In Earshot: Essentials by queer artists

Grace Pearson-Thompson, Arcade Editor

On the lookout for queer musicians to add to your playlists? In celebration of National Coming Out Day observed on Oct. 11, here’s a quick list of bangers from LGBTQ+ artists you may have yet to discover. If you’ve been really into “Silk Chiffon” by MUNA featuring Phoebe Bridgers or had a phase where you exclusively listened to “Honey” by Kehlani, you’ll love these recommendations. 

“Know Your Name” — Mary Lambert

Mary Lambert was initially put on the map due to her feature on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love,” writing her verses based on her experiences growing up as a lesbian in a Christian household. “Know Your Name” was released on Lambert’s 2017 EP “Bold” — funnily enough, I actually discovered the song from a Coca-Cola commercial

It’s the same kind of pop I-want-to-get-to-know-you jam that we’re familiar with, but coming from the perspective of a woman who loves other women. 

Pop, especially the kind of Top 40 I was familiar with in my more formative years, can err on the heteronormative side — Lambert’s music is refreshing in that sense. If you’re looking for something a little less upbeat, Lambert has an incredibly powerful cover of “Jessie’s Girl.” 

“Back in My Arms” — Carlie Hanson

Carlie Hanson was put on the map after releasing her song “Only One” in 2018, which got placed on a playlist created by Taylor Swift. “Back in My Arms” was released on Hanson’s EP “Junk” in 2019. The track starts with gritty guitar and raw vocals before intensifying with the addition of bass and percussion. 

Similar to “Know Your Name” by Mary Lambert, Hanson has gifted us a pop rock track about love and infatuation in the context of a gay relationship. The chorus is reminiscent of the melancholic, longing feel of some of Post Malone’s work, complete with love-struck lyrics like “this the kind of love they say is wrong, this what I’ve been waiting for so long.” 

“Stay” — The Aces

The Aces are a four-piece outfit blending pop, indie and rock to create a genuinely no-skip discography. Members of The Aces are vocal — particularly on TikTok — about their sexualities and how they address queer relationships in their music. 

On their first album, “When My Heart Felt Volcanic,” the band avoided using gendered pronouns in fear of bigotry within the music industry. “Stay” was a part of that first record, and it has the same longing feeling channeled by “Back in My Arms” by Carlie Hanson, just with a faster pace and more synthesizers. It’s impossible to not jump around to this song, and countless others by The Aces — I’m a big fan of “Just Like That,” too.  

On their 2020 album, “Under My Influence,” the band made the decision to use gendered pronouns to reflect the queer identities of the members. “Daydream,” the first track off of the record, is my favorite. 

“Want Me” — Baby Queen 

Baby Queen, based in London, found a great deal of success amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, signing a record deal over Zoom in 2020 and beginning a slew of single releases from that point forward. “Want Me” opens with nostalgic percussion and synthesizers before moving into relatable, rhyming-stream-of-consciousness lyrics, making the pace almost addictive. The chorus is perfect for a dance party, complete with buzzing keys and a french monologue.

“Want Me” is actually Baby Queen’s ode to Jodie Comer in “Killing Eve” — although she’s murderous, she’s also undeniably hot. If you’re longing for the feeling of an unrequited crush that almost makes you feel stupid, this one is for you.

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