In need of some freshened up playlists, filled with songs by your favorite queer artists? Billboard Pride is here to help with First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
Years & Years, Night Call
Lovesicknesss is nowhere to be found on Night Call, the third studio album from Years & Years, and the first since Olly Alexander rebranded the group as a solo project. What’s given instead is a pulsating, dance-heavy, lust-filled collection of songs, dead-set on the danger and thrills of looking for love in the modern era. From sugar-sweet pop gems like lead single “Starstruck,” to the campy, sexed-up vibes of the album’s title track, Night Call beckons you like the mermaid featured on its cover — and the reward for listening is certainly worth risking a shipwreck over.
Aurora, The Gods We Can Touch
While using the pantheon of Greek mythology to make an overarching point may have been done before, Norwegian pop sensation Aurora’s new album The Gods We Can Touch offers up perhaps one of the best uses of the Olympic gods in some time. Throughout this celestial album, the singer flits between personalities, taking on different deific personas to talk about different problems she notices around her, like conversion therapy (“Cure for Me”), anxiety (“Exhale Inhale”) and even beauty standards (“Giving In to the Love”). The Gods We Can Touch is the exact kind of ambitious, moving project that continues to make Aurora stand out as one of the most fascinating people currently making music.
Joy Oladokun, “Keeping the Light On”
Sometimes, finding a pick-me-up can be a tough thing to do — but Joy Oladokun is here to help you out. “Keeping the Light On,” the latest from the fast-rising singer-songwriter, sees Oladokun acknowledging the struggle of continuing to try when the world simply refuses to reward you. But, at the end of the day, she knows that the choice between trying and not isn’t really much of a choice, as she sings, “Won’t deny that it feels so hard/ When the night gets so dark/ Keep keeping the light on.”
Awfultune, “Sad Love Song”
The meta narrative pervading rising bedroom-pop artist Awfultune’s new single “Sad Love Song” is one that practically everyone can identify with — heartbroken and hurt following a breakup, she vows to hurt her lover back with an exposing single about his behavior. But look closer at the singer’s single, and you’ll hear the pained commentary of a songwriter clinging to their past to try and numb the pain of the future, telling her former lover to leave her alone before quickly changing her tune and singing, “I’ll keep you close just in case/ I need inspiration or some validation.”
Tove Styrke, “Show Me Love”
If you’re looking for a simple, sensual love song to brighten your mood this weekend, then Tove Styrke has you covered. “Show Me Love,” the latest from the Swedish singer, sees Styrke embracing an almost retro-meets-modern sound, complete with steady guitars and glistening layered vocals, as she asks her lover to stop waiting and get down to business. “I gotta make-up for the nights I wasted/ Dancing in the dark,” she sings on the sensual choorus. “Need something more than my imagination/ Even if it breaks my heart.”