15 songs, 1 hr, 13 min reading time.
Here is a mix of tracks from some incredible queer and non-binary people doing some excellent bits for the music industry and queer representation in general. Hope you enjoy and discover some of your future favourite songs!
There will be two instalments of this playlist as there are just TOO MANY great tracks by queer women and Non-Binary (NB) people. The first is a bit more up-beat and the second is more of an emo sad boi playlist.
I think a disclaimer here is necessary: due to the nature of queer identities being able to be undisclosed at the discretion of the people themselves, some of these people may have not publicly come out. Believe me, I have searched ‘is [name] gay’ more times in the past hour than I did in my entire sexuality-discovering adolescence. For some people, I couldn’t find a public statement of how they identify, so have used my lesbian powers of deduction built up through the years of navigating the gay dating world to ‘assume’ they probably fit the bill of this playlist. I do apologise if this is taken as problematic – rather than to place bets on who is and isn’t queer, my purpose is to celebrate excellent music. Hope this is ok – let’s get started!
1) “Girl” – The Internet
This is the first song I remember hearing on the radio with a girl singing romantically about another girl, so it scores a well deserved opening position on this playlist. It is one of the smoothest and (at the expense of my embarrassment for saying this word) sexiest songs I know. The song is by The Internet, a band containing (amongst others) the artists Syd and Steve Lacy (two incredible artists in their own right, both of whom are queer) and is produced by KAYTRANADA, an excellent artist who is also gay. Truly can’t fault the track and features a nice switch-up at the end for those who give the full song their attention.
Album: “Ego Death” (2015)
Label: Odd Future
Pure. Pop. Excellence. I must admit it took a couple of listens for me to become obsessed, but I now remain obsessed 4 months after its release. Can fully recommend listening with headphones whilst walking with purpose between tube lines. Needless to say, queer artist Chris (of Christine & The Queens) has produced two of my favourite albums, which are well worth listening to again and again and again.
Single: “Gone” (2019)
Label: Asylum Records
3) “Pussy is God” – King Princess
It was hard choosing my favourite of King Princess’ tracks, but went with this as it was the song that seemed to break her into the UK’s music scene earlier this year. She is an artist that is unashamedly herself, identifying as a lesbian and genderqueer (inspiring her stage name), using she/her pronouns. Her openness with her gender expression through the way she looks, the things she says and the music she produces (note: the title of this song) is very refreshing and a product of the society she lives in becoming so much more accepting and embracing.
Single: “Pussy Is God” (2018)
Label: Zelig Music
I found this song whilst researching Clairo’s best song for this playlist and it is now one of my current favourites. Just really chill and a lovely production by SG Lewis. Clairo came out as bisexual in May 2018. Some of her other tracks to listen to include: “Bags” and “I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again” (with Mura Masa).
EP: “Dawn” (2019)
Label: Jasmine Music
5) “Wait a Minute!” – WILLOW
This song is a banger. I won’t lie, after “Whip My Hair”, I knew Willow Smith was destined for great pop heights (side note: I have just listened back to that song and can confirm: still. slaps.) Willow came out as bisexual earlier this year and both her and her brother wear excellent gender-binary-defying outfits. Can recommend listening to this tune at full volume, shout-singing in the car.
Album: “ARDIPITHECUS” (2015)
Label: Roc Nation Records
6) “Neck Contour” – GIRLI
I found this track whilst researching for this playlist and thought it was pretty lighthearted and fun – enjoy!
EP: “Hot Mess – EP” (2017)
Label: Jasmine Music
7) “Nice One” – Monki
Aptly named song for a really chill dance track. Monki is a DJ and producer who I’ve been following on socials for a little while now and am excited for when I finally find someone to join me to one of her sets. Dance music is my favourite genre and so it is a little sad the lack of representation I could find when researching queer women/non-binary dance DJs/producers. Nevertheless, nice one from Monki!
Single: “Nice One / Jarred” (2018)
Label: iVAV RECORDINGS
8) “disco tits” – Tove Lo
I was today years old when I found out Tove Lo is bisexual. Had a look at her popular tracks on Spotify and found this which I LOVE (minus the pre-chorus; not a fan of the weird descending synth). A bit more dance/house than her usual tracks which is a very welcome amendment in my eyes (no backhanded compliment intended).
Album: “BLUE LIPS (lady wood phase II)” (2017)
Label: Universal Music
9) “1991” – Azealia Banks
This song is excellent and there’s no doubt that Azealia is an outstanding artist. She is bisexual herself, and there has been controversy over her use of homophobic slurs in the past, when calling out misogyny within the LGBT+ community itself. It was hard to choose my favourite of Azealia’s songs, but this one in particular shows off her incredible prowess as a rapper and skill in producing tracks in general. Would also recommend listening to “Esta Noche” and, of course, “212”.
EP: “1991 – EP” (2012)
Label: Azealia Banks
10) “Rapture” – Koffee
I LOVE this song; it is one of my favourites of the year so far. Koffee is a really exciting new artist with a whole handful of excellent songs and no doubt many more to come. She is from Jamaica, a country which unfortunately experiences widespread homophobia and transphobia. It is important to mention the tireless and dangerous work that organisations, such as the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), undertake in Jamaica and the similar organisations that operate in other societies across the world that hold similar views. Koffee hasn’t publicly come out and so I debated over whether to include this song on the playlist. I concluded that, whether she is straight or not, she is still an exciting young woman artist whose music deserves to be shouted about, and so it stayed on.
EP: “Rapture EP” (2019)
Label: Promised Land Recordings
11) “101 FM” – Little Simz
Little Simz is without a doubt one of my favourite artists. Her latest album, GREY Area is absolute gold and another track from it will make its way onto the 2nd playlist. This song is really fun, beautifully produced and crazy-skilfully rapped. The same as for Koffee goes for Little Simz – she hasn’t publicly come out, but I look up to and identify strongly with her gender expression, and tbh her music is just too good to leave off any playlist.. ever.
Album: “GREY Area” (2019)
Label: AGE 101 MUSIC
12) “Clean” – The Japanese House
The Japanese House is one of my favourite artists and it was tricky to pick my favourite track. Once you get over this one sounding a bit like a phone alarm lol, I think it’s a really, really beautiful track and is a sunset drive must-play. Her first 3 EPs and her most recent song, Something Has To Change are also great. She also used to be in a relationship with another artist who will be on the 2nd playlist, Marika Hackman, and named one of the songs on her recent album after her.
EP: “Clean” (2015)
Label: Dirty Hit
13) “Like You Like That” – L Devine
I loveeeee L Devine. She makes really fun pop songs “inspired by her experiences navigating through adolescence” and is completely unashamedly gay. Another of her tracks will be on the 2nd playlist because, to be honest, I’m obsessed, and check out her podcast ‘L Devine’s Growing Pains’ for extra content. This song’s definitely another one to break the speakers in the car with.
EP: “Growing Pains” (2017)
Label: Warner Records
14) “Nirvana” – Sam Smith
This is my favourite of Sam’s tracks. It’s so passionate and just make sure you’re not around me when it’s on because I cannot not sing along.. very badly. Sam recently came out as non-binary, which means they don’t identify their gender as being male or female and they use they/them pronouns. It is important for you to check yourself and ensure that you are not thinking of Sam as a man who uses they/them pronouns, but as a non-binary person, and that you understand spaces such as this playlist exist for them as much as they do for queer women. Nevertheless, Sam is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter, who makes great pop music and dance music collaborations.
Album: “In The Lonely Hour (Drowning Shadows Edition)” (2015)
Label: Capitol Records
15) “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” – Whitney Houston
Wheeew.. a gay anthem! This weekend (at time of writing) comes with the publication of Robyn Crawford’s memoir, which describes how her and Whitney had a romantic relationship. On the face of it, this is lovely to hear about, but it comes with the bitter reminder that in the 80s their relationship had to be hidden and squashed for fear of it “being used against them”. I thought this uplifting track would be a great way to round up the playlist. Thanks for reading and listening!
Album: “Whitney” (1987)
Label: Arista Records