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.
Great list! “Dress” by TSwift has gay vibes as well: secret moments in a crowded room, I don’t want you like a best friend, they got no idea about me and you…gayyy
I’m not even really on the USS Kaylor but if that song isn’t about Karlie Kloss than what are any of use even doing????????
I’ve decided with no evidence that dress is a direct response to tegan and sara’s “Boyfriend” and Taylor hooked up with Sara Quin.
Man, I’m so glad you put Praying in here. I have never in my life related to a song more than this one, after losing my family as I knew it to an affair by an unapoletic, stupid man.
i have watched the video for “want you back” so many times that i can see every second of it frame by frame on the back of my eyelids when i hear the song. i don’t really want to interrogate why i am like this other than that i like danielle’s jacket and she looks gay here. thank you for making this space for me to process mey
I have never once looked at Danielle Haim and thought, “Wow, she looks so heterosexual here.” Not once. And I too have really given it a fair effort.
I knew I wasn’t the only one that though Gorgeous was super gay! Thank you for the validation Mey!
While I love this list Taylor Swifts song def mentions male pronouns….sooo yea lol she’s talking about a dude or masc center person at least.
isnt’ that only in reference to her current boyfriend? “i’ve got a boyfriend, he’s older than us”?
I’m so sorry! You are right. So many of her songs on this album reference he/him pronouns that’s totally my bad.
No worries! it’s an easy mistake to make!
I was sitting in a car, listening to the radio, when “Bad at Love” popped on.
I usually never drive or listen to the radio, so I was distracted by the technical side of things,but then, at some point it came on again.
And then again.
At first I thought I had misheard, but then she really DID sing about that girl and that and that boyfriend.
I couldn’t believe it.
By the end of my roadtrip I was just totally thankful, that after everything, this is also a time where a radio station in the middle of nowhere in the South is putting a song where a girl is singing about her messed up relationships with boys and girls on heavy rotation.
It’s a thing, you know.
Shit does get better.
Wow, I love every song on this list. Is this a playlist yet?
MØ is pretty confusing in general. I mean, her whole vibe screams queer to me and not only are the lyrics to “Nights with You” really gay, but the video also features two women making out and two men having a romantic interpretive dance together. How are we not supposed to think this song is gay?
She was also featured on a song by Elliphant a few years ago where they sing lines like, “Stay with me tonight” and “I need you now”, to each other and also make out with each other in the video so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; straight girls sometimes seem a lot gayer than actual gay girls.
IMMA LET YOU FINISH BUT SYD WROTE A SONG ABOUT DROWNING IN A WOMAN’S PRIVATE PARTS. She’s an out lesbian who writes about girls all the time with her band The Internet, but her first solo album (called Fin) is a (highly gay) masterpiece.
First song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpFV17800pk
Other gay hits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNJkas_LiCM
No I don’t have a crush on her what are you talking about.
Hell yea! Syd should have her own category, fin was so freaking great!
Is it just me or does the gym teacher in “Bad Liar” look *exactly* like Leisha Hailey, specifically Leisha Hailey from that L Word Episode where she’s a Farrah Fawcett look-alike? Anyone?
I would like to submit that “Dress” is actually the gayest song on Reputation due to the fact that “Gorgeous” is about a dog, I’m assuming a French Bulldog but that’s just me, that Taylor met tied up outside the Walgreens at Sunset and Vine as stated in this very convincing Mashable expose: http://mashable.com/2017/10/20/taylor-swift-gorgeous-meaning-dogs/
Wow that CRJ video was an insta-crush for me. Wow.
That Mo video is…very confusing.
And I’m with Mey, that HAIM song is the first that’s gotten me liking them.
Why is it so that when you write about openly bisexual singers, you refer to them specifically by their label, but when you write about the only openly lesbian singer on this list, Hayley Kiyoko, you use some generic label ‘queer’? Kinda looks like lesbian erasure.
Somehow I forgot about Mary Lambert being on that list when I was writing that comment, so Hayley is not the only lesbian there. But the point still stands – Mary is not referred by her label either.
The feminist in me thinks women-specific language is very important, which is why I think using words like lesbian and sapphic that are specific to my own community and not being subsumed under men’s terms.
Sapphic women are so often subsumed under the experiences and issues of gay and bi men, even queer was originally a word to describe gay and bi men.
Counterpoint to everyone saying “Dress” is Taylor Swift’s gayest song: “Gorgeous” contains the line: “Guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats/ Alone, unless you wanna come along, oh.” Which, like, if I don’t use that line at some point, what am I even doing in my lesbian life.
Mey, this list is amazing. Thank you!
I discovered Hayley Kiokyo early this year after Sleepover came out, and wheeeeeewie. She is everything I wanted when I was like 14. I am amazed by the representation on this list; it’s making my heart so happy!!
OK WHAT I can’t even make it past the first song because how did I never see that video before now and Im crying AHHHH
wait i mean the second one, which i watched first because mary lambert + sara ramirez omg
We LGBTQ elders at SAGE were partial to Miley’s “Younger Now”!
I’ll post about this elsewhere as well, but this seems like a great place to mention this!
Partly as a holiday gift for all of y’all, I have been composing this operatic five-act musical miniseries, mainly about Americans in and around 2017, composed mainly of cinematic music videos released by Americans in and around 2017. While I haven’t managed to include every song on this list, it should be one of the queerest things you’ve seen in a while :)
It isn’t 100% finished yet, but I should have the rest queued up before you could possibly get to it!
CONTENT WARNING: Lots of explicit and emotionally-charged content. I’d list categories, but it’s about America around 2017, so… well, just be ready.
Eek, it embeded the first video instead of making a playlist link. Let’s see if I can just embed the playlist:
If that doesn’t work, the link (with a space added so it hopefully posts) is https://www. youtube.com/ playlist?list=PL9SOdj6cLkoYBRgvzzmyzwPfT8n7D3Hz_
Worth mentioning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO-5Hk81nP0
I really can’t agree with the choice of Taylor Swift for this sole reason alone. http://variety.com/2017/music/news/taylor-swift-lawsuit-aclu-1202607965/
I read this post, fell asleep for a few minutes (I’m sick), and woke up with the chorus “I fall in love with straight girls and married men / It’s what I do / Straight girls and married men / If you’re wrong for me, then I want you” in my head. How do I turn this into a pop hit?
Why oh why isn’t Hayley Williams a lesbian??
What are people’s thoughts about the songs on St. Vincent’s MASSeduction, one of my favorite albums of the year (although not technically pop it’s way poppier than her previous albums)? Even though I generally hate when people do this, for the better part of six months I’ve been wondering and forming theories about whether any songs are about Carrie, Cara, and/or Kristen…? After listening dozens of times to “Hang On Me” I thought the lyrics were “Girl, you and me, we’re not meant for this world ” but then learned that the internet claims otherwise. After seeing her live, I am convinced that they’re wrong and she clearly sings “girl.” Regardless, one thing I know for sure is that I am 100% gayer after seeing that live performance.