It’s June, and you all know what that means! Time for corporations to whip out rainbow-coloured merch that is specifically reserved for this very, extremely and unapologetically gay month in order to rack up their profits and appear politically correct. Wanna drown out the sad, capitalist truths of the world by listening to some bops and actually support queer artists? Me too: let’s jump straight in.
“Bitter” – FLETCHER, Kito
First up is an incredibly addictive song with witty lyrics. More people need to know about FLETCHER; her vocals are gorgeous and you can’t help but be touched by the emotions she pours into her songs. One of the most creative lines is in the chorus, where she sings: “I left a taste in your mouth, can she taste me now? I’m bitter.” She openly displays the jealousy and irritation felt when one’s ex has moved on, and the pure pettiness of it all is what makes the song so great. What’s better is that this song made its debut in a key moment of the series The L Word: Generation Q, with a brief snippet of the chorus, and fans were so obsessed with finding the yet-to-be-released song that there’s a whole Reddit thread on it. Oh, and the music video of this song was filmed by the very ex that FLETCHER sings about. Sapphics, man.
“On brûlera” – Pomme
The title, meaning “We will burn”, sums up the beautiful defiance against religion when it opposes homosexuality. “On brûlera, toutes les deux, en enfer, mon ange” (“We will burn, the both of us, in hell, my angel”) is one example of the stunning lyrics; the metaphor of heaven and hell complements the low notes Pomme plunges into during the verses, and the serene high notes of the chorus. She has an insane vocal range, and the song may make you feel an equally insane range of emotions.
“Love Of My Life” – Queen
Written entirely by Freddie Mercury, the lyrics and melody work perfectly together to soothe your ears and crush your heart. The melody is so pretty, and the premise so heartbreaking, that I teared up during the scene in which this song was played for Mary in the film Bohemian Rhapsody. Its opening lyrics are: “Love of my life, you’ve hurt me. You’ve broken my heart, and now you leave me,” I mean, come on. The studio version features Freddie Mercury playing the piano, but my preferred version is the Live at Wembley Stadium version, where Brian May plays the guitar rendition and Freddie’s vocals are all-the-more powerful and emotional.
“Curse” – Emily Burns
Another musical discovery made thanks to Gen Q (her song “Too Cool” was in one of the episodes; I’m telling you, the soundtrack of this show slaps). The concept of this song is that the persona is immune to this curse that affects everyone around her, the curse being… you guessed it: love. There’s the soft and gentle tempo of the piano, with lyrics such as: “Everybody’s underneath a curse, it’s so absurd… lucky it doesn’t work on me”, stirred with an undertone of bittersweet sadness. With such an interesting concept, the song is a recipe for perfection.
“My My My!” – Troye Sivan
You can properly groove to this song. The beat is infectious, and pounds quietly as it builds up momentum, just like the passion Sivan sings of; the burst of energy in the chorus makes you want to erupt into your best dance moves. Troye says: “Love is a very scary thing. Especially if you’re not sure yet if the other person loves you back. It’s a really scary place to be in. As exciting as it is, there’s a lot of vulnerability in it, and there’s a bunch of reasons why people don’t let themselves have that. For me, with this song, it was a bad time, it was a really bad time. But, what can you do?” The excitement of being helplessly drawn to someone pulses throughout this tune, and just like the ‘what can you do?’ sentiment he conveys, what can you do but dance to this?
I could give recommendations and talk about songs all day, so, if you want it, here’s a Pride Month present: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/501URMd0g2Mnaq8yBlKr7G?si=74377660ff244e18
It’s a playlist full of songs by queer artists, with the occasional song that may not have been created by queer artists but (in my opinion) have queer vibes, or which have featured in queer media (for example, see: “Yoko Ono” by Mob Rich, because it was in that scene of Atypical). May you enjoy these songs as much as I do, and remember the progress we’ve made in LGBTQ+ rights thanks to legendary souls, as well as the progress that is yet to be made. Being able to write an article about queer anthems is a privilege and demonstrates our society moving towards normalising LGBTQ+ identities. From the outset, though, it shouldn’t be a privilege, nor is there anything to normalise.