10 Songs to Bop to For Pride
Updated: Sep 8, 2018
It was nearly impossible to narrow this list down to just 10 iconic LGBT songs.
It’s Pride month and everything is gay. There are rainbows around every corner, and every surface is covered in glitter. Social media feeds are awash with photos of people in scanty clothing, marching down streets and taking over bars and clubs. It seems you cannot escape the incessant reminders that LGBT people are here, we’re loud, and we’re proud. Things couldn’t be better.
But what’s the soundtrack to the movement?
This is my list of the 10 best songs to bop to for Pride, in no particular order. They’re gay, they’re kinda gay, they’re straight-but-have-been-appropriated-by-the-gays; and each and every one of them is relatable to me as a gay man, which is why they made this list. Plus, they’re just fun.
Here we go.
1. Bloom by Troye Sivan
As soon as this song came out, it became an instant classic amongst the gays. First of all, Troye Sivan sings it - so it’s automatically iconic gay content. Second, it’s an upbeat pop song about “blooming” for your significant other, aka losing your virginity. Which Troye Sivan confirmed with a few Tweets that he later deleted. When you boil it down, it’s a song about bottoming. Amazing.
Best line: Take a trip into my garden, I’ve got so much to show ya
2. I Know A Place by MUNA
You probably haven’t heard of MUNA, and that’s okay - but after reading this post, you better become an immediate fan. They’re a trio of queer women who make punky, political pop songs. What more could you ask for, honestly? This particular song is about escaping the violence of the world by receding into love, and it was inspired in part by the Pulse nightclub shooting. Powerful stuff. The best songs tend to come from the strongest emotions.
Best line: You think being yourself means being unworthy, and it’s hard to love with a heart that’s hurting
3. Welcome To New York by Taylor Swift
Whether you want to admit it or not, 1989 is already a classic album and will go down as one of the greatest pop albums of all time. It opens with this gem of a song, in which Taylor won over gays around the world with the simple line “you can want who you want, boys and boys and girls and girls.” It’s not much, but put it on a hopeful, dancy track like this on an album full of synthy 80’s bops about finding yourself after love, and it’s sure to steal hearts.
Best line: Walkin’ through a crowd the village is aglow, kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats
4. Into You by Ariana Grande
Ariana had to make the list. She’s straight as a rod, but many LGBT people have coined her the “gay icon” of our generation because she shows support to the gay community and, let’s face it, her voice is incredible. I personally save my Gay Icon status for actual LGBT artists (it’s 2018, come on now) - but that doesn’t stop Ariana from churning out some bops. Into You is an electro-pop banger about falling in love with someone and trying to keep everything low-key. Who can’t relate to that?
Best line: Got everyone watching us, so baby let’s keep this secret; a little bit scandalous, but baby don’t let them see it
5. Curious by Hayley Kiyoko
My jaw dropped all the way to the floor when I first heard this song. Hayley Kiyoko is an out and proud lesbian and she doesn’t hide that fact in her music, which is refreshing. She makes alt-pop songs tinged with electric fantasy and dark, twisty undertones. This particular song is about her relationship with a girl who won’t leave her man for her, and the title is a play on those “curious” straight people who mess with gay hearts everywhere. She took our shared experiences and put them into a song we can dance to all night long.
Best line: Did you take him to the pier in Santa Monica, forget to bring a jacket and wrap up in him ‘cause you wanted to?
6. My My My! by Troye Sivan
This is another one that just had to make the list, because it’s Troye Sivan and because it’s a song about being unapologetically yourself. The moody verses lead up to a euphoric chorus, in which we learn to let go of our inhibitions and just… dance. Plus, the slightly-strokey warehouse dance-scene music video gets bonus points for being super gay.
Best line: Spark up, buzz cut, I’ve got my tongue between your teeth
7. I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston
This song, at some point in history, was officially appropriated and adopted by the gay community. I can’t seem to attend an event with other LGBT people without hearing this song. Maybe it’s the power of Whitney - or maybe it’s the power of the 1980’s - but whatever it is, the gays love this song. And we love to dance to this song. Preferably with somebody who loves us - but that part is optional.
Best line: When the night falls, loneliness calls
8. If You’re Over Me by Years & Years
I feel like this is a band that’s often overlooked by the LGBT community, for whatever reason - despite the fact that lead singer Olly Alexander is an out gay man with a penchant for writing gay pop songs with a moody twist. This song is a step in a new direction for him - it’s upbeat and dancy - but the subject matter is still moody. He’s pondering why this person keeps stringing him along when they said they were over him… Relatable.
Best line: Are you real or are you lying? Stop with your crying, I can’t handle it now
9. Delicate by Taylor Swift
I know what you’re thinking: a straight artist shouldn’t have made this list twice. But Delicate is just too powerful. Even aside from the fact that Rolling Stone named it the best song released in 2017, it’s just too relatable for the LGBT community for me not to have included it. It’s a soft, tropical-infused upbeat pop ballad about being in love but being afraid to explore your feelings because things are so… delicate. Gay fragility? Check. Plus, she recently gave a speech about love and acceptance for Pride month right before playing this song at her concert in Chicago - so it’s officially ours. Yes.
Best line: Long night with your hands up in my hair, echoes of your footsteps on the stairs, stay here honey I don’t wanna share… ‘cause I like you
10. Hillside Boys by Kim Petras
All aboard the Kim train, folks! She’s a transgender pop star who makes fun, flirty songs that make you want to dance. Some people probably expect a transgender star to be dark and moody and reflective, but she’s like Nope! Dance, fools! This song is about being tempted by hot boys on this mysterious hillside, almost like male sirens. It’s about time someone wrote about the seductive power of men.
Best line: Boy you look so pretty when you’re breaking me
That’s your (totally not comprehensive) list of songs to enjoy this Pride season - and eternally thereafter. I’ve updated my blog playlist on Spotify and Apple Music with all of these songs - plus all of the songs I've featured in prior posts - so feel free to follow and/or download those for easy access. I can’t wait to see you dance.
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