It’s the end of the week, which means it’s time to queer up your playlists with some new music! Billboard Pride is here to help with First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
From Isaac Dunbar’s excellent new single to Tayla Parx’s long-awaited new album, check out some of our favorite new releases this week below.
Isaac Dunbar, “Love, or the Lack Thereof”
If you’re feeling the negative side-effects of cuffing season setting in, then pop singer-songwriter Isaac Dunbar has a song for you. On his new single “Love, or the Lack Thereof,” Dunbar details a lovelorn existence, where the star begs his dreamed-up beau to sweep him off of his feet. Dunbar’s smooth vocals, laid over an ethereal melody and driving beat, makes this anthem of longing worth more than one listen. “I’ll tell myself you’ll always want me,” Dunbar sings. “You’ll say I think too much, but I thought you were my love.”
Tayla Parx, Coping Mechanisms
In a time of uncertainty and anxiety, Tayla Parx is here to help you cope … literally. Coping Mechanisms, the singer-songwriter’s hotly anticipated new album, offers a wide range of pop-R&B antidotes to whatever is ailing you. Be it a bad breakup (get some catharsis with “System”), loneliness (try listening to “Dance Alone”), or just run-of the mill sadness (the aptly-named “Sad” will help you out there), Parx is ready to help you start healing before moving forward.
“My album COPING MECHANISMS was done before the pandemic hit,” Parx said in a statement released with the new album. “When I wrote it, the album helped me cope through a broken relationship, but through the last few months it’s found a whole new meaning and purpose. Coping is about healing and finding your way back to joy. I hope this album helps you heal and find reasons to smile during these difficult times. My hope is that you share that newly discovered joy because the world needs you right now!”
Girl in Red, “Two Queens in a King Sized Bed”
With the holidays fast approaching, Norwegian pop artist Girl in Red is here to fill you with some Christmas cheer. “Two Queens in a King Sized Bed” sees Marie Ulven (Girl in Red’s offstage name) serenading her lover with a holiday-themed love song, telling her, “There’s no mistletoe above our heads/ But I’ll kiss you anyway on Christmas day.” Set over a twinkling piano and her classic brand of DIY bedroom pop production, “Two Queens in a King Sized Bed” is the queer Christmas anthem you didn’t know you needed this holiday season.
Jordy, “Tomorrow” (feat. Oston)
Rising pop singers Jordy and Oston make for a delicious pairing on their new single “Tomorrow.” A light, breezy track detailing the struggle for presence in the present, “Tomorrow” features production that fluctuates between a soft, guitar-led melody to saturated, dominant synths that drive the chorus home. “I’m busy chasing tomorrow,” the pair sings. “I’m eating, and sleeping, and breathing, and living tomorrow.”
Zee Machine, “Better Off” (feat. Atrel)
Sometimes, the best thing you can take away from a relationship is that you’ll be happier elsewhere. That’s the feeling that pop artist Zee Machine is striking at on their latest single “Better Off,” featuring fellow dark-pop singer Atrel. Throughout the dizzying new track, Zee and Atrel exude the swagger and confidence of people who needed to change things up in their love life. The stop-motion visual only adds to the song’s superb production, creating mesmerizing visuals that will fill you with the sense of calm and assuredness that the lyrics aim to provide as well.
“My life has had an unsettling habit of imitating my art. It’s happened several times,” Zee Machine tells Billboard of the track. “This song about a bittersweet but amicable separation of two people growing apart but knowing it’s for the best ended up mirroring the relationship I was in and eventually ended in a similar way … even when the music makes me wanna dance, I always end up wanting to cry.”
Kings Elliot, “I’m Getting Tired of Me”
When pop singer Kings Elliot attempted to shoot a performance for her new single “I’m Getting Tired of Me,” the singer immediately ran into a problem — at the outset, she began to have a panic attack. But instead of turning the camera off, the singer decided to leave it rolling, and transformed it into her new music video. The footage only underscores the deeper message of her moving song, where the singer copes with the feeling of simply getting stuck. “The leaves will go brown when they’re done being green,” she sings. “They’ll fall to the ground when they’re tired of the tree/ But there’s nowhere to go when I’m getting tired of me.”
Tafari Anthony, The Way You See Me
Despite the EP’s title, The Way You See Me shows Toronto-based pop artist Tafari Anthony taking control of his own narrative and shrugging off any stereotypical notions of what a queer Black man “should” or “should not” sound like. With a smooth, pop-meets-soul sound spread throughout the new EP, Anthony makes sure his sound represents the queer Black man that he is, not the one the world asks him to be.
“I feel as though this whole process has been about challenging the way people see me. Breaking the stereotype of it was really about not getting stuck in my precious work and being free to explore the various facets of me,” Anthony said in a statement about the new EP. “It was about being open and honest about my stories, and quite frankly owning my queerness in my way, and again not catering to what kind of queer people wanted me to be.”
Davis Mallory, “Faith” (feat. Madeline Finn)
In need of some good, old-fashioned uplifting vibes? Pop singer Davis Mallory and American Idol alum Madeline Finn have you covered with their new single “Faith.” Set to a serene, uptempo beat, the track follows the pair as they offer an inspirational message of hope to their listeners, telling them that even when things get dark, there’s still good reason to have faith. “When it seems like you’re so far from amazing grace, don’t let it shake your faith,” they sing.
Autumn Nicholas, Shades of Beige
North Carolina based artist Autumn Nicholas is here to tackle the issues that are important to her head-on. In Shades of Beige, the singer’s new EP, Nicholas uses her stellar pop/R&B sound to address issues like labels (“Light”), social inequality (“Side By Side”) and much more, all while showing off her incredible vocals and her natural acumen for songwriting.
G Flip, “I’d Rather Go To Bed”
Ever feel like you’re over living in the present, and would rather live in a dream? Australian artist G Flip certainly knows the feeling, as she explores in her new single “I’d Rather Go To Bed.” The serene, nearly-8-bit production blends perfectly with the singer’s glum lyrics, where she aims to escape the depressing reality of life and enter, instead, a world of her own dreams. “It’s about feeling so miserable that you’d rather not get up and face the day and just sleep and live in your dreams. I think a lot of people can relate to that in one way or another given how challenging this year has been,” G explained of the song in a statement. “I think despite the fact the song is written about depression, it carries an almost promising tone of anticipation in the peace we all feel when we sleep and specifically dream.”