No Pride Playlist Is Complete Without These Anthemic Tracks
Though you may be celebrating this year's Pride Month from the comfort, security and relative isolation of home, that doesn't mean you can't make the most of it. If you're determined to celebrate, dance and cheer for the LGBTQ+ community this June — or any time of the year — you'll want to check out these anthemic pride tracks.
These songs will hype you up and get you pumped, but they'll also make you think. Remember, the first Pride was a riot, and at times like these, it’s important to look inward and reflect. So, don your comfiest clothes and get ready to enjoy some of the LGBTQ+ community's most celebrated musical artists.
Sylvester - "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)"
No pride playlist would be complete without Sylvester's 1978 dance hit, "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)." It's a song that’s ceaselessly inspiring, in no small part thanks to its lyrics that rejoice in the feeling of acceptance — something that many people in LGBTQ+ communities have struggled to gain from family members, friends and lawmakers. Who doesn’t want to be recognized and validated as real?
Queen - “I Want to Break Free”
Freddie Mercury at times blurred his sexuality for fans and the media, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a heroic LGBTQ+ icon and rockstar. When Queen performed "I Want to Break Free," many listeners realized immediately that Mercury was speaking about wanting to break free from needing to hide who he really was, and they identified with it.
Melissa Etheridge - "Come to My Window"
While positive LGBTQ+ representation continued to spread (slowly) during the 1990s after movements picked up steam during the 1980s, plenty of mainstream media outlets continued to paint LGBTQ+ communities in an unfair and untrue light. But when Melissa Etheridge's "Come to My Window" started topping the adult alternative charts in 1993, the world was called to take notice.
Arca - “Desafío”
"Desafío" is one of the newest LGBTQ+ anthems on this list, but it’s an important one bearing a message that transcends language and gender identity. Written and performed by Venezuelan-born artist Arca, the song title literally translates to "challenge." "Ready or not," she sings, "There is an abyss within me."
Frank Ocean - "Bad Religion"
Pouring your heart out to millions about a doomed and unrequited same-sex relationship isn't an easy task. But Frank Ocean made it look natural when he released "Bad Religion." With its ethereal pitches and church choir influences, it's an obviously sentimental and emotional piece that can break your heart and touch your soul.
Janelle Monáe - “Make Me Feel”
Janelle Monáe turned heads in 2012 with her single "Tightrope," but it wasn't until her album Dirty Computer dropped in 2018 that she came out as pansexual and became an instant icon for the LGBTQ+ community. Her embrace of queer culture has been apparent for quite some time, but when the music video for her 2018 track "Make Me Feel" was released, there was zero doubt left in the minds of audiences as to how Monáe felt about her sexuality and sexuality in general.
Madeline Davis - "Stonewall Nation"
"I don’t wanna see my brothers / Kicked into the dust no more… I don’t wanna see my sisters / Having to give in no more." Her voice crackles and warbles, but Madeline Davis’ message is clear. It’s a protest about society’s discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in 1971 when this song was released and a stirring call to action to demand better treatment.
Erasure - "A Little Respect"
Erasure's "A Little Respect" came out near the height of the U.S. AIDS Epidemic in the late 1980s. It was an obvious and unignorable plea to the healthcare community, the government and the general public for a little respect — respect that could’ve been lifesaving. To this day, it remains a heart-wrenching yet toe-tapping track that reminds us of a time when LGBTQ+ rights movements weren’t getting the attention or civility they deserved.
Hercules and Love Affair - “Blind”
"Blind" tells the story of musician Andy Butler’s transition from queer child to overstimulated, apathetic adult. In an interview with The New York Times, he discussed how "Blind" is about "growing up a gay kid...asking why I was born into this situation but knowing that as soon as I could escape, I would and that I would find freedom and solace."