LGBTI+ anthems have always been out there, but rarely have they been as widespread as they have been recently. We’re living in a golden age of LGBTI+ positivity, and artists are making the music to speak to it. If you haven’t heard these songs, these are just a few you need to add to your listening queue! And if you already have, well, there’s no reason why you can’t jam out to them repeatedly.
“Anyone Else” – PVRIS
PVRIS lead singer Lynn Gunn has become well-known in the LGBTI+ community, being more prominent and outspoken about her experiences being gay. Their 2017 album All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell goes to a much more personal place for the band, and “Anyone Else” is definitely a part of that.
The song switches moods between the first and second verse, with the first seeming like a love song, and the second kind of twisting it. Gunn has said in an interview that she wrote the first verse when she was straight out of a relationship and still in love, while she created the second after she had time to reflect and realize she didn’t feel that way anymore.
At the end, she changes the “You’re the only one I’ll ever know” refrain to “I’m” instead of “You’re,” turning this song into the realization she doesn’t need someone else. The song is an interesting journey, emphasizing strength and being okay with being yourself.
“Rainbow” – Kesha
There’s a lot of meaning behind this one. Kesha has said it’s the first song she wrote for her newest album, and there’s certainly a reason she titled it “Rainbow” as well. She’s said she took inspiration from the image of a rainbow emerging after a storm, and that’s how this song came about. When you weather life’s storms, you’ll eventually see a rainbow, too.
For many reasons, the rainbow flag has become the strongest visual representation of the LGBTI+ community, and Kesha really captures the spirit of that, even if the song isn’t directly a pride anthem. The lyrics say to “just put those colors on, come and paint the world with me tonight.” The song is about realizing our scars and our past make us who we are, but we can’t lose hope. Put that rainbow on, and let’s make life beautiful.
“The Cure” – Lady Gaga
Though the lyrics to this dance-pop love song are simple, it still seems to sound 10 times better with her unique talents as a singer-songwriter. While the verses speak more to a one-on-one relationship, it’s the bridge and chorus that really give the song some meaning.
The power of this song really hits home when Gaga performs it live in concert. This is a song to her little monsters. She’ll be there to heal you with her love and her music when nothing else works, just like the fans are there to support and cheer for her every night when she’s performing. Music is the perfect escape, and Gaga gave fans the perfect song to escape into.
“Sleepover” – Hayley Kiyoko
Falling in love with your best friend is a constant theme — but Hayley Kiyoko recreates this struggle for queer people, instead of framing it in the heterosexual way it is normally. In a society that’s still very hetero-normative, LGBTI+ people have a special kind of struggle when it comes to falling in love with a friend who doesn’t seem to share those feelings.
The video helps put a visual to what the lyrics are saying — the singer is dreaming about the things she wants to experience with her friend, but her friend isn’t interested in crossing that line. The frequent repetition of the line “At least I got you in my head” really hits home. It’s a bittersweet, all-too-familiar experience to live through, but Kiyoko certainly finds a way to capture it perfectly.
Bonus Track: For a less bittersweet version of a similar theme, check out MØ’s song, “Nights With You.” The Danish singer and songwriter has alluded to the fact that it is about a best friend, and the lyrics suggest that there’s a little more than platonic friendship going on there. It’s a fun song with a visually captivating music video, and definitely worth a play!
2017 isn’t over yet, so hopefully we’ll see some more empowering songs on the Billboard! Until then, add these songs to your playlist if they aren’t already there and give ‘em a listen!