Once again, it’s that time of year when we bestow upon a group of unsuspecting (well, not really) musicians the esteemed distinction of having released one of the year’s gayest songs. How do we determine the ineffable qualities that make a song sufficiently “gay”? Basically we ask ourselves a series of highly-scientific and narcissistic questions:
1. Do we like, like this song?
2. Are we gay?
3. Do we fantasize about having gay sex with the person who sings this song/one of her male back-up dancers?
4. Does this song make us consider putting on a shitty wig, an ill-fitting dress and a pair of Jante heels to perform it in front of a live audience?
5. Didn’t we totally look hot when we were listening to it?
6. Is it secretly about Jesus?
If we answered yes to at least five of these six questions, we seriously considered including it on the list. So without further ado, hereto are 10 songs that made us think gay thoughts in 2011.
Read the full list after the jump!
10. Blood Orange, “Sutphin Boulevard”
It was a tough year for dissing anyone on the Internet thanks to the anti-bullying movement. On the pop charts, songs about surmounting the obstacles put up by This Thing Called Life were ubiquitous, but one of the more delightful and unexpected albums inspired by the artist’s formative years as the target of homophobic taunting was Blood Orange’s Coastal Grooves. Dev Hynes’ falsetto and sexy, shuffling bass on songs like “Sutphin Boulevard” were our late summer soundtrack.
9. Hercules and Love Affair, “My House”
Hercules and Love Affair struck gold when they recruited little-known singer Shaun J. Wright, who delivered a stellar performance on the group’s pop-house single “My House.” A quick Discogs search reveals a gazilion or so dance records with the title “My House” but as far as we’re concerned the Hercules crew totally owns it now.
8. Austra, “Young and Gay”
“Young and Gay” is a beautifully dark dance floor anthem for that special time in a young gay’s life when they discover an amazing club or party where they can act like a total f*cking mess without anyone throwing shade. As Austra leader Katie Stelmanis explained in her epic After Ellen interview, it was specifically inspired by Toronto’s queer rock jam Vazaleen and unsegregated gay culture. Shout out to all the lesbros.
7. SSION, “PSY-CHIC”
There are so many songs on SSION’s album BENT that we could’ve chosen for this list but we’re going to be obvious and choose the catchiest one because we listened to the most all summer long according to the triple-digit count on our iTunes ‘most played’ list: “PSY-CHIC.” (And because it quotes a line from Hole’s “Violet.”) Upon summer’s end, “Nothing Happens at Nite” promptly became our autumnal jam. Also super in love with “Listen to the Grrrls” and “My Love Grows in the Dark.”
6. Jessica 6 feat. Antony Hegarty, “Prisoner of Love”
OK, so in case you haven’t already figured it out, this list is basically Mega Dance Party 2011. Holding down the disco beat is New York three-piece Jessica 6, who re-teamed singer Nomi Ruiz with torch crooner Antony Hegarty (last heard together on Hercules and Love Affair’s “You Belong”) for the breathy “Prisoner of Love.” They’re like Brooklyn’s answer to Elton John and Kiki Dee.
5. Lady Gaga, “Fashion of His Love”
We were so tempted to make “Express Yourself” by Madonna the number one gayest song of 2011 but, you know, we’ve moved on. One thing that seemed to go relatively unnoticed when that whole “Did Lady Gaga copy Madonna?” controversy devolved into ageist bickering was the fact that there was an even gayer Whitney Houston sound-a-like crypto-conservative Christian pop anthem on the deluxe edition of Born This Way: “Fashion of His Love.” In fact, it turned out that every frickin’ song on that album was about Jesus. So gay.
4. Green Velvet feat. Russoul, “Millie Vanillie”
There are so many fake people in this world. Chicago house stalwart Green Velvet (a.k.a. Cashmere) clearly learned that lesson the hard way, hence this deep house banger that turns the name of the most notoriously fake (and gay) pop duo in history into a put-down. Plus there’s just something about its record sleeve that calls to me.
3. The Sound of Arrows, “Nova”
I have yet to meet a gossipy hipster homo that can confirm if one or both of these guys are gay but who cares. Frankly, if I found out The Sound of Arrows were 100% straight asshole soccer hooligans and the word “Nova” was also Swedish slang for female ejaculation, it would make listening to it – and their gorgeous debut album Voyage – all the more magical.
2. Nicki Minaj, “Did It On Em”
Technically this song was first released on Nicki Minaj’s 2010 album Pink Friday but it came out as a single and, I would argue, really set the club on fire in 2011. Incidentally, this was the most requested song when I DJed this year, which makes sense because it’s all about the greatest feeling of all: taking a shit – a feeling that, under the right circumstances, is better than sex. And as we all know, really enjoying your shits is about as gay as it gets.
1. Beth Ditto, “I Wrote the Book”
Who knew Beth Ditto would have the year on lock when she released her debut solo EP during the first week of January? Produced by James Ford and Jas Shaw of Simian Mobile Disco, the single “I Wrote The Book” is a timeless pop-dance production worthy of old school Whitney Houston. Subsequent footage of Ms. Ditto performing “Vogue” at a Russian gay bar would suggest she would be a powerhouse to be reckoned with should she ever decide build on this solo effort and become a pop superstar. We’re patiently waiting for that day to arrive.
BONUS: Listen to the Gayest Songs of 2011 on Spotify here.