Ah, June. The beautiful summer month in which corporate logos begin their annual wardrobe change from monochrome mundaneness to rainbow realness. While in recent years corporations have welcomed Pride Month and inclusion with open arms, Pride marches and movements stem from a history of struggle, as queer people battled for representation and acceptance in all arenas of life. While many battles may appear to be definitively won, recent moves by the current presidential administration to stifle LGBTQ+ rights signal the ever-growing importance of Pride Month and LGBTQ+ representation.
No matter how many rainbow scarves Tony the Tiger wears, the spirit of inclusion, self-acceptance and equality that Pride represents will remain important. Musicians and artists have always been at the forefront of social change, and a recent wave of confident queer artists have helped usher in a new era of Pride Month jams. In honor of the month of the Gays, below is a definitive list of new and old Pride Month Bangers.
1. “Bloom”- Troye Sivan
Troye Sivan, the sweet prince of pop, has been delivering danceable summer jams since his early days as a teen Youtuber. His 2015 Blue Neighbourhood gave us his first exploration of queer identity as a coming-to-age and coming out album, in which he explored the struggles of discovering and shaping one’s identity. However, “Bloom,” the title track off his upcoming album, finds a much more confident and self-assured Sivan.
The bright pop song follows Sivan into a field of flower fueled metaphors, allusions and innuendos as he tackles the previously unexplored and unmentionable topic of gay sex. His sweet melodies and smooth voice take listeners on an intimate yet euphoric journey on a topic which has previously been ushered into the shadows. A music video, which matches the bright, colorful vibe of the track, explores both Sivan’s masculinity and femininity and questions the lines drawn between the two. The song and video shine the vibrant hues of Pride by turning a fun dance track into a vehicle for representation.
2. “Pynk (feat. Grimes)” – Janelle Monae
Monae, a multifaceted talent, has been nominated for Grammys, has appeared in Oscar-winning films and has been deemed a fashion icon. Her decision to come out as openly pansexual this year on her album Dirty Computer, allows her to add “LGBTQ+ Icon” to that impressive list. Monae’s confident attitude and charismatic charm endows each track of the album with energy. However, “Pynk”’s artful celebration of the female existence seems especially important after Monae’s recent powerful statement of truth. Monae, a protégé of the purple man, Prince, finds her own color by imbuing pink as the color of feminine sexuality, power and desire. The romantic song manages to sound both upbeat and tender as Monae expresses desire and appreciation for women. Monae’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics create a playful dimension to this feminine, queer anthem. The song’s video, which features Monae and backup dancers dressed in what can only be described as “vagina pants,” perfectly accompanies the song’s sweet, funky vibes.
3. “Supermodel” – RuPaul
Before RuPaul had “Drag Race” glued to his last name and an entire empire, he was simply America’s most famous drag queen. Oh, yeah, and a bigtime recording artist. “Supermodel,” one of the most-fun songs ever to be recorded, imbues joy into the ears of anyone who hears its banging beat. As RuPaul commands his listeners to, “Work it, covergirl,” “Give us a twirl” and “Do your thing on the runway,” his listeners actually transform into runway models, equipped with fierce poses and sickening faces. After listening to this song maybe 500 times this month, the Hadids better watch out because this writer is ready for his Vogue debut. The song preaches the same self-acceptance and confidence which the ever popular reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” evokes in its viewers, allowing Supermodel to be a Pride Month dancefloor staple. This irresistible track captures the energy, confidence and love Pride pushes forward.
4. “Chanel” – Frank Ocean
Way back in 2012, Frank Ocean became the first openly-gay major hip hop artist after he released his landmark album, Channel Orange. While Ocean’s dreamy, velvety vocals launched him into musical stardom, his idiosyncratic lyrics have pushed him among contemporary legends. On “Chanel,” a single from 2017, Ocean is in top form, delivering verse after verse that challenges and questions societal norms of gender, sexuality and success. Ocean’s lines flow and build upon each other, creating layers of meaning culminating in heart-wrenching croons. Ocean “sees both sides like Chanel,” and can “see on both sides like Chanel,” referencing both the fashion brand’s crossed “C” logo and his appreciation for his lover’s feminine and masculine sides. The quality of art delivered by Ocean makes him the queer icon we need and deserve. Chanel gives us an opportunity to appreciate all of Ocean’s talents, and that’s something we can all be proud of.
5. “I Don’t Want It at All” – Kim Petras
Kim Petras’ sugary-pop sound can only be described as a lollipop covered completely in Fun Dip. On her breakthrough single, “I Don’t Want It at All,” Petras is at maximum exuberance demanding — not asking — for all her wants and needs to be answered. If not delivered with Petras’ signature sweet and fun charisma, the song could sound flat and shallow. But with Petras in the driver’s seat, the song steers into the lane of colorful pop perfection. Petras first launched into international awareness as a young German teen fighting the German government for the right to receive sex reassignment surgery. After becoming the youngest person to ever undergo the surgery, Petras began writing songs and pursuing her dream of pop stardom. Petras’ mastery of pop signals that being trans and a popstar are not mutually exclusive. Moreover, her talent, charm and ambition proves her place in the future of pop and as a prominent figure of Pride.