Valentine’s Day is here, which means the same patch of love songs you hear every year – “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, “All of Me” by John Legend and of course “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. come to mind. While these romantic staples are wonderful, it’s also nice to have songs that aren’t just about heterosexual relationships.
For Valentine’s Day, Billboard Pride has created a playlist of love songs written by queer artists, for queer fans. From the upbeat dance-pop jams of Darren Hayes to the beautifully streamlined ballads of Parson James, it’s time to celebrate queer love with fresh, new music that crosses genres, styles and borders.
The pop singer said this song is like telling someone, “I love you despite your flaws, despite everything else, and I feel you even when we’re not in the same room.” It’s a vocal powerhouse that deftly slides from mellow R&B to an almost gospel chorus. This song is guaranteed to give you that loving feeling.
Perfume genius, “Alan”
This quiet, raw ballad from Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas is an ode to the singer’s longtime boyfriend, Alan Wyffels. In few words, but so many emotions, Hadreas conveys the kind of subtle, deep love that anyone who’s ever had a serious relationship understands.
Fletcher feat. Hayley Kiyoko, “Cherry”
Take two queer women at the top of their game, put them together to one delightfully entertaining pop song, and you’ve got “Cherry,” the sweet, loving pop gem from Fletcher and Hayley Kiyoko. Telling the story of two women meeting, falling in love and getting down to business, “Cherry” is sure to brighten up your V-Day celebrations with some well-deserved fun.
Sakima, “Snow Angels”
While Sakima is known for her deeply erotic and overtly sexual lyrics, her song “Snow Angels” approaches intimate passion with a lighter touch. Sure, signature lyrics like “Clouds in the sky of our names/ Dreaming of f-king till they fade away” are still present, but this slower, more romantic track sounds like love to us.
The soul artist’s hit song is a slow, sultry acoustic number sung to her lover. The song’s lyrics, detailing a cautious surrender to one’s own strong feelings of infatuation, are the icing on the cake in this tender ode to loving someone new.
Serpentwithfeet, “Same Shoe Size”
Opposites can attract, but Serpentwithfeet proves that sometimes similarity is just as comforting. “Same Shoe Size” serves as a dedication to the trust, understanding and affinity that come with healthy relationships, where the singer lets his lover know that their friendship is what keeps them together.
Superfruit, “Worth It (Perfect)”
The dynamic pop duo of Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi sing about a love so good they’ll go through just about anything to preserve it. With a heavy synth complementing the shimmering vocals of both Pentatonix members, this song is the perfect love letter to that special someone this Valentine’s Day.
MUNA feat. Phoebe Bridgers, “Chiffon”
Describing love through textural sensations may not be new, but it’s groundbreaking when MUNA and Phoebe Bridgers do it. “Silk Chiffon,” their blissful ode to queer love, sees indie-pop stars embrace the euphoria of finding someone you never want to be without — or, as they say, is “sweet as milk.” chiffon”.
Cub Sport, “Take care of me”
In this alt pop slow jam, singer Tim Nelson sings about his lover supporting him even when he’s at his worst. Want to thank your partner for being there for you even when you’re messy? Go ahead and send them this song.
Parson James, “Only You”
While Parson James will tell you this song is about a tough breakup, listening to the lyrics makes you feel something very different. This emotional ballad explores the complex feelings in a relationship where one partner simply needs the other to feel whole again. Also, James’ music video for this song was a beautiful tribute to love featuring a transgender model, so it’s definitely worth your attention.
Mary Lambert, “Love is Love”
The singer introduced her own mother, Mary Kay Lambert, in this low-key love ballad about finding deep, healing love in the face of adversity. “See how love binds our broken wings / And lost hearts find a home,” she coos over this breathtaking song.
Darren Hayes, “Let’s Try to Be in Love”
Not all love songs need to be schmaltzy ballads espousing the beauty of romance — as Darren Hayes proves on “Let’s Try Being In Love,” they can be dance-pop hits, too. This sultry, swaggering single refuses to take itself too seriously, as Hayes invites the listener into his personal orbit, asking them to join him on a journey into the rocky waters of passionate affection.
Kelela, “Blue Light”
On an album (2017 take me aside) surrounded by songs about ending breakups, this steamy and sexy alt-R&B jam tells the story of a woman letting her guard down to allow herself to fully love her partner. Only Kelela’s vocals on this track will make you feel the love again.
Troye Sivan, “My my my!”
The exuberant “My My My!” by Troye Sivan reunites with the often melancholic singer headed to the dancefloor. This synth-pop bop is a true expression of new love and romantic freedom, guaranteed to make you swoon.
PVRIS, “Anyone Else”
Singer Lynn Gunn pours her heart into the lyrics of this upbeat ode to a lover. The light guitar and heavy drums that fill the background make this a perfect song to dance with your significant other.
Lil Nas X, “That’s What I Want”
Global superstar Lil Nas X is tired of feeling lonely. On Montero Standout ‘That’s What I Want,’ the rapper offers a list of qualities he’s looking for – a guy who’s ready to cuddle, who’s ready for messy arguments and who’s ready to calm him down when he gets too much hot. At the end of the day, he’s after what so many others are: “I want someone to love / That’s what the fuck I want!”
An ethereal, funky song about the euphoric rise of romantic passion, this entry from pink-haired singer morgxn is a great affirmation to be comfortable with your own sexuality.
Wrabel, “It’s You”
Wrabel’s melodic hymn of love explores how “you” make everything in life more colorful and beautiful. With a proven track record of creating songs in support of the LGBTQ community, this song is a perfect fit for any queer Valentine’s Day playlist.
Beth Ditto, “Love in Real Life”
While many of the other songs on this list deal with hyperbole, singer-songwriter Beth Ditto’s “Love in Real Life” takes on a more realistic tone – love is hard and frustrating, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. This scintillating song is about loving love, even if it’s not perfect.
“When you’re around, I feel like angels surround me.” With the first line of its chorus, LP quickly establishes how ecstatic the feeling of being with the right person is. The music of the “Angels” only reinforces his thesis, exalting the singer’s magnificent voice even higher.