This summer I want to kiss girls. Girls sticky with lipgloss, girls purple with lipstain, girls sweet with cherry chapstick. I dream about kissing girls in my car (front or back seat). I dream about kissing them in the shade or in the sun. We are always a little bit sweaty and smelling like grass. We are always kissing to music.
Every summer my desire for women unfolds with the Florida heat. The heavy humidity, the dripping fruit, the windy drives, the afternoon rains— they work and wake the most important parts of me. When the weather turns hot, this WLW desire comes back to me softer, harder, more insistent each season. This desire demands to be honored and heard. I listen to my desire when I listen to music.
I started making playlists in college. At first, they were for girls I loved and missed between school years. Later, they were for heartbreak and healing. Each playlist began to take shape in May, and each brimmed with the voices of women and queers. Now, I make playlists as a practice of devotion— desire’s more steadfast cousin. I string together music as an ode to all women moved by the right song, set to the right weather.
“i wnna kss” is a mix of grunge, understated synth, and neo-soul vibes. Imagine warm sunlight and sour mangos; it’s more about the mood than the lyrics. “i wnna kiss” is available on Spotify here . Enjoy.
Singing “Hair down, moonlit/ Look at my lipstick/ So thick, so fit/ Wanna put your lips in places, ooh/ The sun don’t shine there,” this track is Lizzo’s sexy-sleepy answer to the powerhouse pop of more well-known songs “Juice”and “Like A Girl.” All three songs are from Lizzo’s 2019 major label debut Cuz I Love You—an empowered, robust album that’s been met with universal acclaim.
Blu Samu is a Portuguese-Belgian singer and rapper. An intuitive mix of beats and soul, Blu Samu’s music keeps you guessing as she floats between English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch. “Goose” is all about smooth confidence, so make a move and take a chance.
Australian singer-songwriter Tash Sultana rose to prominence in 2016 with their dreamy EP Notion. Every sound you hear on “Notion” is played and looped by Sultana, a one-person band who plays over 20 instruments. Their first album Flow State dropped in 2018 and blends the trippy, psychedelic influence of “Notion” with a laidback 90’s alternative feel. Take your crush on a night time beach date, set up a blanket, and let Flow State do the rest.
Powered by Leah Wellbaum’s vocals and thrilling lead guitar, Slothrust makes luscious, assertive music that appeals to alt-rock, girl band, and tame punk lovers. Wellbaum is the emotional core of each song; her voice is gentle, powerful, and demanding. The band’s name is pronounced “sloth-rust,” but I love the dykey implications of “slo-thrust.”
Marissa Paternoster, named by Spin magazine as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, is made signature by her break-neck guitar riffs and vibrato voice. “Bird in Space” is flashing with paradise, nods to the sculptor Brancusi, and musings on outer space. If you love this track, try Paternoster’s solo project Noun.
You may be familiar with Laura Jane Grace’s more iconic band, Against Me!, but the Devouring Mothers are not to be missed. LJG’s vocals shine through the more stripped-back, melody-driven feel of her 2018 album Bought to Rot. Full of longing and queer desire, LJG sings to a Catholic girl and double parks at the Vatican. It’s catchy, clever, and dares you to sing along.
Bonus tracks: My girlfriend’s favorite song “Apocalypse Now (& Later)” is an urge to merge anthem. “The Hotel Song,” my ex’s favourite, is a song for break ups. Either way, Bought to Rot has you covered, no matter how your summer fling turns out.
Gish’s cover of Jackson Browne’s 1982 track “Somebody’s Baby” is an achingly sweet ode to love at first sight. Gish purrs, “She’s probably somebody’s only light/Gonna shine tonight/ Yeah, she’s gonna be somebody’s baby, alright” over a light, airy background. Perfect for a windows down, music up drive.
Influenced by Lauryn Hill, Brian McKnight, and Frank Ocean, Orion Sun is the brainchild of Philly-based singer and instrumentalist Tiffany Majette. Orion Sun’s music has a vulnerable, expansive feel as she draws you into her life, identity, and experiences. Apart from the opening line “You got a heart of gold/ Just like your mother/ And no matter how angry you get/ You’ll never be your father,” this song is mostly instrumental.
Noname’s style spills over with soft spoken flow, observant lyrics, and transcendent inner dialogue. “Song 32” is noname’s latest single, and other than “Bye bye baby” my favorite song yet.
Syd’s soft masculinity and even softer voice guides The Internet through understated love ballots, low-key beats, and creative instrumentation. Syd’s sexuality grounds most of her music as she sings about queer love, women, and sex. “Stay the Night” is a silky invitation from Syd that I would never, ever pass up. See Syd’s solo album Fin for more WLW tenderness.
Want more summertime jams? Follow the unabridged “i wnna kss” playlist here.