Pride Music Playlists 2021 | Young people

Pride month is a month of celebration and solidarity. This is a month where we acknowledge the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, but also celebrate the incredible cultural and societal contributions this wonderful community has made to America and the world. So, the Young Folks team has put together a Pride playlist dedicated to the LGBTQ+ creator, queer experiences, and the struggles we endure. From the thunderous sensibility of SOPHIE to the sultry flow of Shygirl to the heartfelt embrace of Frank Ocean, this playlist is as diverse in subject matter, genre and mood as the community that makes it up.

Michael Heimbaugh

Like sexuality, human emotion is a colorful spectrum. With so much recent art depicting queer pain and grief, I decided to focus on songs about the fun aspects of homosexuality. From Corin Tucker’s vigorous gender bending on “Milkshake n’ Honey” to the jubilant “horn” section on serpentwithfeet’s “Same Size Shoe” – from Tegan & Sara’s new romantic sugar rush to the ironic impasse of magnetic fields – these songs embody (for me, anyway) the dizzying heights of queer joy and ecstasy. (I’d be remiss to exclude my all-time favorite son, Prince’s “Kiss” – while not explicitly queer himself, the Purple One has toyed with sexual norms his entire career and has more than deserves a place on the list).

  1. “Closer” by Tegan & Sara
  2. “Same Size Shoe” by serpentwithfeet
  3. Prince’s “Kiss”
  4. “I want to live with you” by Alex Lahey
  5. “When My Boy Walks Down the Street” door Magnetic Fields
  6. “Milkshake ‘n Honey” door Sleater-Kinney
  7. “Infatuation” by SOPHIE
  8. “Snug Slacks” by John Grant
  9. “You Make Me Feel (Powerful Real)” van Sylvester
  10. “Miss Chatelaine” by kd lang

Amanda Reimer

Since Frank Ocean has denied explicitly speaking about his sexual orientation, many non-heteronormative people prefer to avoid labels. Frank Ocean’s songs speak to people who have queer experiences without outright telling the listener that it’s queerness. His music lives in ambiguity. Not only does Ocean’s music and experiences reject the rigid roles imposed by society, but much of his music also speaks directly to the confusion of youth and the understanding of one’s innate desires. This, of course, coupled with grief, leaves some of his most powerful tracks with painful memories and breakups. The queer community continues to make strides toward inclusivity, and as we move forward, our art also reflects changing attitudes and ideas about labels and boxes. Frank Ocean’s acclaimed work builds acceptance for artists with queer experiences not only in niche spaces, but also in mainstream media.

  1. “Forrest Gump” by Frank Ocean
  2. “Self Control” by Frank Ocean
  3. “Ivy” by Frank Ocean
  4. “Bad Religion” by Frank Ocean
  5. Thinking of You by Frank Ocean
  6. “Chanel” by Frank Ocean

Katey Stoetzel

Years & Years’ Olly Alexander has released a new single with “Starstruck,” a wholesome, cosmic bop about the immediate infatuation you feel when you meet someone. After starring in one of the best TV shows of the year It’s a sin, Alexander collaborated with Elton John for a rendition of the Pet Shop Boys song of the same name, performing at the Brits in one of the most iconic musical moments of the year. You can’t talk about new queer music without mentioning the person who broke the internet. Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” made waves in April when it dropped. It’s brave, direct and fearless to point fingers; even when he drives people crazy, Lil Nas X pours his soul into music that sums up a lifetime. Imagine being in a crowd full of energy for “Higher” by VINCINT, a smaller and more intimate venue for “Hope” by Arlo Parks, or on a winding, unhurried road trip with the windows rolled down to “Chance by Hayley Kiyoko. These songs make me long for experiences I didn’t realize I had missed, or feelings I hadn’t felt in a long time. I’m no dancer, but after a year of isolation, these are perfect songs to get back on the dance floor, with strangers, peers and friends, all embracing the unifying assurance that we’re alive.

  1. “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” door Lil Nas X
  2. Starstruck by Years & Years
  3. “What We Do For Love” by Julez Lorenzo
  4. “Luck” by Hayley Kiyoko
  5. VINCINT’s “Getaway” featuring Tegan and Sara
  6. “It’s a Sin” by Elton John, Years & Years
  7. “Hope” by Arlo Parks
  8. “THE SUN IS SETTING” by Lil Nas X
  9. “Higher” by VINCINT, Alex Newell, Princess Precious featuring Alex Newell

Mark Wesley

Where were you the first time you listened to SOPHIE? For me, it was in 2015 during a dive with an artist. I came across “BIPP” through a BBC Radio 1 mix that Diplo had done. The song was unlike anything I had ever heard. SOPHIE’s approach to bubblegum bass and electropop was so far ahead of its time, but what made it so stellar was how such an unorthodox song made you want to dance and groove. The dance floor is heralded almost as a mythical setting in queer spaces, where dreams can come true and worries are left behind. This playlist is dedicated to the dancefloor and how important it is to us. And above all, long live SOPHIE.

  1. “BIPP” by SOPHIE
  2. “Disco II” by Special Interest
  3. “Super Stars” by Yves Tumor
  4. “I’m Waiting (Just 4 U)” by India Jordan
  5. “Love is Religion (The Blessed Madonna Remix)” by Dua Lipa, The Blessed Madonna
  6. “jill/jack” by Moses Sumney, Jill Scott
  7. “SLIM” by Shygirl
  8. “As If” by Christine and the Queens
  9. “RULES” by JADE UNIVERSE
  10. “Kiss Me on the Phone” from That Kid
  11. Semler’s “Jesus of Texas”
  12. “HARD” by SOPHIE

Noah Abbott

Music for me is a matter of mood. It can get me out of a rut, free me, move me forward and guide me in thinking. The soft but strong evocation of SOPHIE’s “It’s Okay to Cry” is unlike anything I’ve heard before while 070’s “Precious Pressure” is a hymn to “feminine gentlemen” struggling with acceptance. Of course, being a romantic, many of these songs are representative of the struggles of love. “You Stupid Bitch” and “Crush” are perfect anthems for my introverted teenager. Halsey’s “Heaven In Hiding” is an ode to positive self-image. This diverse collection of songs describes so many of the struggles of the queer person without being too focused on the negative experiences, and it’s something worth celebrating (also Cavetown’s ukulele and electric guitar solo).

  1. Halsey’s “Hidden Paradise”
  2. “You Stupid Bitch” by Girl in Red
  3. “Devil Town” door Cavetown
  4. “Sofia” by Clairo
  5. 070’s “Precious Pressure” featuring Ralphy River, Treee Safari & Shake
  6. YOUTH by Troye Sivan
  7. “Let It Be” by Hayley Kiyoko
  8. “Use Me” by PVRIS featuring 070 Shake
  9. “It’s OK to Cry” by SOPHIE
  10. “Crush” by Tessa Violet
  11. “Nemesis” by Benjamin Clementine

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George L. Hernandez