By Jake Paterson, first year english
To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, Jake Paterson rounds up some of the best queer love songs.
intangible – Sophie
To think of love in a world created only to be yours, being able to find yourself on an ever-shifting plane between the two biological binaries, I think of SOPHIE. “Immaterial”, from the revolutionary THE OIL FROM INSIDE EVERY PEARL, infuses color into this gray area. Through SOPHIE’s artistic expression and spirit, gender and love become who you choose to be. Love becomes an emotion unique to everyone it passes through and ultimately negates any sense of universal definition. Sonically, “Immaterial” is manifest and present. It’s both unpredictable and rhythmic, gripping and alarming, and impossible to turn off. Its hyperpop sentiments are reminiscent of AG Cook’s PC Music influence, but in its own unmistakable style. Passed away last year, SOPHIE’s message that you can be “any shape, any shape, anywhere” resonates louder now with every listen: commit your love to being yourself and to the people who give you as much life as possible.
make me feel – Janelle Monae
The bisexual anthem “Make Me Feel” is raw, unapologetic and celebratory. Sensuality is an omnipresent force through its textures – reminiscent of Prince, who contributed to the track before his passing. Monae’s message is clear: “Baby, don’t make me spell it for you.” Impossible to resist the energy she exudes, just like in the music video where she catches the attention of every person in the room. Her love is fluid and adaptable to any temptation that presents itself – the song offers a place where there are simply no limits to desire, expression, exploration and experimentation. “Make Me Feel” is both empowering and intimate, life affirming that love’s reach is endless and will always refuse to be held back by the boundaries that surround it.
On the floor – Genius of perfume
Addressing the obsession and unrequited love that comes with first crushing, “On The Floor” is an 80s synth pop exploration of the living, breathing entity of love and its potential to alter you. yourself and the partners you hope to find it. Speaking to Pitchfork, Perfume Genius pointed out that crushes are “just this buzzing thing” that keeps you alive to the possibility of lonely desire, but also the possibility of it still being lit on fire and generating sparks: “it’s always love, it’s always care”. It reminds him of being young and locked up: it “feels like love, it feels like what I want and what seems to me natural, but then there is this mixture of shame and fear”. There are limits to expression and doubt according to the definition of love established by others and not by yourself. Yet the progression of the song shows that self-definition is still possible, finally breaking through into an authentic connection: ‘The dreaming / Bringing his face to mine’ becomes ‘The rise and fall / of his chest on me’.
stay high –Brittany Howard
Staying away from the opening of Monae and Sophie, Brittany Howard puts love on an organic scale – it’s not superficial or ever-changing, but rather a solid object. Love involves building family ties and exploring your sensuality. As the singer of Alabama Shakes, Howard’s “Stay High” is an indie track effortlessly infused with soul and blues — the chorus is impossible to forget, and its layered simplicity is both delicate and irresistible. By the time it ends, you can’t wait to get back to the first line: “I already want to do it again, honey.” She makes it clear that life and love are about sacrifice and reward: “We work hard and hustle all day. […] The night, where we play”. The track is rooted in reality and encourages us to take real pleasure in love. Love gives us the impetus to go on in life unwaveringly, pushing to “stay high”.
Review: Manchester Collective @ St George’s Bristol
Review: $NOT – Ethereal
As if – Christine and the Queens
Christine and the Queens told Pitchfork that “As If” is “a carnal call to sensuality and a call to dissolve as a means of existing and repairing oneself.” It’s also a love song in pop song format that changed my life, because with music I was able to be who I wanted to be. It is then about exploring yourself completely through others and through music, whether performing and losing yourself in voice or choreography, or simply disappearing into the art and work of those who have created the precedent before you. Love is cast as an affinity with all things that give you life, becoming the person of your own desires as well as losing yourself in the arms of another. It’s unmistakably his style, and the intertwining of the English and French lyrics crosses that boundary of sensuality again, finding love where it chooses to show up for you.
Featured Image: Dolo Iglesias, Unsplash
What’s your favorite queer love song?