FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: What’s The Gayest Song Of Summer 2018?

Happy Friday, cats and kittens! You made it… the countdown to the weekend is officially on…and I’m here to celebrate with you in this week’s Friday Open Thread. I’m excited to hear about all the dragons you slayed this week and what you’ve got planned for the weekend so I can live vicariously through you.

We’re over a month into Summer 2018 and for all the madness – the oppressive heat and humidity, most notably – there’s something amazingly freeing about this time of year. You can let your hair down, roll down the windows of your car, turn up your stereo and sing as loud as you want to your favorite song. Or you’re walking down a city street with your headphones turned all the way up, swaying to the beat, so lost in the rhythms that you forget that you’re on your way to work. That’s summer, in a nutshell: you living your best life, with a great song to accompany it. But that begs the question: what’s the song that’s soundtracking your life in the summer of 20GAYTeen?

For me, the song of the summer is usually (but not always) a bop…a song that you can’t resist moving to. Oddly enough, it is usually released in the winter or spring, long enough for the lyrics to gain enough ubiquity that crowds can sing along in the summer. Here are a few of the tracks getting a lot of play for me this summer:


Beyoncé and Mr. Knowles – APES**T
Album: Everything is Love

If Beyoncé decided to give up singing tomorrow and just focus solely on rapping, she’d be one of the top five rappers in the game right now. After years of singing and dancing, Bey has mastered the art of breath control and can spit swaggerific rhymes with reckless abandon.

Cardi B – I Like It (ft. Bad Bunny and J Balvin)
Album: Invasion of Privacy

Picking up where last year’s song of the summer, “Despacito,” left off, Cardi B delivered us a true bop with “I Like It,” mixing her unique brand of hip-hop with boogalo, salsa and reggaeton. You put this song on when you’re trapped in your office cubicle and you’re magically transported to Miami Beach, rolling down Ocean Drive with the top down or sipping a tropical drink poolside….and that’s a quintessential part of a true song of summer.

Hayley Kiyoko – What I Need (ft. Kehlani)
Album: Expectations

We can’t have a true song of summer debate without Lesbian Jesus herself, Hayley Kiyoko, blessing us. Nothing says summer like the blossoming of a romance so “What I Need” is the perfect soundtrack to that “what are we really doing here?” question that permeates all your summertime outings with your crush.

Janelle Monáe – PYNK
Album: Dirty Computer

It’s hard to pick one single from Janelle Monáe’s latest album to represent it in the “song of summer” competition. So many bops, so little time. Ultimately, though, I had to go with “PYNK” which a Monáe herself describes as “a brash celebration of creation. self love. sexuality. and pussy power!” If there’s ever been a better description about what summer should be about, I have not heard it.

(Also? Did you see Janelle perform “Americans” on The Late Show earlier this week? So, so good and with a bonus guest appearance by Pose star, MJ Rodriguez.)

Jennifer Lopez – Dinero (ft. Cardi B and DJ Khaled)
Album: Por Primera Vez (Forthcoming)

Listen, if we’re going to be friends, here’s a thing you need to know about me: I love Jennifer Lopez. Her work, which includes executive producing The Fosters and giving us some true bops, is criminally underappreciated. “Dinero” is the latest single from J.Lo’s forthcoming bilingual album, Por Primera Vez, and it takes her back to the pop/rap collaborations that made her a mainstay on the charts in the early 2000s.

Kacey Musgraves – Slow Burn
Album: Golden Hour

I feel like country music always gives us at least one artist every few years that lets people say, “I don’t really like country music but I do like _______________” and right now, the artist filling in that blank is Kacey Musgraves. “Slow Burn” is not a bop, like so many of the others on this list, but it is the perfect song to sit out on the porch or balcony, smoke and chill the fuck out to. Plus, I am absolutely certain that it’s about to be the soundtrack to so many lesbian fanvids, so you should definitely get familiar.

The Internet – Come Over
Album: Hive Mind

Like “Slow Burn,” this smooth R&B song from The Internet isn’t a bop, but it’s definitely the perfect song to play when you’re relaxing at home — in the air conditioning — with your summertime boo.

So those are some of my nominees for “Song of the Summer”…what music has been soundtracking your summer adventures? Pick your favorite from the nominees or feel free to suggest your own. Lobby for your favorites in the comments section and I’ll make sure the winner is included in next week’s edition of Pop Culture Fix.


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A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. Spends her Thursday nights trying to make #Shonday happen.

Natalie has written 82 articles for us.

100 Comments

  1. KING PRINCESS KING PRINCESS KING PRINCESS. My girlfriend and I are obsessed and her album (can we call it that if it only has 6 songs?!) is constantly rocking the walls of our apartment and being blasted out the windows of our car. It’s also great sexy time music 😉 And naked dance party music. And getting pumped for work music. 1950 and Talia are the most played. Ahhh

    As for my weekend, it’s been two weeks in our new place and it’s finally starting to feel more like home. Our kitty kats are getting settled and finding their favorite nap spots and I finally unpacked my books and the record player has found a place and my girlfriend and I drink our breakfast coffee in our little breakfast nook and I’ve mapped out my favorite way to walk to work. Her family is coming to visit and help us hang some art and put finishing touches on it this weekend. And we’re seeing Mission Impossible and hiding from the rain and probably brunching. A good time all around, pals. Stay as cool as possible.

    • @gill OOOOOHHH, great pick! I love both of those tracks from that EP. And your description of them as sexy time music is exactly right (especially “Talia”). I know the new video for “Holy” just came out but have you seen this video of her breaking down the lyrics of “1950?” So endearing.

      Congrats on the new place and finally getting settled!

    • There is truly no feeling like settling into a new home. I love how all your ordinary things feel different but still familiar and comforting, refreshed by new surroundings and combinations.

      The day I discovered Talia, I played it on repeat for almost an hour. Why is that song so GOOD?

  2. I tend to judge my summer songs by what I cant help listen to 1000 times, over and over! So far this summer that’s been Good Pressure off Shea Diamond’s new EP and Like Sugar by Chaka Khan. They both make me feel sooo good!
    For some reason I really really want to bake a lot lately. Which means turning on my oven and turning my little apartment with no air conditioning into an oven as well. But it’s worth it? I think. I made snickerdoodles and chocolate crinkle cookies!

    • @lundy Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies but I’m not sure I love them enough to endure the additional heat during these summer months.

      I have clearly been living under a rock because I didn’t even know that Shea Diamond had a new EP out! You have just made my day, thank you! *rushes off to Itunes*

    • We have been trying to get better about using our solar oven as a first resort instead of a thing we don’t think of until too late. Mostly ’cause of climate change but also because who wants a hot house from the oven but cookies are mandatory. Depending on where you live maybe that would be an option for you? GoSun is having a bit of a sale right now and they have some small options but you can still make cookies in them. They come out more bar-shaped but they taste juuuuust fine. (Just to be clear, I don’t get any financial or other benefit from them.)

      Now I want cookies…

      • @pecola, my summer is going really well. Thank you for asking. I have lots of free time so i’ve been spending it watching some lesbian movies for the first time. I’ve watched about 13 already since Summer started.

        As for this weekend, i’m watching season 2 of Lost Girl. I’m amazed by this show as I have never seen sex and sexuality portrayed ever with this kind of positivity. It is so refreshing and unbelievable. This is the kind of show that everyone should be watching.

        Hope your summer is going well too.

    • This and Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” have been alternating being stuck in my head. Also Soft Cell’s version of Tainted Love, speaking of songs that aren’t current. Aaaand…googling to find out who sung that has gotten me down a rabbit hole of late 70s/early 80s Queen, Weird Al, Eurythmics and I am done now.

  3. I’m not slaying dragons this summer…I’m a dragon who slays, sashays and parlays to the summer songs in her head.

    And along with those already mentioned (especially Janelle!)…Sky full of Song by Florence + The Machine starts low in me and unfolds…and a song from years past, Rosemary by Gomez has been re~creeping into my brain of late.

    …and I’m reconnecting with myself as I slide and shimmy into my new post~marriage life, and I am itching~twitching to dance and create~~

    • @snaelle That Florence + The Machine album has been on repeat since it dropped…I love Florence Welch’s voice so much and the instrumentation on the album is just amazing.

      That album and Janelle’s are so sonically different, but share a common theme of love as a way out of darkness. There a great line on “100 Days” that’s stuck with me: “I believe in love and the darker it gets, the more I do.”

      So, so good.

  4. Apesh*t and I Like It are my biggest summer mainstays.

    They are hot on their heels by Janelle Monae’s Juice and Make Me Feel (which obviously came out in February but I am going to play it until the end of time, so there’s that)

    • “I Like It” is such a bop it convinces me that I can get out there and dance a little salsa…when I really end up looking like Candy from Pose on the dancefloor.

      There are so many options from Dirty Computer, @C-P. “I Like That” is the song I actually listen to most often but that’s because it’s part of my IDGAF playlist that gets me through my workday.

      • @pecola yes the entire album is great. Really shows how they have grown musically from Ego Death…and I enjoyed that album.

        Let me get this straight…”Hold On” makes you want to find a girl to make out with but not “Come Over”???

        See I totally put on the who album and groove to get while I am cooking…feeding the dogs…washing dishes…maybe its because I am not in relationship/sex/making out mindset…

  5. I’m fully aware that it’s not 1987, and according to Wikipedia it came out that September, but I stand by “Heaven is a Place on Earth” as my 2018 summer sapphic song. “San Junipero” also didn’t come out in summer; it came out in October 2016, so I may be losing every point I have, but I heard the song in Trader Joe’s the other day, and I felt like Yorkie and Kelly were being seen, and I was being seen, and also there’s a super queer musical on Broadway right now with the music of the Go-Gos, and it all just feels like the feelings.

    I realize nothing I wrote made any sense. I got a tonsillectomy last week and have been doing nothing for 9 days, but I just started eating solid food, so woohoo!

    I used to watch the entire San Junipero episode on a regular basis, but now I just watch this fan-made music video daily: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqKY9o5igAI

    • @caterrachel Well, now you’ve given me an idea for another post: what music do you hear that evokes a strong memory of a TV scene? Like, you’re just walking down the grocery store aisle and that song comes over the PA and you’re just transported to that scene all over again.

      I love this idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

      (Also? Congrats on eating solid food again. The idea of eating as much ice cream as you want after a tonsillectomy sounds more appealing than it actually is, I know.)

      • “The Story” is mine. #CalzonaForever

        But also, “How To Save A Life” and “Crashing Cars”. Yes, I realize that I’m surprising no one with my Grey’s Anatomy obsession. But we are who we are, ok!?!?

        Love you guys!

  6. My queer summer bops:

    Christine & the Queens – Girlfriend. My number 1 at the moment.
    Years & Years – Up in Flames – the biggest bop on the new album.
    Halsey & Lauren Jauregui – Strangers. Not a particular fan of either but this song is a banger.
    The Internet – Roll (Burbank Funk) – funky/very chilled.
    St Vincent – Fast Slow Disco – obviously this is a sweaty dance song

    these songs are all deffo summery/sweaty/high tempo and nicely reflect my experience sitting in my sweltering hot flat with no fan/air con during the heatwave!

  7. I third King Princess! Her LP has been my go to commuter music since it came out.

    I’m also really into Cardi B (like everyone), Janelle Monae (obviously), and someone up above mentioned St Vincent which I greatly agree with.

  8. If I am listening to the radio it’s mostly the oldies station(in this case 80s rock and punk) or listing to Spotify so I have to honestly admit I am not familiar with these songs. For me the gay summer song this year has to be Florence + Machine – June. It’s about how she felt the day of the Pulse shooting at her show in Chicago. I think many lbtq women on Tumblr came to the consensus Florence isn’t straight and this song solidifies it. (She also brought her own flag out for her show in Chicago telling us we matter.) So, I am throwing my vote away for a different candidate. lol

    How is everyone’s week going? It’s been excessively hot here & half the state is on fire, including near Yosemite. NPR said today that even the majority(about 58%) of California Republicans think this is unnatural and that climate change has something to do with it. Maybe this will finally be a wakeup call? I also went on a friend hang with qtwoc who turns out is fiscally conservative and socially centrist. She even admitted she thinks like a cis-het white woman for most of the time. I found a bit perplexing, but wouldn’t be surprised if more centrists & libertarians exist in the LGBTQ and POC communities. I don’t think I can be friends with someone who is willing to be friends with a white supremacist as long as the person is treating her with respect. I didn’t want to get into a debate so I kept quiet. I think I will still talk to her because she is nice, but probably not meet up.

    I spent last Sunday by the coast again in the water, but I also drove one of my favorite roads again. This Sunday I’m driving an hour down the coast to relax and hopefully meet OKC cutie. Wish me luck!

    Panorama view from my favorite road. One side is the valley view other side is ocean view.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive & cool weekend!

      • Yeah, my family defends him too, I know how odd & frustrating it can be. She, on the other hand, didn’t as far as I could tell. She said she votes libertarian when the option is there.

      • Yes, it’s the first track from her new album. Yeah, pretty much the whole west is on fire. News has been the past few days saying our fire season is year-round and it’s, and the neighboring states are pretty much the same now too. Not fun, especially since a lot of it is near homes and natural wonders.

    • @needlesandpin Well, first and foremost, I always love the photos you add to your FOT posts…they’re always a highlight of these posts.

      As I’ve mentioned in response to some others, I love that entire Florence + The Machine album…it’s one of my favorites of the year. I’m gonna hope that you’re right about Florence Welch and now I’m even more excited to see her in October with St. Vincent and Lizzo!

      • Thank you, that really made my day. Yeah, I hope it’s correct too, there is a posting going around tumblr like that documents the signs. Like she is very close with her roommate(woman of course) and other such things. I can’t find the post at the moment, but it’s there somewhere in lbtq tumblr.

    • @needlesandpin I meant to add, about this QTWOC you met:

      You’re right to note that there’s a sizable number of centrists, libertarians and conservatives that exist within LGBTQ and POC communities. There’s actually a fair amount of political data to back this up: for example, according to the Pew Research Center, a greater percentage of black voters describe themselves as moderate (44) or conservative (27) than liberal (26). That said, what keeps the tenuous Democratic coalition together is how folks prioritize those conservative and moderate views (and, of course, how terrible the alternative is).

      Everyone’s different about how they interact with folks who don’t share their politics or prioritize their beliefs in the same way. For me, personally, my tolerance for differences, particularly among voters from marginalized communities, is at an all time low…so I can’t imagine any scenario when I could be amicable, in social setting, with someone like the QTWOC you describe. I definitely agree with how you handled it.

  9. This is unrelated to music and also happened a few weeks ago, but I wanted to share that I was recently in Portland, OR, and Powell’s had a whole endcap of queer comics, including a bunch I had seen here and couldn’t find anywhere else! And they were pretty much all female- and/or nb-centered, which gives me life.

    I picked up Moonstruck and Archie’s They/Them pronouns guide, and my sister bought Bingo Love and Legend of Korra. Now I’m on a whole gay comics tear and have since bought The Tea Dragon Society and the Witch Boy, and checked several others out from the library. Highly recommend them all for surviving our slow apocalypse.

  10. Hayley Kiyoko’s entire Expectations album is the gayest and greatest of 2018!

    Also last night Taylor Swift brought out Hayley as a guest on the Reputation Tour and they sang Curious! So jealous I wasn’t there.

    I also really like Kacey Musgraves song, Rainbow.

  11. this is the best friday open thread i’ve ever seen.

    my vote is for playinwitme by KYLE ft. kehlani. kehlani does a little laugh in her verse that will top you.

    second place is a tie between i like it and what i need

  12. I know this song came out last summer, but this is and always will be my summer anthem. I feel like summer should always be about babes loving each other and loving themselves, so this song is the BEST EVER! I cannot be convinced otherwise. Also those outfits?!??

  13. Just bought King Princess’s EP. Totally obsessed, especially after I saw her video explaining the lyrics behind 1950.

    Today has been a bit of a bummer. I was supposed to go on a date with this girl I met on Tinder and who I’ve caught major feelings for despite knowing her for maybe two weeks, but a bunch of people randomly quit at her job yesterday and her boss begged her to cover their shifts. I’m petsitting right now in the suburbs but drove 45+ minutes on short notice to spend time with her and some of her coworkers last night. Stayed up wayy too late and drank wayy too much and didn’t wake up until 2:30. Definitely queasy this morning (hah except it’s late afternoon). I know she’s working all day but I haven’t heard back from her so I’m also super insecure. I should also drive down to my apartment to see my kitty and grab meds but with rush hour traffic it’s about an hour and a half commute.

    Overall not a great day so far.

    • @mirabelle23 That video of King Princess explaining “1950” was my favorite too. I hope you’re able to turn the music up and sing obnoxiously loud to make yourself feel better.

      That said, I wouldn’t worry too much about this Tinder girl. If a bunch of people at her job quit yesterday, she’s probably dealing with a lot of added responsibilities today (on top of dealing with the same queasiness and tiredness that you woke up with) and hasn’t had time to hit you back. Plus, the night before sounds like it was a blast so I’d say put more stock in the time you spent together than the time you’ve been apart.

      I hope it works out!

    • @freakazoid1980 I’d never heard that song before but I recognized Lucas Lucco…I had to look it up but I must have seen him on Malhação.

      I’m so interested in Pabllo Vittar, though, just from reading his Wikipedia entry. Can you recommend any other works of his for me to check out?

      • Yes, @pecola, Lucas Lucco is also an actor.

        From Pabllo Vittar there’s a few songs I really love:

        Open Bar:

        Todo Dia:

        Então Vai:

        Ok, let’s be honest, his whole album Vai Passar Mal is awesome

        PD: I’m calling Pabllo Vittar “he” because he already talk about it in several interviews to make the matter clear to everyone else.

  14. I have no recent song as the soundtrack to my summer….

    But right now I have Fleetwood Mac “Sisters of the Moon” in my head because I MANAGED TO SEE PAY OF THE ECLIPSE and I got some semi-decent photos!!

    And my girlfriend and I made out a lot under a blood moon, and our periods have synced so I’m feeling all witchy and anti-patriarchal!!

    AND ALSO we just U-Hauled (metaphorically….U-Haul doesn’t exist here it was just her ex girlfriend and her car) and so as of tomorrow I’m living with my girlfriend!!!

    Fuck the patriarchy! I’m living the gay agenda!

    Happy weekend!

  15. Does it still count as song of the summer if I’ve been listening to it on repeat for 6 months already, and am also gay? If so, Maren Morris’ Middle is really gonna carry me all the way trough.

    Unrelated, I’m really worried about Cameron and Rhea, y’all. They have been absent from each other’s socials for a month or so now. Am I unnecessarily invested in the queer love of strangers? Yes. Do I have too much free time? Also yes. But y’all.

    • @listenidk It can be…in fact, you want the song to have been out for a while so everyone can know the lyrics and sing along…unless, of course, the artist is Beyonce and then it reaches ubiquity overnight.

      Know what’s weird, though? I have heard that song about a thousand times–it’s constantly on the radio here–and I sing along everytime…and yet, I didn’t know who sang it until just now.

      • I’ve pulled the dang thing up on Spotify tons of times, and STILL had to search it to make this comment. I feel like there are so few artists that make it all the way to broadcast radio, new folks seem hard to remember.

  16. I think I need to thank Vida for this but lately my music is going back to my roots.

    I’ve been listening a lot of Latin American music: Susana Bacca, Lila Downs, Totó la Momposina, Chabuca Granda, Mercedes Sosa, Violeta Parra, Chavela Vargas, Víctor Jara and a lot more.

    La musica gringa ha sido puesta en pausa por el momento…

  17. Going to art nerd for second.

    That giant headless winged lady in the Ape Shit video is Nike of Samothrace and she’s a badass original Hellenistic work of art. Not a roman copy, which means she is both rare and old(2,207 years)
    She was originally up high on mountain, a monument to a naval battle and part of shrine, there was some water element of some kind too near her.
    She is one of the pieces that gotten safely hidden when the Nazis were taking France, sans her prow pedestal and stuff she’s like 9 feet tall.

    Lastly Nike is the personification and goddess of victory, she’s the most fitting symbolic co-star to have in a music video where the phrase “we made it” is repeated so much on the track. I fucking squealed when I saw her in the video.

    • @gunna-see-the-light One of the best things to come from the discussion of the “Apeshit” video has been the recounting of the art history it depicts. I love hearing about it and I feel like I’ve learned so much.

      Thanks for channeling your inner art nerd to share that information with us.

      • Modern art bringing art history into present conversations is so wonderful!

        It’s not as much channeling as it is directing the on going stream into something coherent. :B

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