2018 has decidedly been a good year for LGBTQ music lovers. Releases from new and familiar LGBTQ icons alike have given many people hope that the music scene is finally embracing inclusiveness. Singer Troye Sivan acknowledged “an amazing wave of queer artists on the come up right now.”
As the world has become more accepting of out and proud musicians, many artists have taken the opportunity to share more of themselves in their music. Though 2018 isn’t over yet, the year has seen some truly great LGBTQ songs already — songs to dance to, sing along with and be inspired by.
LGBTQ-inclusive music can empower individuals in the community to be confidently, unapologetically themselves, so it’s no surprise that the community has embraced these songs. Here are five new LGBTQ songs that seek to inspire anyone to have pride.
The beat in this single by 23-year old rising English pop and R&B star MNEK is relentlessly infectious. The song combines a beautiful vocal performance with fun and relatable lyrics.
In the chorus of the song, careful listeners will find a cheeky rebellion against LGBTQ silence: “So, I’m putting both hands over my mouth / I can only hope nothing’s gonna come out / But there it is on the tip of my tongue / I think I love you / I think you’re the one.”
Combined with the music video’s dancing and sense of style, the lyrics make “Tongue” one of the most memorable LGBTQ songs of 2018.
Madison Daniel, “Love Is Love”
Madison Daniel wrote “Love Is Love” during Australia’s gay marriage vote. Fittingly, the song is a sweet celebration of the marriage win. Its lyrics remind listeners not only that “love is love” but that “we can’t help who we love,” which makes it an inspirational anthem for those who might be questioning their sexuality or have overcome internalized homophobia in the past.
Janelle Monae, “The Way You Make Me Feel”
The release of Janelle Monae’s third album Dirty Computer was met with excitement from the LGBTQ community, partly because Monae came out as pansexual around the time of the launch. However, the album is also packed with great songs, many of which deal with themes of sexuality, female empowerment and individuality. Notable songs dealing with LGBTQ themes include “Pynk” and “I Like That.”
Though many of the songs on Monae’s new album address her sexuality, “The Way You Make Me Feel” is a personal favorite. Though the singer’s pansexuality isn’t the only focus of the song, it plays a large role in the music video, as Monae is shown enthralled by two love interests, one of whom is a woman.
When Monae sings “It’s like I’m powerful with a little bit of tender,” she invites LGBTQ listeners to be themselves and to revel in their unique personalities.
Troye Sivan, “My, My, My!”
Troye Sivan is one of the most famous gay singers on the pop scene today. His new album Bloom is full of songs that embrace his sexuality. “My, My, My!” is particularly inspiring.
The lyrics of the song encourage listeners to embrace themselves as fully as Sivan has embraced himself. He says, “Let’s stop running from love” and later “let’s stop running from us,” which is a message that may resonate with LGBTQ people who are still struggling to find confidence in their sexualities or gender identities.
As always, Sivan’s openness — and frankly, his style — is refreshing and inspiring.
Frankie Simone, “War Paint”
Frankie Simone’s “War Paint” is the closest thing to a true anthem on this list. As an open lesbian, Simone says she used the song to encourage people to know their self-worth regardless of abusive things others might say.
“War Paint” is both catchy and powerful. Simone sings, “When we went to war / I saw your colors all over me,” a reference to the rainbow flag that has become synonymous with gay pride. Ultimately, the song serves as a call for LGBTQ individuals to show their “true colors” with pride.
These songs and others have helped this year feel more welcoming to LGBTQ people. They have given pride a refreshing, new soundtrack. One can only hope that even more artists of diverse backgrounds and identities continue creating great music in the future.