Happy Pride Month everyone! While I’m not one for the heat, I certainly am one to celebrate the global impact the LGBTQIA+ community has made. But most importantly, to recognize how far we’ve come from the Stonewall riots that were kicked off by Marsha P. Johnson. We've gone from dreaming of a place of acceptance and tranquility alongside Judy Garland in “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, to creating and fostering spaces that exceeded the expectations of this fantasy – it’s a cherished sight behold. And I figured the best way to show our deepest gratitude here at the blog is by celebrating songs we cannot get enough of from queer artists and bands in this post I've affectionately titled, Somewhere Over the Radio. The criteria I followed to compile my list: the artist or (some) members of the band belong and/or identify with the queer community, the song was released or remastered between 2022 and now, and of course - the song must fall under the pop genre, or a pop subgenre. Now let’s get on to the appreciating part of this post.
10. "Forgive + Forget" - Lord Troy
“Forgive + Forget” by Lord Troy is an empowering revenge-pop single and a stark reminder that forgiveness is for you – not the person seeking it out. Through gorgeous, lower registered baritone vocals a clear picture is painted for listeners: some people just don’t deserve our forgiveness nor the luxury of their actions being forgotten. Especially if they’re committed to “flipping the script” to avoid taking accountability. While we can never force people like Lord Troy’s muse to accept the devastation their actions brought, we can at least show off how it hasn’t held us back from achieving our dreams and goals. And it also doesn't hurt that this happens to be the best form of revenge, too. On top of dazzling listeners with bops, gay and plus-size icon Lord Troy is also the co-founder of PÄRDĒ, a vegan and cruelty free line of nail polish that features show-stopping colors.
9. "Holy Place" - Anya Gupta
"Holy Place" by Anya Gupta is a soft pop anthem for lovers that cannot get enough of their partners. The sweet single’s gentle guitar plucking ramps up with excitement as it builds towards the chorus, invoking listeners with the same zeal Gupta is expressing. But what I love the most is the reoccurring metaphor and analogy that are utilized throughout the song. In the opening lines the analogy is first heard: “Your body’s a temple / Your bedroom’s a holy place”, and it's made very clear that there’s worshipping of the other kind occurring. Meanwhile the metaphor lies in the chorus: “Your body is my holy place”, transforming the previous sexual nature into one of security and safety. Other guitar driven singles to check out from the independent Boston-based artist are "jackie" and 2022's "Hate to be Honest".
8. "crush!" - Lauren Sanderson
"crush!" by Lauren Sanderson is an alt-pop single that’s perfect to hard launch to. For those in the unknown, hard launching is when a relationship is explicitly announced by one or all the partners involved. The song’s easygoing melody featuring expressive and imagery filled lyrics are bound to convince any listener to flaunt their relationship off for the world see. The dating streets are rough, and often times makes people hopeless to find love. So, when we find someone that makes us as giddy as Sanderson's muse, it's no wonder why we're so excited to show off how happy they make us. Sanderson is an independent lesbian artist that just began their summer tour; beginning with performances in the U.K., followed by the E.U., before rounding back to the U.S. and Canada. Dates and tickets for various performance locations can be found here.
7. "DISCO SLEAZE" - Michael Medrano
"DISCO SLEAZE" by Michael Medrano is a nudisco pop single that inspires listeners to dance the night away with friends and hot strangers. With a swanky sound that comes walking straight out of the late 70s, it’ll leave you wanting to “put it down” on anyone wearing bright floral patterns. Medrano’s vocal delivery slips between high notes and spoken word to keep listeners transfixed throughout the song’s duration. This is the bop you play at parties and clubs when you’re looking to have spicy interactions and encounters. It captures the endless joy we should be experiencing when going out with the intention of having a good time. Medrano is the self-proclaimed Disco Dad and based in Los Angeles. Other funky singles to check out from the artist are “Do Your Thing, Babe!” and “NAKED”. All three songs come directly from Medrano's recent album, LoveSexDrugs.
6. "I've Loved You For So Long" - The Aces
"I've Loved You For So Long" by The Aces is an indie-pop single with underlying elements of rock. It’s an ode to growing within long-term relationships - regardless of the nature of the relationship. The mellow melody is carried out by acoustic guitar strings alongside the beautiful messaging of the lyrics. When you’ve known and loved someone "for so long", they come to feel like an invaluable extension of yourself. Moments of pure bliss and chaos can’t be imagined without their presence. Utah natives, The Aces, are a queer band that just released their third album. The album also shares the song’s title and explores different experiences the members have had a part and collectively as a group; you can listen to the rest of the album here. In addition to the new album, The Aces will also be touring the U.K., E.U., and Northern America; performance dates can be found here.
5. "Everything You've Always Wanted" - bb sway
"Everything You've Always Wanted" by bb sway is a folk-pop single about closing one chapter of our lives while embracing the next one. The hard truth is that while we grow, we simultaneously outgrow various aspects of ourselves to make space for budding features that haven't had the chance to blossom yet. A sentiment bb sway eloquently exhibits within the confessional-styled song that’s sung with soothing harmonies. All in all, it acknowledges and loans listeners a period to grieve older versions of themselves as they step into the version they’ve “always wanted”. The single is the first song on the London-based artist's latest EP, How Will I Get There?, which takes listeners through the range of emotions bb sway experienced while on their gender transitioning journey. Other thoughtful singles to check out are 2022's "My Love is True" and "I Found Out When the Day Had Come".
4. "Something About Her" - BATHSHEBA
"Something About Her" by BATHSHEBA is a euro-pop ballad about the artist falling for another woman for the first time. There’s a catch, though: they’re both in committed relationships with other people. With our artist having "a boyfriend", and their muse being "in love with somebody else". But that doesn't stop BATHSHEBA from thinking about this woman within the confines of this stunning piano-driven song. It expertly demonstrates what it’s like to be caught between two worlds; the one we’re expected to reside in and the one that allows us to be authentically us - where we can freely explore our identities. BATHSHEBA's discography highlights their fondness for experimenting with differing synths and instruments to bring listeners emotionally charged music; other singles to check out from them are their latest single, "Rain" and 2020's "Lost Your Mind".
3. "Peter Pan" - Nikitaa
"Peter Pan" by Nikitaa is a trap-pop single that calls out the man-children that plague the Los Angeles dating scene. The song showcases dark synths alongside Nikitaa’s sultry lyrics that pack serious punches. But the best part is how they give listeners terms to distinguish man-children who give below bare-minimum effort from men more than willing to rise up to meet expectations. Peter Pan is used to encapsulate the man-child’s energy while Captain Hook embodies a man actually seeking out a partner. Let this single serve as your self-reminder that it’s 2023 - we are no longer mothering or babying our partners. They can either “grow-up” to be reciprocating partners, or move out the damn way for the honorable Captain Hook. Nikitaa is a queer Indian artist with an exciting interactive project called The Ether for fans to fawn over their music. The artist also has an upcoming performance as the opening act at West Hollywood’s The Viper Room on June 23rd; tickets for the show can be found here.
2. "Tears in the Moonlight" - Kelechi
"Tears in the Moonlight" by Kelechi is a retro indie-pop single that seamlessly blends into the 80s. Kelechi’s passionate vocals wrap listeners up in the bittersweet aftermath of a romance that never happened. The song is the perfect example of lyrical dissonance. Despite the bright and hypnotic beat with some of the smoothest groove to be displayed, the lyrics lay out a heartache inducing situation. While there was a strong “chance at love”, a series of moments and events shifted the connection away from this chance. Even though no one is at fault, it’s difficult to not be upset over the result - even getting caught up in what could have been. The single ultimately feeds listeners sad girl summer needs, and gives us all a worthy excuse to be deep in our feelings. Kelechi is a queer Nigerian-American artist. Singles to check out when you’re in the mood for retro pop romance are 2022's “just another song” featuring Vincint, and 2019's “Forever Tonight”.
1. "Kissing Other Boys" - JXCKY
"Kissing Other Boys" by JXCKY is a dark-pop single about the cat and mouse games we participate in when attempting to transition a situationship into a committed relationship. The song showcases a dangerously infectious rhythm that’s determined to stick with listeners. The opening verse captures the universal anxiety that’s created from inconsistent communication. This anxiety then gets replaced with induced jealousy in an attempt to refocus the attention of the star-crossed lovers in the second verse. Finally, it all explodes as the two involved in this game of cat and mouse set their sights on other tantalizing bodies. JXCKY expresses their desire and vulnerability all while making us wonder why we play these games to begin with when we only have eyes for one person. JXCKY is a Chinese-Cambodian artist based in Australia with a discography filled with dark-pop bangers. Other enticing singles to check out from the artist are 2022's “Love Like Mine” and 2021's “The Imitation Game”.
If you thought the appreciating stops here, you’re most definitely mistaken. We’ve created a playlist that not only features the songs highlighted here, but an additional 30 songs that are begging to be blasted on your headphones and speakers. The Somewhere Over the Radio playlist gives you two hours’ worth of queer deliciousness – and who knows, maybe you’ll find your next favorite artist to listen to and share with others. I’d love to close by recommending organizations dedicated to preserving queer art and lives like FREE THE WORK, The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network, The Network / La Red, and Allies In Arts within North America. And Outright International, the AZ Magazine, QUEERAF, ILGA-Europe, Community Bread, and the It Gets Better Project in the global community. As much fun as solidarity is in regards to celebrations, we also have a responsibility to show up and assist in moments of hardship and insurmountable losses. Please, enjoy Pride Month and show the LGBTQIA+ community all the virtual love in the world.
Written by Giavanna Gradaille
*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.