hate groups strikes me as impossibly bad taste!

Todd (VO): It sounds like Taylor once again failing to see or understand anything beyond her own limited viewpoint. [clip from The Office] This is like if Michael Scott wrote a gay rights anthem. Seriously, Michael Scott level making it about herself.

Todd: And I wanna say, yeah, I do realize that my opinion on this maybe doesn't matter all that much.

Video for "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): Taylor support probably means a lot more to a young, questioning Taylor fan than it does to me, a cynical adult jackass.

Todd: I...I'm not gay.

Todd (VO): I don't...recognize most of these celebrities. I don't even watch Drag Race. When I clock out of doing this, I'm gonna...

Todd: ...go watch sports and play Xbox. Like, I am not a plugged-in guy. [beat] But, Jesus Christ, even I know that's not what shade means!

Taylor: Shade never made anybody less gay
Todd (VO): Shade is, like, catty insults, right? It-it's supposed to be funny, is my understanding!

Todd: It's not...hate speech!

Todd (VO): She's got all those gay and trans people in the video. Couldn' of them have told her?!

Todd: And for that matter, I don't think of a [image of people protesting gay marriage] bunch of Westboro Baptist dickheads screaming on a street corner!

Todd (VO): Like, they don't care if you become less gay as a result of their...

Todd: ...[air quote] "shade".

Todd (VO): Like, that's not their goal.

Todd: Like, maybe your [image of...] religious grandma wants you to be [air quote] "less gay", and find a...nice [image of wedding cake toppers] opposite sex spouse to being home. But, like...

Todd (VO): bashers like that, they don't care that much about your inner life.

Todd: A bully doesn't [image of jock...] shove you in a locker because he wishes you were bigger and cooler.

Video for "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): Taylor phrases that line like...hate-mongers are just confused and...

Todd: ...uh, that ain't it.

Taylor: Shade never made anybody less gay\
Todd (VO): They're not gonna listen to that lyric and be like...

Todd: ..."Wow, I never thought about it like that. I guess you're right."

Todd (VO): It's a very trivializing song, I guess.

Todd: Bigotry is just shade.

Todd (VO): Homophobes are just like...Taylor's obnoxious reply guys.

Todd: It doesn't seem like Taylor really knows what she's talking about. Like, most people aren't ever gonna get protested on the street.

Video for "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): Like, I get that screaming morons like that are...the most striking image of gay hating. But they're also the most easily ignored.

Todd: The major pain in LGBT lives as far as I can tell all come from [images of...] the internet. Or their own families. [...and the White House] Or the highest levels of elected office. Not rednecks with signs.

Clip of live performance of...
Todd (VO): You know, Macklemore was also clumsy, but he at least seemed to understand the depth of the problem, you know?

Todd: But, to be fair, I had someone suggest to me that [shot of Tweet in reply to Todd] maybe Taylor trivializing these idiots is exactly why people like it. [pause] I didn't think of that, I...

Video for "You Need to Calm Down"
Todd (VO): I mean, wouldn't it be nice if that's how it was? Bigots aren't impeding on your very existence. They're just the same as some rude asshole on Twitter...

Todd: ...and you could tell him, "Hey! [shot of pop up screen with "Mute this conversation" circled] Shut up!"

Todd (VO): "Calm the fuck down already! Get that puppy on a leash."

Todd: I mean, I'd like to live in that world, so...

Todd (VO): ...if that's the appeal...well, you know, I don't feel it, but at least I get it.

Todd: Yeah. And, uh...[beat] OK, and uh, there is one other reason...I've seen offered for why some fans really lit up for this song. Which...oh, boy. OK. So, I think [rainbow screen with caption: "LGBT people and Taylor Swift have too many haters"] this is a fair summary of the song's message. But, even boiled down like that, uh, ["LGBT people and Taylor Swift" is circled] there's a lot of ways to interpret it. [chuckles] What does that mean? Hmmm...

Closing Tag Song: "Con Calma (Remix)" - Daddy Yankee ft. Katy Perry & Snow


"You Need to Calm Down" is owned by Republic Records

This video is owned by me


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