Thanks Taylor but, can you not?

milkboys Music, Music & Dance, News & Articles 5 Comments

Taylor Swift gave a gift to her queer fan base in the form of a summertime gay anthem called “You Need To Calm Down,” and on behalf of a grateful community, I must say: thank you, Taylor!

Also: is there any chance you kept a receipt?

Please understand: I appreciate the effort. Like God Herself, I love a trier. It is a thrilling and still somewhat new experience to be part of the textual narrative in pop music, and I am delighted for the young queer kid who’s hearing the song and feeling seen, supported and nourished for the first time. It’s important! And the song has already lodged itself in my frontal lobe and kicked both of those new Bon Iver songs out of their seats. Between “Calm Down,” Katy Perry’s “Never Really Over,” and the whole new Carly Rae Jepsen album, the 2019 pop sound palette seems to be “the Fletch soundtrack,” and I am all the way here for it. I will hear “Calm Down” at pool parties this summer, and I will sing along. It is nice.

But attempting to write a gay anthem in 2019 reeks of sweat and substandard self-awareness. The classics of the past— your “I Will Survive,” your “It’s Raining Men,” your “Pull Up To The Bumper”— they gave us our gayness indirectly. They were anthems of strength, of perseverance, of plain, joyous horniness, served up vicariously, the way it had to be done back then. The singers, always women, almost always black, were our stand-ins. We found these songs and made them ours. These days, LGBTQ wokeness is a box to check off in a marketing plan, and when there are perfectly capable queer artists out there, sitting down as a straight person and setting out to write a gay anthem is very much like trying to give yourself a nickname.

Read on…

Comments 5

  1. Not sure why Esquire would mistake a crappy pop song for a “gay anthem” or why they would discuss it at length. It’s also very hypocritical to complain that pop stars are making money out of their LGBTQ fans when the whole magazine and web site are riddled with ads or consumer-oriented articles, like on smart watches, or “cool” useless gifts, AKA more disguised ads.

    Apparently they are the kind of people who spend their summers in “pool parties” so I don’t wonder that their quality bar for music is so low. Conventional flat pop music, not an ounce of poetry, no emotion. They should try the real world for real songs, and there is also much more merit when LGBTQ songs come from rap or country music.

  2. Being stuck (musically) in the 60s-90s, and deliberately avoiding pop culture for the last 20 years or so, I had to search YouTube for Taylor Swift. Gawd, who told her she could sing? In my splendid isolation, I am convinced I’ve missed nothing….

  3. I agree with the author on some points… though my own take on seeing the video (which was played in full on some talk show for some reason and is the only reason I’ve seen it) was “oh look, another straight b**** pulling out all the stereotypes to make a buck off the gays”.

    Kinda annoying that the author doesn’t seem to remember any of the songs that Queen came out with though, esp with that movie having come out so recently. Neither black nor female and coming out with a whole series of gay anthems in the 70’s and 80’s, one of which is played at derned near every NFL game… and the fans don’t even seem to realize what it is.

    I do agree with the author that the LGBT community is perfectly capable of expressing ourselves if (supposedly well intentioned) “allies” would STFU long enough for us to speak.

  4. The words of this seem a sort of odd. The music is not good. Is “YOU NNEED TO CALM DOWN” of any real meaning ? The words that accompany this post’s video mean nothing to this person here except as insults to non-black non-female obviously gay singers and songsters.

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