As we near the end of the spooky season, why not spice up your October playlists with new music 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.
Elton John, The Lockdown Sessions
After becoming one of the world’s most iconic pop stars, Sir Elton John could have easily rested on his laurels. Instead, the 74-year-old icon decided too go about one of his more ambitious projects to date with a new album of collaborations, The Lockdown Sessions. Filled to the brim with his various partnerships over the last year, Lockdown features John dipping his toe in a little bit of everything, from pure pop nostalgia (“Cold Heart” with Dua Lipa & PNAU) to soul (“Finish Line” with Stevie Wonder) to hip-hop (“Always Love You” with Young Thug & Nicki Minaj ) to Americana (“Simple Things” with Brandi Carlile).
Pvris, “My Way”
“Turn the days into nights/ Hit the switch in my mind/ I burn through phases of life/ No reset, no rewind.” There’s a confidence to frontwoman Lynn Gunn’s voice as she croons the lyrics to Pvris’s new single, “My Way.” Scintillating with the alt-rock energy that flowed through previous tracks like “Monster” and “No Mercy” but with a dash of added swagger, “My Way” finds Gunn taking her rightful place as the leader of her band, while a blown-out bass and some razor-sharp synths help her send the message home.
Ashnikko, “Halloweenie IV: Innards”
Ready to get scared? Ashnikko certainly is, as she continues in her own tradition of dropping a Halloween song the week before the holiday officially arrives. On the fourth iteration of her “Halloweenie” series (this year with the subtitle “Innards”), Ashnikko takes the melody of Edvard Grieg’s masterpiece “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” chops it, twists it up, and adds in some of her own lyrics to fit the spooky season. Rapping and singing about organs, human skin suits, ghosts, ghouls and spiders laying eggs in your brain, Ashnikko goes out of her way to paint a gory picture that will have you boogieing all through this spooky season.
Cavetown, “Teenage Dirtbag (feat. Chloe Moriondo)”
It’s been over 20 years since Wheatus released their hit debut single “Teenage Dirtbag” — but it’s still finding new audiences everywhere. That’s thanks in part to Cavetown, who teamed up with fellow alt-pop artist Chloe Moriondo to deliver a stripped-down, chilled-out cover of the track this week. Subbing in some drowsy synths in place of the original’s slamming guitars, this new version of “Teenage Dirtbag” portrays a softer, more mellow version of the single, as Cavetown and Moriondo beg you to come listen to some Iron Maiden with them.
Joy Oladokun, “I Can’t Make You Love Me (feat. Jason Isbell)”
What happens when a fast-rising singer-songwriter and a country superstar come together to cover a blues icon’s classic single? Magic, that’s what happens. For her new Spotify Sessions, Joy Oladkun tapped none other than Jason Isbell to assist her on her cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The result is a groovy, modernized version of the track that sees Oladokun flexing her vocal prowess while Isbell shreds on the guitar, doing perfect justice to Raitt’s stunning single while still making it entirely their own.
“I only have eyes for you.” With six words, rising indie-pop singer Alekxandr draws you into his vision of romance and heartbreak. Backed up by a set of strings, some heart-pounding drums and a simple piano melody, Alekxandr lets his vocals shine through on “Sunflower” as he waxes poetic on the waning days of a relationship, wondering where things went wrong, and what he would do fix his mistakes. “I’m sending you all my love/ And my hand’s full of sunflowers,” he moans on the chilling chorus.