At age 29, after a period during which she attempted to convey a kind of “bad girl” image, often photographed clad in black leather, Taylor Swift appears to be attempting a transition back to her previous image. Vox music writer Constance Grady reminds readers of that image, circa 2009, when Swift fashioned herself as “sweet girly girl who sang cute songs about Romeo and Juliet.”
On Thursday, Swift announced the title and release date of her upcoming album, and it seems to fit her re-engineered image. As BuzzFeed reported, the new Swift album will be titled Lover, and will be released to the public on August 23.
She also hinted at her transition back into the upbeat image of her younger years with the art for her new single, “You Need To Calm Down,” posting that artwork on her Instagram account. The image shows Swift from the rear, wearing a backless dress that exposes a large tattoo other back. The tattoo shows a snake — symbolizing her previous public image — transforming into a swarm of butterflies — an illustration she also used to promote her previous single from the upcoming album, “ME!,” which dropped on April 26 after a lengthy and complex social media campaign to promote its debut.
Swift also posted cover art for the upcoming album, Lover, her seventh full-length release, which can be seen below.
The lyrical theme of “You Need To Calm Down” is one that Swift has explored previously — her distaste for “haters” and the flood of negativity that they bring into life. And, as Rolling Stone noted in its report on Swift’s new single, the song is dedicated to the LGBTQ rights movement, of which Swift has been an outspoken supporter.
Listen to the new Taylor Swift single, “You Need To Calm Down,” below, in a video courtesy of Vevo, complete with lyrics.
The single was released at midnight on the night of June 13. Within the first half hour that the Vevo version of the single was posted on YouTube, it had accumulated more than 450,000 views.
The release comes just two weeks after Swift, who still maintains a home in Nashville, Tennessee, sent an open letter to Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, urging the 78-year-old, third-term senator to support passage of the Equality Act, which may be read online via the website for Congress. The bill “prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity” in public areas and in any institution that receives federal funding or is part of the government.
“The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable,” Swift wrote in her letter to Alexander, quoted by Rolling Stone.