Music streaming guide: 5 things to listen to for Pride – USA TODAY
Thereâs never been a more important year to celebrate PrideÂ than this one.Â With the tragedy in OrlandoÂ still fresh, festivities happening across the country this month are more than just a celebration of the LBGT community — for manyÂ they’re a lifeline.
Pride’s parade floats and dance parties may be soundtracked byÂ glittering pop anthems, but that’s far from the only way LGBT perspectives are articulated in music;Â think bare-bones folk, jazzy neo-soul and vintage R&B. For ourÂ alternate PrideÂ listening guide, we look to music both old and newÂ from groundbreaking young artists.
By no means are these suggestions comprehensive â but let these be a starting point to explore more queer voices in music.
Troye Sivan, Wild feat. Alessia Cara
Bubbling just under the surface of pop stardom, theÂ 21-year-old SivanÂ landed a breakthrough hit withÂ YouthÂ last year.Â After getting his start on YouTube, theÂ South African singer-songwriter reached new levels of visibility in 2013 after releasing a video coming out to his online fanbase, who he urged to take action last weekÂ in the wake ofÂ Orlando. “Use this as a wake-up call to keep going and to keep being loud and proud and to keep trying to encourage tolerance, and love and acceptance in the world,” he told People.
His latest single features another breakthrough voice âÂ aÂ collaborationÂ with Alessia Cara on a reimaginedÂ version of his songÂ Wild.
Tegan and Sara, Love You To Death
The Quin twins are are two of the best minds in pop music, period. The sistersâ 2016 album Love You To Death is a triumph, pairing their ambitious synth-pop with thoughtfully subversive narratives about love, queer and straight.
Itâs a crime that the duo isnât ruling the Top 40 charts with their stadium-ready hooks, always off-kilter enough to stay interesting. Unlike theÂ sexually-confused subject of their new single Boyfriend, we donât want them to stay our little secret â theyâre two personalities pop music needs front and center.
The Internet, Ego Death
An R&B duo with an un-Google-able name, the Internetâs origin story sometimes seem more well known than their music:Â the project of Syd tha Kid, an out lesbian previously associated withÂ the controversial rap collective Odd Future, whose frontman Tyler, The Creator drew ire for his use of homophobic slurs.
A half-decade later, the collective has disbanded. AndÂ theÂ Internetâs groovy modern soul,Â heard most recently on their excellent March release Ego Death,Â more than deserves to stand on its own.
While itâs easy to point to Sydâs status âÂ a queer, WOC music producer, who works behind the boards as well as in front of the micÂ âÂ as groundbreaking, thatâs not what she wants. Â âI was like, (expletive), that was not supposed to be about that,â she told TIME in 2015. âI want people to love me for my music.â
Julien Baker, Sprained Ankle
Queer, Christian, Southern; Julien Baker dares you to call her a contradiction. The Tennessee singer/guitarist makes spare,Â emotional folk music, telling stories about her struggles with religion and acceptance on her debut album Sprained Ankle, released last October.
Pride may beÂ a time of celebration, but as Bakerâs rib-aching narratives remind us, stories of triumph arenât always easy to hear.
Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
Okay, so we still donât know where Frankâs breathlessly-awaited new album is. But the singer emerged from the shadows this week to release a deeply personal statementÂ about the Orlando tragedy, condemning the attack in the vivid, moving language that drew fans so avidly to his music.
While you wait (and wait, and wait) for his new music, now a year overdue after he teased a July 2015 release date last summer, revisit his breakout album, which still holds up as a modern classic of R&B storytelling.
Want to keep listening? Explore four more of our favorite young songwriters challengingÂ boundaries in gender and sexuality:
Christine and the Queens