One of the things that’s constantly made me feel better, even when I was at my lowest lows this year, was pop music. How did we get lucky enough to have such a huge number of queer pop stars? We’ve got Tegan and Sara, of course, but also Hayley Kiyoko, Demi Lovato, Lauren Jauregui, Kehlani, Kesha, Halsey, Mary Lambert, Babeo Baggins and more! This is great! We’re taking over the industry, the future is queer! Here are fifteen of my favorite pop songs that made me feel queer feelings this year. (These aren’t ranked in any particular order.)
1. “Strangers” by Halsey ft. Lauren Jauregui
“She doesn’t kiss me on the mouth anymore, cause it’s more intimate than she thinks we should get” Halsey sings in the opening line to this and we already know what we’re in for. Two openly bisexual pop stars of color collaborated on this song that has no ambiguity about being all about queer heartbreak.
2. “Know Your Name” by Mary Lambert
A stunner of a pop song about a new crush with a stunner of a music video featuring Mary Lambert’s own queer posse as she tries to catch up with her mysterious crush played by Sara Ramirez.
3. “Nineteen” by Hayley Williams (Originally by Tegan and Sara)
A part of The Con X Covers album celebrating the tenth anniversary of the groundbreaking queer album, this new version by the lead singer of Paramore manages to keep every single ounce of tearjerking from the original but somehow makes it more haunting.
4. “Feelings” by Hayley Kiyoko
Hayley Kiyoko is the future of queer pop. She’s already had massive success with her queer anthems “Sleepover,” “Gravel to Tempo” and of course “Girls Like Girls,” and she hasn’t even released her debut album yet. Our girl came through for us again this year, with “Feelings,” a theme song for all the queer girls who never learned how to play it cool. “Feelings” is a song for those of us who wear our rainbow hearts on our sleeves.
5. “Bad at Love” by Halsey
Bisexual superstar Halsey is back, this time on her own, and this time loudly and proudly bi in her lyrics. She sings both about ex boyfriends and ex girlfriends in this smash hit that’s still climbing the charts. Guys, a song about being bisexual has 54 million views on Youtube. That’s amazing.
6. “Cut to the Feeling” by True Gay Icon Carly Rae Jepsen
If my life were a song, I’d want it to be this one. It has a soaring chorus, a pounding beat, and lyrics that cut straight to the feeling of being love. Just listen to Carly Rae sing “I wanna dance on the roof, you and me alone” and “I wanna wake up with you all in tangles, oh” and try to not believe in love.
7. “Honey” by Kehlani
Damn, this song is sexy. Kehlani’s voice accompanied by a simple guitar sounds like a warm summer picnic with your best gal where you’re sharing grapes and wine and soft, soft kisses.
8. “Nights with You” by MØ
This is easily the most confusing song of the year. The female singer starts off telling her female best friend that she’s gorgeous, then tells her she’ll do anything to make her smile, “don’t care about your boyfriend waking up alone” and that she wants to spend all her nights with you. That’s gay, but the singer says it’s not? But really, that’s gay.
9. “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato
This song is for every lesbian, bisexual lady or queer person who was dumped or cheated on or mistreated this year. Demi knows how you feel, and more importantly, she knows how you want to feel. You want to feel powerful and strong and unapologetic. And that’s what this song is all about.
10. “Bad Liar” by Selena Gomez
Selena’s song might not be iconically queer on it’s own (although it is pretty relatable to hear her sing about how she can’t hide her crush), but in the music video she decided to play all the parts, including a high school student who has a crush on her female gym teacher. And girl, does she play gay real well.
11. “Praying” by Kesha
Kesha’s comeback this year was one of the greatest stories in all of pop culture, and this was the song that kicked it all off and showed us just how strong she was. With one brilliant song Kesha not only blew us all away, but she shut down her rapist and abuser, gave strength to women everywhere and announced her return in a big way.
12. “Gorgeous” by Taylor Swift
T-Swift has had some pretty gay songs before, but this is her gayest. In it she sings about how the person she sees in the club is waaayyyyy too gorgeous for her to handle. She’s mad at her feelings, like a closeted girl trying to deny that she likes a girl. “You should think the consequence of you touching my hand in a darkened room,” come on.
13. “Want You Back” by Haim
Haim has been a favorite in the queer girl scene for a while now, but it wasn’t until this song that I finally got them, and boy howdy I get them now. In a lot of ways this is the opposite of “Sorry Not Sorry” so no matter how you feel about your breakup, we’ve got you covered. Also, the dancing in the video is cute! I love it!
14. “Take Me” by Aly and AJ
Ummmmm wow, this video and song. It’s campy, it’s catchy, but most importantly, it’s hottttttttt. The sisters and former Disney stars play a pair of 70’s style vampires singing a plea to their potential victims to invite them on a date, where they say “I know that you would want it, if I could sink my teeth into you.” It’s a bop and a banger.
15. “Slow Dance With Me” by Babeo Baggins and Marceline the Vampire Queen
I’m saving my current favorite for last. Babeo Baggins is my current number #1 celebrity crush and they knocked it out of the park with this song about yearning and and hope and wanting to be enough for that girl you like to like you back. The fact that it was then used in an episode of Adventure Time where Marceline the Gay Vampire Queen sings it makes it one of my favorite pop culture moments of the year. Thank you Babeo.