How is it already the end of the year? We don’t know, but we also aren’t mad at it. Why? Because it’s that time once again.
To properly close out a fantastic year in music, we’re proud to present the fifth edition of Queer Necessities, our monthly LGBTQ-driven playlist from Billboard Pride where we catch you up on the latest and greatest bops by queer musicians and fierce allies. Each month’s selections will be curated by NYC-based DJ and tastemaker Jon ALi, who is the founder of pop music entertainment destination Jon ALi’s Blog. Don’t forget to follow Queer Necessities on Spotify to keep up-to-date on the best musical offerings from the LGBTQ community.
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Parson James, “Only You”
After keeping us grooving over the summer with his fantastic Betty Who and Hook N Sling collaboration “If You’re Hearing This,” Parson James? returns all on his own again. “Only You” is a vulnerable cut that sees him laying down his soul-drenched vocals across a much more organic and instrumental, bluesy piano-driven production. A stunner from start to finish.
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Steve Aoki & Lauren Jauregui, “All Night”
Lauren Jauregui’s third feature as a solo singer has a more experimental dance-pop vibe than your typical Fifth Harmony bop, as her full-bodied vocals smoothly build across the pulsations in the verses before reaching euphoric heights in the thumping chorus. It’s a welcome musical direction for Lauren, as she continues to sort out her solo sound with various collaborators.
Grace Mitchell, “RIIICH”
Grace Mitchell’s latest is a thrilling slice of hard-hitting electro-pop that sees her taking shots at society’s obsession with the high-gloss life and millennials’ sense of entitlement. It might very well be the strongest addition yet to her rapidly growing body of work.
David Guetta, Afrojack, Charli XCX & French Montana, “Dirty Sexy Money”
Despite all the other names listed alongside her on “Dirty Sexy Money,” this is unquestionably a Charli XCX track. With so many cooks in the kitchen, this could have easily been a mess, but it actually works. The song goes hard and doesn’t rely on a post-chorus drop. The chorus is the drop — just the way it should be.
Sigrid continues to impress on her latest single “Strangers.” The icy electro-pop power ballad builds slowly, similar to its admitted inspiration, Robyn‘s “Dancing On My Own.” A sad disco anthem in its purest form.
Allie X & Vérité, “Casanova”
Allie X invites Vérité to join in on the fun on her COLLXTION II album standout “Casanova,” and the results are even better than we expected.
Tove Lo, “shedontknowbutsheknows”
“Shedontknowbutsheknows” isn’t just one of the most immediate offerings from Tove Lo‘s latest BLUE LIPS, it’s also one of the more intriguing stories from the LP. “She don’t know what you did when you come back home/ She don’t know what you’re doin’ out all night long/ She don’t know all the photos you’ve (got) in your phone..,” Tove declares across the throbbing Weeknd-like production — an icy underground club anthem for those of you getting lost in some deep fu*k boy habits.
Little Mix, “Is Your Love Enough”
Little Mix‘s re-released edition of Glory Days comes packed with three brand new songs, including “Is Your Love Enough,” an island-tinged bop.
RAYE and Mr Eazi, “Decline”
If this club-ready track feels familiar, it’s because the hook is a smart rework of Ja Rule and Ashanti‘s classic “Always On Time.” It’s not a carbon copy though; U.K. starlet RAYE puts her own post-breakup twist on the classic lines. Fresh and nostalgic and undeniably great, just the way I like it.
Jessie J, “Queen”
Jessie J’s official R.O.S.E. lead single “Queen” is a powerful affirmation of one’s self worth, strength, beauty, and regality. It’s meaningful, simple, and without a doubt appealing — primarily by way of its resonating lyrics.
Los Angeles singer-songwriter VINCINT gets it right straight out the gate with this soul-baring emotional punch of a debut.
Aly & AJ, “Promises”
“Promises” is yet another shining highlight from Aly and AJ’s Ten Years EP: Those incredible chants throughout the song (“Whooo-ooohh-ooh”) and that joy ride of a chorus with its late-night, getaway synth pulses. Pure gold, and the lyrics are pure relatable genius, too.
Brian Justin Crum, “Wild Side”
America’s Got Talent finalist Brian Justin Crum is back, and he’s showing off his “Wild Side” with his new Frankmusik-penned and produced single.
L.A.-based indie-pop darling BAUM perfectly captures the anger and sadness felt from a cheating ex on this alt-pop banger.
Ria Mae & Tegan Quin, “Broken”
Canadian out starlet Ria Mae gets the ultimate stamp of approval by teaming up with Tegan Quin of Tegan & Sara on “Broken,” an unquestionable standout from her debut My Love EP. She’s one to keep your eyes on for sure.
Trey Pearson, “The Good Grief”
Trey Pearson reaches soaring heights on his debut Love Is Love highlight “The Good Grief,” which is about both the joy and pain of coming out.
Kelsea Ballerini, “Miss Me More”
Kelsea Ballerini edges closer to pop princess territory on “Miss Me More,” crafted alongside David Hodges and hitmaker LELAND (Selena Gomez, Troye Sivan). The song centers around a past relationship with a certain someone who wasn’t making Kelsea feel so good, until the break-up that is — yes, it’s a self-empowerment anthem packed with sassy and sultry vocals from Kelsea. It’s a good look (and sound) on her.
Brooklyn-based songwriter-producer Belanger makes his triumphant return with this seductive slice of late-night electro-pop, providing the perfect new addition to your ever-growing love makin’ soundtrack.
Loreen, “Jupiter Drive”
Scandinavian Queen Lorren’s new album Ride is truly a trip, and “Jupiter Drive” is a cosmic, shapeshifting production from start to finish that hits harder than anything the Swedish songstress has done before — and yet, this is undeniably the stuff of Loreen.
Check out past Queer Necessities playlists below:
Jon ALi is a NYC-based DJ and founder of pop music entertainment destination Jon ALi’s Blog, which celebrates its 11-year anniversary this year. He spends his weekends spinning tunes at gay spots in Manhattan.