Get ready for summer by refreshing your playlists with new songs from 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.
From Bebe Rexha‘s long-awaited new album to Chloe Moriondo’s bloodthirsty new LP, check out just a few of our favorite releases from this week below:
Bebe Rexha, Better Myself
It’s been a long three years since Bebe Rexha treated fans to her 2018 album Expectations. Now, she’s officially back with Better Myself, a genre-switching, pop-coded self-portrait, where the singer-songwriter holds a mirror up to herself to examine its flaws. Whether she’s angrily singing about her own self-sabotage (“Break My Heart Myself”), softly examining depression (“Empty”), or giving fake friends a middle finger (“My Dear Love”), Rexha is at her most personal throughout the stunning new project.
“This is it! It’s everything I’ve always wanted an album to be,” Rexha said of the album in a statement. “I’m not holding anything back about my life and who I am. I felt like all of this time and work allowed me to say everything I needed to. I hope you all love it as much as I do. It really is Bebe f–king Rexha.”
Chloe Moriondo, Blood Bunny
“Don’t know if I hate you or if I wanna date you,” pop upcomer Chloe Moriondo wails on the chorus of “Bodybag,” one of her latest songs. “Put you in a body bag instead of my bed.” It’s a simple-yet-effective message, once again continuing the rising star’s theme of singing songs simultaneously about love and murder, which permeates throughout her brand new album, Blood Bunny. The cheerful-yet-creepy tracklist is filled with memorable alt-pop earworms that you won’t be able to stop listening to, or even thinking about, for the rest of the weekend.
Rostam, “From the Back of a Cab”
Rostam just wants to spend some quality time with you. His latest single, “From the Back of a Cab,” plays like a tender love letter set over a syncopated, entrancing rhythm, as the singer-songwriter spells out exactly why he’s so enthralled with the simple concept of time together. “And in the back of a cab we sit closer, and I rest my head down on your shoulder,” he tenderly sings. “From the back of the cab to the airport, I am happy you and I got this hour.”
“‘From the Back of a Cab’ is probably my favorite song that I’ve written,” Rostam said of the track in a statement. “It started with the 12/8 drums — something you find in Persian music and African music. I built the song around those drums over time, writing the piano part in my living room, the melodies and lyrics on foot walking in New York and Tokyo, on California’s highways, and on the flights and car trips between all those places.”
The Rosé, “The Devil in the Details”
After her finale-qualifying run on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Rosé is ready to re-introduce herself to fans as their new pop music obession. On “The Devil in the Details,” Rosé takes an ’80s synth-pop approach to analyzing her “inner saboteur,” as RuPaul calls it. With effortless vocal runs over some pitch-perfect production, Rosé proves that she’s far from done with her time in the spotlight.
“‘The Devil in the Details’ was inspired by my turning point on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I had been performing well week after week, and was so committed to delivering a pristine and polished product to Ru and the judges — but in the process, began to lose a unique, vital and vulnerable piece of myself. About halfway through the season, I managed to loosen up and visibly enjoy myself much more, and during one episode in particular, I finally allowed my true colors to shine through. During the deliberation that both celebrated my imperfections and changed my course on the show, RuPaul proudly remarked, ‘The devil’s in the details!’ I thought, ‘I’m gonna write a song about this.'”
Dodie, Build a Problem
It may be hard for some to believe that Build a Problem is Dodie’s debut album — she’s been making music since 2016, after all. Her experience, however, only serves to bolster the work; Build a Problem tracks like a personal reading straight out of the British singer-songwriter’s diary, examining loss, hopelessness, forgiveness and everything in between. All throughout, while she may occasionally tinker with it, Dodie keeps her signature, delicate sound intact, letting you know every step of the way that this is authentically her, take it or leave it.
“I think I was going through a crisis actually,” she says now. “I was very unsure of who I was and I was trying to figure it out in music. So I think it’s quite unstable of an album — but it’s definitely honest … what I really hope for is understanding. I would love people, whoever they are to listen to this album and be like, ‘I get it. I relate to this.'”
Jake Wesley Rogers, “Middle of Love”
With his new single, Jake Wesley Rogers wanted to reintroduce himself to the world — and he has done so successfully. “Middle of Love” plays like a long-lost Elton John deep cut that deserved to be a single, with Rogers pounding on a piano as he recounts a story of heartbreak, new love and the complications that stem from both. “In the middle of love/ It’s breaking us up in two/ There’s not much I can do,” he croons on the song’s infectious chorus.
“[‘Middle of Love’] symbolizes the central idea of all my new music: Love has the capability to hurt or heal,” he tells Billboard of the new single. “When I sat down to write this song with Justin Tranter and Eren Cannata, I was wounded in my own relationship, I was witness to my grandpa dying because his wife died, and I was learning about all my LGBTQ+ heroes who were mostly killed or exiled. ‘Middle of Love’ feels like my first steps into my own reclamation of love.”