- Taylor Swift released her LGBTQ-star-studded music video Monday morning for her single “You Need To Calm Down,” which features a prominent message of LGBTQ acceptance.
- Apart from the impressive celebrity lineup of the Drew Kirsch-directed video, there are plenty of references, Easter eggs, and clues about Swift’s upcoming album “Lover.”
- Here are 13 of the Easter eggs, explained, along with fan predictions about what some of the clues could mean for this era of Swift’s career.
- Read more stories like this on INSIDER.
Taylor Swift has a history for dropping Easter eggs and clues in music videos. The global superstar has revealed her love of symbols countless times – for the “Reputation” album era she relied on snake symbolism, and 13 has been her lucky number for years.
So far, Swift’s latest era, which is leading up the August 23 release of her seventh album “Lover,” has involved countless butterflies, pastel colours, cats, and glittery, sparkly hearts. The aesthetic for “You Need To Calm Down” includes all of the above, with an emphasis on LGBTQ pride and acceptance.
Here are 13 symbols, Easter eggs, clues, and references you may have missed on your first watch.
There’s a framed Cher quote on the wall of Swift’s trailer.
Within the first ten seconds of the video, there’s a shot of a framed quote on the wall of the pink pastel trailer Swift wakes up in. It says “Mum, I am a rich man” and quickly burns up in the ensuing fire via sparking cell phone.
That quote was originally said by Cher in a 1996 interview with Jane Pauley. Cher reveals that when her mother told her she should settle down and marry a rich man, she responded with the comeback Swift had painted and framed.
Swift has been in a relationship with actor Joe Alwyn since September 2016, and this nod to Cher may be a sly rebuttal to wedding rumours. It also falls in line with Swift’s consistent message of female empowerment.
There’s an outfit callback to the music video for “Blank Space.”
As soon as the lyrics kick in, we see Swift sit up in bed wearing a silky cream-coloured robe, an eye mask that says “Calm Down,” and bright red lipstick. The outfit is a huge callback to the gothic morning look in the music video for 2014’s “Blank Space.”
did someone say Blank Space? pic.twitter.com/n0mTYmGLxc
— ????????????????, Anna (@expatswiftie) June 17, 2019
“Blank Space” is a coded anthem biting back at Swift’s representation as a boy-crazy serial dater in the media. This pastel, pro-LGBTQ version of Swift signifies a huge shift in her former apolitical public persona, especially with her recent petition on behalf of the Equality Act, an LGBTQ rights initiative.
There are several pieces of “Lover” merchandise in the opening scenes.
As Swift mixes herself a morning cocktail of pink champagne and cotton candy, she checks her phone, sees something that causes her to narrow her eyes and toss the phone back on the bed, and then the phone sparks and sets her trailer on fire. But before the flames catch, we see the glittery, liquid-filled phone case says “Lover,” the title of Swift’s upcoming album.
The video may indicate the phone is dangerous, but fans can actually purchase the case on Swift’s online store, along with her sleep mask, her cat wristwatch (with the lucky number 13 misplaced on the clock), and her yellow heart-shaped sunglasses.
Swift’s back tattoo showcases her symbolic transformation.
The image of a full back tattoo on Swift was attention-grabbing enough to be the promotional image for the music video as a whole. But the tattoo design itself, of a snake turning into a hundred or so butterflies, signifies Swift’s transition from her stormy, revenge-centered “Reputation” era to the light and playful “Lover” era. Butterflies are also a classic symbol of rebirth.
There’s a nod to a lyric from “Don’t Blame Me” in Swift’s cocktail glass.
As Swift strides away from her burning trailer, she’s got on glitzy heart earrings and she’s holding a glass full of her pink cocktail. Floating in that glass is a little yellow daisy – a reference to the line “I once was poison ivy, but now I’m your daisy” in “Don’t Blame Me” from “Reputation.”
It’s a lyric about Swift’s relationship with Alwyn, and she’s carrying that reminder out of the fire and into the celebration of this new era. This shot also echoes the music videos for “Bad Blood” and “Look What You Made Me Do” – specifically, two scenes about Swift’s feud with Katy Perry, which is resolved later in this very video.
The lawn decor outside Laverne Cox’s trailer was helpfully supplied by Swift’s dad.
In 2015, Swift shared a birthday message for her dad where she reminisced about the “interesting Christmas presents” he’d given to her over the years.
She attached a photo of some lawn flamingoes which now appear in the video outside Laverne Cox’s pink trailer. A fan on Tumblr pointed out the connection, and Swift liked it, suggesting the ornaments were in fact from her father.
There’s a clue about a Hayley Kiyoko collaboration on “Lover.”
Hayley Kiyoko, a lesbian pop artist and friend of Swift’s, appears in the video to shoot an arrow straight into a bullseye with the number 5 written inside. Fans speculated that this could mean Kiyoko was featured on track five of “Lover,” and Swift liked the post on Tumblr.
— ???????????????????????????????? ???????????????????? ???? (@illbtheprincess) June 17, 2019
Swift’s wig is the exact colours of the bisexual pride flag.
In two scenes of the video, where Swift dances with co-executive producer and close friend Todrick Hall, then sips tea with the cast of “Queer Eye,” she’s wearing a tri-colour wig with the colours blue, purple, and pink. That’s an exact replica of the bisexual pride flag, and echo the colour scheme of the video in its entirety.
Swift is also wearing a 13 necklace with this outfit.
A tattoo on Ellen DeGeneres may reveal the name of another track on “Lover.”
In a scene where Adam Lambert tattooes Ellen DeGeneres’ arm, a close-up of the tattoo shows it says “Cruel Summer.” That’s a 1984 song by Bananarama, but fans suspect it could be the name of a track on “Lover.” What’s more, on Swift’s last “The Ellen Show” appearance, DeGeneres not-so-jokingly said she’d be in Taylor’s next video, and a close-up shot from the interview shows the same tattoo on Ellen’s arm.
ellen had the tattoo in the interview i- pic.twitter.com/oWfVK9zhZH
— kira (@finelinekira) June 17, 2019
The drag queen who plays Swift in the “Pop Queen Pageant” scene actually imitated her on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
A lineup of drag queens portray pop and rap stars Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Adele, Cardi B, Swift, Beyonce, Perry, and Nicki Minaj in a “Pop Queen Pageant” judged by RuPaul himself. A little tidbit about Perry’s imitator, drag queen Jade Jolie, is that she actually played Swift in a round on season 5 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
— Erica Moss (@ericajmoss) June 17, 2019
Ryan Reynolds paints a portrait of The Stonewall Inn.
Actor and friend of Swift’s, Ryan Reynolds, is shown painting away at a reproduction of none other than The Stonewall Inn, a historic location for LGBTQ rights where Swift performed Friday night. Some fans think the scene also referenced the “Deadpool 2” commercial where Reynolds, in character, imitated Bob Ross.
— ciera (@cierarybak) June 17, 2019
Young protestors abandon their cause after they see how much fun Swift and her friends are having.
Anti-LGBTQ protestors swarm the trailer park where Swift and her co-stars studiously ignore them throughout the video, but at one point near the end, two young protestors throw their signs to the side and join the party. One sign, which shows a misspelling of “morons” as “Morans,” may be a subtle callout to same-sex marriage opposer Senator Jerry Moran.
— Cornelia Street⁷⟭⟬ ???? Bangswift (@Worthwhilefigh1) June 17, 2019
Perry’s hamburger costume was previously worn by her at the Met Gala.
The finale of the video shows Perry and Swift finally forgiving each other for their seemingly endless feud with a fast food-themed embrace. The hamburger costume Perry is wearing is actually what she wore to this year’s Met Gala.
There’s also a theory that Perry will appear in a track on “Lover” called “Love Letters Only,” based on an inscription on a maibox and some hints on Perry’s Instagram.
'Love Letters Only' is the name of a new single featuring Katy Perry????
-There's a mailbox in the video that says that
-Katy recently posted a 'letter' on her instagram post about her last single
-In the caption, she used the 'love letter', mailbox, and paper emojis pic.twitter.com/LtsLO2ghwh
— ???????????????????? ???????? (@noproofnotmuch) June 17, 2019
Did you catch any Easter eggs we missed? Email [email protected] with any more album clues or references in “You Need To Calm Down.”
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