Artwork by Amelia Foy
To celebrate LGBT History Month and the upcoming National Coming Out Day on October 11, we created a playlist of 11 LGBT-related songs. We hope that these songs can inspire you to reflect on the shared experiences and sacrifices made by LGBTQ+ folk throughout history!
Click here to listen to the playlist on 8tracks, or click the YouTube links for each individual song!
- She Keeps Me Warm - Mary Lambert: I remember when the chorus of this song was featured in Macklemore’s “Same Love”–when I first heard it, I was sitting next to my mum in the car and the song was on the radio. We had just parked. I saw my mum cry in amazement and joy. We couldn’t believe we were hearing these beautiful, powerful lyrics on mainstream radio: “I can’t change, even if I tried… My love, she keeps me warm.” Mary Lambert wrote this chorus for “Same Love,” and went on to write a whole song developing it, launching her career. –Vita
- Same Love - Angel Haze: In this cover, a pansexual, agender rapper (AKA Angel Haze) takes a swing at the popular song originally performed by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Angel Haze’s rendition of the immensely popular LGBT themed song “Same Love” is especially touching and personal, because they rap about real issues that LGBT+ youth experience, such as the line: “And so I stand for the boy who died by his hand / To the sound of his father screaming ‘woman loves man.” The relatively relaxed pace of Angel’s rapping combined with the slow tempo works beautifully, and the passion behind their rap made it their own. This song is incredibly touching and vocalises about issues LGBT teens face on a daily basis. –Sharon
- Who Wears The Pants - Soko: Soko, a French singer and actress, whose most recent album, My Dreams Dictate My Reality, is a beach goth (think of The Neighbourhood’s album Wiped Out!), 80’s rock-inspired album complete with dreamy synth and echoing guitar tones. This song kicks off with a grungy guitar solo, and Soko’s raspy, throaty voice croons to the listener: “Have you ever thought of being a man? / Do you think it would ease your pain?” She then goes on to call out society’s hypocrisy when it comes to the acceptance of lesbian and gay relationships: “You think that two boys is a sin / And two girls is somehow sexy.” Her growled, tortured-sounding vocals, the crashing drum beat, and thrumming bass come together to create the essential song for when you just want to jam out and shout your frustrations to the world. –Daj
- She - Dodie Clark: Dodie Clark is a bisexual English singer most well known for her covers and original music on YouTube. Her original song, “She,” is about the feeling of heartbreak when the person you love doesn't love you back, and is based off of her own experience with a crush on a girl. Accompanied by soft, strummed guitar chords, Dodie’s sweet, lilting voice perfectly suits the carefully-held, tenderly bittersweet emotion behind the song. If you’re dealing with heartbreak or unrequited love, this is the perfect song to listen to if you’re in the mood for a nice, long, sob session. –Daj
- It’s Over, Isn’t It? - Rebecca Sugar: “It’s Over, Isn’t It?” is one of many emotionally captivating songs from the soundtrack of Steven Universe, an animated show written by Rebecca Sugar. It is a ballad about love, jealousy, denial, and the feeling of heartbreak and defeat when the person you love chooses to love another. After the death of her friend, whom she loves, the narrator is conflicted between her bitterness towards her friend’s husband and having to take care of their son. This scene is crucial to her character development because it shows her constant denial of feelings she is afraid to admit, even to herself. In this scene, the narrator’s voice rings out against a soft, purple backdrop of the city at night. –Vivian
- I Belong to You - Brandi Carlile: Pinning a genre to Brandi Carlile is a struggle, as her style is so fluid and varied, encompassing country, folk and rock in different songs. This song is an intense but gentle love song, which could be about any dedicated, close relationship, romantic or platonic. –Vita
- Girls/Girls/Boys - Panic! At the Disco: Panic! At The Disco is a pop punk band led by Brendon Urie, most well known for songs such as “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and “Ballad of the Mona Lisa.” Their album Too Weird To Live Too Rare To Die features the song “Girls/Girls/Boys,” written in homage to Brendon’s wife being bisexual and including very explicitly queer lyrics: “Girls love girls and boys!” In a society so ingrained in bi erasure, seeing bisexuality displayed not only so clearly, but with the backdrop of an upbeat, techno-esque tune, is uncommon to say the least; this song presents as a celebration of bisexuality and the intricacies of queer sexualities. –Amelia
- Andy, You’re A Star - The Killers: “Andy, You’re A Star” by The Killers is a techno-rock ballad about a male high school student pining for his school’s star athlete. The song kicks off with Brandon Flowers, the rock band’s lead singer, singing so monotonously that he’s almost speaking: “On the field I remember you were incredible.” He then goes on to chastise his own words after each adoring sentence, telling himself to “shut up, shut up, shut up.” Finally, he seems to break down and desperately sings: “In a car with a girl, promise me she's not your world / Cause Andy, you're a star / In nobody's eyes but mine,” as the song finally hits its crescendo, and his real emotions are shown. This song’s repetitive melody and relatable lyrics are sure to make it one to remember. –Daj
- Girl - The Internet: The laid back melody of "Girl" by the Internet, a neo-soul band, is constructed in homage to sapphic love and relationships. It is the kind of tune you would picture playing in the background of romantic queer movie, as two girls drive around the city or lay in an open field; the soundtrack to a happy and fulfilling love. There are many flavours of this song in the straight world already–the concept itself is not new–but applying this convention to queerness is what makes this song unique. –Amelia
- Heaven - Troye Sivan ft. Betty Who: Troye Sivan is a singer, songwriter, and a YouTuber. His music is a soft and dreamy kind of electropop. “Heaven” is about Troye’s struggle with identity and his difficulty of coming out to himself. At fourteen, when he first started realizing that he may be gay, he started to ask himself questions that would scare him, one of them being: “If there is a heaven, am I ever gonna make it to heaven?” His self-acceptance was built over time and along with it came the belief that if there was a heaven where he could not go to without amending a part of him, then maybe he would not want this “heaven.” –Vivian
- Second Class Citizen - Daniel Versus the World: Daniel Versus The World is a British-based band led by Daniel Stocker. Self-identifying as “queer anti-folk piano pop punx,”many of their songs centre on the LGBTQ+ community, communicating the issues faced in wider society but also the less publicised happiness we feel in love and as ourselves. Their song "Second Class Citizen" encapsulates this perfectly, combining a classic piano melody with themes of privilege, prejudice, and erasure. –Amelia
By Dajiana Huang, Amelia Foy, Vivian Liao, Vita Pearl, and Sharon Anatole