Deconstructing Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’

by Shelton Bumgarner

I really like Taylor Swift’s latest song. But while I won’t call it derivative, I will suggest that it’s heavily influenced by two other songs.

One of the songs is Lily Allen’s “Straight To Hell.”
The other song is Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For the Boy.”

Swift’s song has been slowed down, however. So it’s not a one-to-one. But if you listen carefully to the background music, the “wall of sound” if you will, you can definitely hear the Allen song floating around.

Now, when it comes to Williams’ song, I think the producer of Swift’s song simply wanted to evoke the feel, the vibe of that song. But that sound was all over the place in 80s music so hearing it in Swift song is kind of driving me crazy.

Thus Swift’s song is a mixture of this song slowed down a lot:

And a big chunk of the sound of this song used as something as both a tone setter and a “cover” for the use of Allen’s song.

Both those two songs together, throw in some awkward modern lyrics about haters and…ta-da!

A Theory About Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’

by Shelton Bumgarner

As I’ve written before, I think Taylor Swift decided to use Lily Allen’s “Straight To Hell” as a musical blueprint for her song, “You Need To Calm Down.”

The more I listen to the two songs, it’s a much more subtle similarity than I originally thought. I guess what I’m hearing is there’s a background sound in the new song that is very, very similar to the Allen song. And the beat is very similar, if in a very garbled way.

Here’s what I think happened:

Swift is really mad about getting it from both gay people and Right Wing nutjobs. So, she found a song that expresses her view on the subject: Straight to hell.

So, her song should really be entitled, “Go Straight to Hell Haters.” But, as I said, there’s another song’s sound being used as something of a cover in the Swift song. It’s such a direct lift, in fact, that given enough time and thought I can probably figure it out.

It’s an 80s song, I think. It’s conspicuous as to be pretty self-evident. I just can’t think of the song right now. Whatever the 80s song is I’m hearing the influence of, it was a pretty big hit.

This is Strange: Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’ & Lily Allen’s Version Of The Clash’s ‘Straight To Hell’ Have The Same Beat Structure

by Shelton Bumgarner

I really like Taylor Swift’s latest song, “You Need To Calm Down.” But something about it reminded me of something else. And it just occurred to me what it is — Lily Allen’s version of The Clash’s “Straight To Hell.”

Here’s take a listen for yourself:

There’s another song floating around in Swift’s song, though. It’s got a very 80s New Wave Electronica vibe to it. But otherwise, I sense a very, very strong influence on Swift’s song from the Allen song.

Or not.

Just an observation.