In 2021, there was an increasing amount of LGBTQ+ representation in music. However, there was some controversy this year for LGBTQ+ people in the music industry and much more progress still has to be made. Even though this occurred, LGBTQ+ artists continued to deliver in 2021.
Here are our top 5 picks at LGBTQ and ALL for the best songs from LGBTQ+ artists that were released this year.
“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X
Probably the most famous and iconic LGBTQ+ song of the year was Lil Nas X’s smash hit. This song celebrates queer identities. In the song, Lil Nas X confesses to his partner that he wants to keep it real between them and fight against the stigma surrounding same-sex sex.
“Triple Dog Dare” by Lucy Dacus
Lucy Dacus is a queer and pansexual artist who released the incredible album Home Video this past year. The song “Triple Dog Dares” is about the blossoming of a young queer romance between her and a friend.
Here is what Dacus had to say about the song:
“The relationship at the center of it was my freshman year of high school, though I visualize the characters in the song as younger. We had a super tight friendship and were probably a little bit in love. But her mom saw what was going on in a way that I didn’t. She was Catholic, and a psychic and would tell my friend, ‘You are in imminent danger if you go over to Lucy’s house.’
So our relationship faltered because we were kept from each other. The song focuses on our connection, her mother being very protective, and at the end of the song, there’s a fictionalized alternate ending where they steal a boat and run away. It’s left unclear whether they succeed or die at sea. The group vocal at the end is like a search party. In the last verse, the protective mother is grieving, but she’s also relieved that nothing worse can happen. That idea came from a passage in A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara where a character is talking about how everyone knows about the devastation of loss, but nobody really talks about that feeling of relief.”
“Silk Chiffon” by MUNA featuring Phoebe Bridgers
For a song that celebrates queer love, “Silk Chiffon” by MUNA was one of the most popular and catchy indie tracks of the year. The lyrics “Life’s so fun, life’s so fun / Don’t need to worry about no one” are delightful, fun, and upbeat and will get stuck in your head all day. After being signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records, this song was MUNA’s first release and hit No. 45 on Billboard’s Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart.
“Born This Way (The Country Road Version)” by Orville Peck
Gay country singer Orville Peck made his rendition of Lady Gaga’s LGBTQ+ anthem “Born This Way.” The first country road version was previously an excellent revision of the hit pop song, but this version, with some updating of the lyrics, has become its own queer classic.
“Valentine” by Snail Mail
The single “Valentine” by indie rocker Snail Mail (Lindsey Jordan) is one of the best alt-rock queer jams of the year. Her latest album has a vibrant production with grungy vibes that make it one of the best indie-rock records of the year. The publication Them even referred to Snail Mail’s latest album as “a Soundtrack for Growing Up Queer.”
We are looking forward to seeing what 2022 will offer in terms of LGBTQ+ representation in music and in the media in general. It is encouraging to see more and more queer artists discuss their experiences through art, music, and stories, and we are looking forward to seeing what the next year brings with LGBTQ+ artists.