Consequently, a lot of the best music that came out this year was pretty intense. In taking stock of this year’s gayest songs, we listened to and enjoyed a lot of music full of questioning and aggression. Intentional or not, it seemed like a lot of that music reflected the prevailing mood regardless of whether it was joyous or angst ridden.
Also… this year’s list is a bit of a sausage party. We were almost completely dickmatized–musically speaking. After all, determining a song’s gayest-ness is not science.
What is it based on? In unilaterally deciding the gayest songs of the year, we consider the following: allusions to or celebration of being gay; allusions or celebration of having sex with a person of the same sex; reverberations of otherness or queerness that feel liberating or subversive; punk-rock effeminacy; the way a song made us take our shirts/pants off in public on Pride Day; the way a song made us practice our seductive Prince face whilst staring in the mirror before hitting the club/logging on to Grindr/demo-ing a bag of All Dressed chips.
Mainly, this list comprises songs we want to hear at the gay bar tonight. DJs, please take note(s).
14. Disclosure feat. Mary J. Blige, “F For You”
If I were being super cynical, I would define a gay anthem as a song that failed to become a commercial success. Case in point: one of the greatest R&B singers OF ALL TIME finally jumps on an unadulterated house track and it barely impacts the Billboard charts? Like, aren’t there 15 different dance charts? I nonetheless remain hopeful that God is a black woman, but this oversight makes me wonder if he is just an old white man with dubious taste in music. Either way, we can still pray to Mary.
13. The Soft Pink Truth, “Beholding The Throne of Might”
The Soft Pink Truth’s Drew Daniel said he was inspired to redo a bunch of Satanic black metal songs as super gay house tracks after noticing that both Darkthrone’s “Beholding The Throne of Might” and Adonis’ house jam “No Way Back” shared an affinity for assertive whispering. To further that musical conversation, he created the queered-up black metal covers album Why Do The Heathen Rage? Naturally the one that started it all is our fave.
Play it here:
12. Mykki Blanco feat. Kathleen Hanna, “A Moment with Kathleen”
In year when famous women complained that gay men can sometimes be as misogynistic as straight men, we also got this collaboration between punk rapper Mykki Blanco and The Julie Ruin leader Kathleen Hanna. Thus, this song serves as nice and timely reminder of the conceptual magic that can happen when a gay dude and a woman hit the studio to process their shit together. In other words, it’s pertinent to the moment.
11. Owen Pallett, “I Am Not Afraid”
Owen Pallett’s biological clock is ticking like this. “I Am Not Afraid” is kind of like the pop music explainer‘s mission statement: it touches on gender identity and duality, faces off with mortality and finds salvation in discipline (just like “Runaway”!). If this is 35, it’s scarily beautiful.
10. Arca, “Thievery”
Producer Arca (a.k.a. Alejandro Ghersi) was somewhat of a mystery until he came out of the closet with a sexy n’ mesh-y photo spread in The Fader. He also released one of the year’s best albums, Xen. If there is a theme to the music on this year’s list, it is male artists exploring and embracing their feminine sides, but what sets Arca apart is his ability to communicate that idea not with lyrics, but through contrasting elements in music. The CGI booty dancing video for lead single “Thievery” just brought it all home.
9. Sophie, “Hard”
Before Sophie was known as one of the producers responsible for the pop masterpiece that is “Bitch, I’m Madonna,” the London-based musician was making a name for himself as a mysterious bubblegum pop waveform sound sculpturist inspired by moisturizer, energy drinks, boy bands, San Francisco’s underground drag queen scene, molecular cooking and — in the case of “Hard” — getting a boner from yanking ponytails.
8. Spank Rock, “Gully”
Warning: you might feel the need to take a shower and rinse out your ass while listening to Spank Rock’s comeback single. Or… you might just feel like dancing. Both are equally cathartic and enjoyable.
7. Slink, “Pink Christmas”
Ssion’s Cody Critcheloe and Hunx and His Punx’s Seth Bogart are two of our favorite (and gayest) pop star pin-up boys and apparently it was only a matter of time before they formed a band. The debut single from Slink is a shameless stab at writing an #UnapologeticallyGay Christmas song that’s up there with “Deck The Halls.” #MissionAccomplished.
6. Shamir, “I’ll Never Be Able To Love”
Is there anything more heartbreaking than listening to an effeminate-sounding teenager sing about being alone for the rest of his life? Actually, hearing any teenager sing about being alone forever is heartbreaking but even more so when said teenager sings like Sylvester and the ballad is about overcoming self-shame. Apply lots and lots of mascara before listening to this one.
5. Annie, “Russian Kiss”
The Norwegian pop star released this protest anthem in solidarity with LGBT Russians enduring their country’s bullshit anti-propaganda laws just as the media fixated on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. By placing lots of groaning sex noises over dance music, “Russian Kiss” calls to arms and nods to pant-y house. Not only are Annie’s politics are on point but her production instincts are dead-on as usual.
4. Le1f, “Boom”
The New York MC’s single “Boom” is a lyrical tour de force that dabbles in witchcraft, piles into a big gay Jeep, plays Super Mario Kart and throws shade at rapper Macklemore, whom he previously called out on Twitter for ripping off gay culture (and his song “Wut”). This song proves making better music is the best revenge. Le1f finally announced a label deal (with Terrible Records/XL) so here’s hoping a full-length is coming soon.
3. RuPaul, “Sissy That Walk”
One of many pop songs in 2014 to forgo a chorus in favor of the bridge-and-breakdown combo, “Sissy That Walk” is also noteworthy as the first Big Fat Gay Club Single to come along in a while that did not make us want to move to Oklahoma, marry a woman and father 19 fundamentalist Christian children. As a Big Fat Gay Blog, we get sent a fair share of Big Fat Gay Club Singles and as far as we can tell many fail to find that sweet spot between simple, evocative and hilarious with lyrics like, “My pussy is on fire/now kiss the flame.”
2. Hercules and Love Affair, “Do You Feel The Same?”
One of the DJs playing the big outdoor disco party at World Pride in Toronto dropped Hercules and Love Affair’s intensely catchy “Do You Feel The Same?” in the middle of a set of classic disco bangers and it sounded right at home. So it hardly came as a surprise when respected house label Defected signed the song to give it a proper push at the foam-party set in Ibiza. Now every time I listen to the “Purple Disco Machine Remix” I fill my house with foam and sing-a-long all the way to the emergency room.
1. Perfume Genius, “Queen”
As Lana Del Rey would say, Perfume Genius’ gay panic anthem “Queen” is “filled with poison but blessed with beauty and rage.” It’s often said that gay guys love female rock stars so much because there really are not many (out) gays channeling their anger issues into high-profile mainstream music careers. Not content to merely worship at the altars of Courtney, PJ or Lana, Mike Hadreas wrote a song that turns fear into power and lives up to his heroes. While so many gays obsess over acting straight, “Queen” proudly sashays. To quote the press release for his Too Bright album, “here she comes!”
BONUS: The !! omg blog !! Gayest Songs of 2014 playlist is available on Spotify here.