It’s officially May, so it’s time to update your playlists!
The 10th (!) edition of Queer Necessities, a monthly LGBTQ-driven playlist from Billboard Pride where we catch you up on the latest and greatest bops by queer musicians and fierce allies, has arrived! Each month’s selections are curated by NYC-based DJ and tastemaker Jon ALi, founder of pop music entertainment destination Jon ALi’s Blog.
Enjoy this new serving of pop gems, and don’t forget to follow the Spotify playlist to keep up-to-date on each month’s offering.
Ariana Grande, “No Tears Left To Cry”
Ariana makes her triumphant return with this dreamy number that plays magnificently like the sonic evolution of My Everything‘s “One Last Time” and Dangerous Woman standout “Touch It.” And while it’s not a direct response to the tragic bombing at her Manchester concert, some of the lyrics (“We’re way too fly to partake in all this hate”) allude to the incident in a powerful way. It’s a love letter wrapped in sonic excellence.
Janelle Monáe, “Screwed” (feat. Zoë Kravitz)
One of many standouts from Dirty Computer, “Screwed” sees Monáe addressing her frustrations with today’s world events in the most bright and sarcastic of ways with this liberating pop anthem. The chorus alone says it all: “Let’s get screwed/ I don’t care/ You fucked the world up now, we’ll fuck it all back down/ Let’s get, let’s get screwed!”
Zee Machine, “Brainchemistry”
The San Francisco-based singer-songwriter pays tribute to all those who came before us and reminds us to keep pushing for what’s rightfully ours with this empowering anthem loaded with tenacious lyrics, powerhouse delivery and funk-infused belting.
Opting for a less immediately pop-centered approach, the Katy Perry-signee has returned with a sensual and shadowy shiver for the dance floor called “Believer.”
Leland, “Mattress (High as a Kite Version)”
Out singer-songwriter Leland, who has penned tracks for our favorite stars (Selena Gomez, Troye Sivan, Daya), has given his latest single “Mattress” a special “High as a Kite” remix treatment — giving us one more reason to not sleep on this one.
Maggie Lindemann, “Obsessed”
Who doesn’t love a little self-indulgent moment? L.A.-based pop singer Lindemann’s latest single “Obsessed” is easily one of her best yet — a total Song of Summer ’18 contender.
Sj & Zookëper, “Void” (feat. Emmalyn)
Former GRL member Emmalyn Estrada has been low-key delivering some solid solo tunage for a minute, and this unexpected delight from producers Sj and Zookëper is further evidence that the rising pop princess stays serving us nothing less than top quality.
Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa, “One Kiss”
Calvin’s has dived right back into his celebrated UK sound with a glorious throwback to the House sirens and R&B divas of the ’90’s, loaded with full-bodied vocals and infectious melodies. Fellow London export Dua Lipa is the track’s true delight and driving force as she seductively belts the chorus.
Azealia Banks, “Anna Wintour”
Say what you want to say about her, but “Anna Wintour” is an absolute triumphant that sees Banks bringing back that winning, ’90’s House-leaning sound of the 1991 EP. Azealia serves up one of her best dance floor diva impressions yet while blurring the line between hip-hop and club bop.
Sofi Tukker, “Batshit”
The New York-based duo released their stellar debut album last month, infusing a range of genres from the mainstream to those with an international flair. “Batshit” lives up to its title and is a celebration of the duo’s creativity.
Kandy, “Feelin’ KNT”
Things are about to get gay — like, rill gay — with NYC-based Kandy’s latest “Feelin’ KNT,” an endlessly quotable, struttable nod to ballroom culture, calling out femmes, legends and queens alike.
Todrick Hall, “Dem Beats (feat. RuPaul)”
Squirrel friends Todrick Hall and RuPaul serve Supermodel of the World realness with these throbbing, early ‘90s club beats – and the results are fierce, hunty. The spoken word chorus alone (“They don’t make dem beats like they used to/ They don’t make dem beats..”) – LIFE GIVING!
Goldilox, formally known as My Name Is Kay, continues to impress with the almighty “Decision,” an undeniably fierce blend of catchy, pulsating modern pop and unabashedly fluid lyricism.
LIZ, “Super Duper Nova”
After supplying with ’90s throwback greatness at the top of the year with “Could U Love Me,” LA-based talent LIZ returns with another winner. This buoyant, frenetic synth-pop bop sees her tapping into a bit of auto-tune, space-age magic a la Charli XCX.
Jared Gelman, “Pop That”
This buoyant slice of synth-pop that pays homage to Y2K-era glory days of pop.
Ava Max, “My Way”
Ava Max makes an impressive debut with this song, which she calls her “pep talk to remind me that I don’t have to listen all these outside voices. I have to be really strong and clear about who I am and what I want.”
Blair St. Clair, “Now or Never”
We do declare! The RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 sweetheart’s debut single “Now Or Never” is a convincing dance-pop gem that comes packaged with a deep and empowering message.
Openside, “No Going Back”
Openside provide a soothing, lush slice of dream pop with their latest “No Going Back.”
Shea Diamond, “Keisha Complexion”
Rising R&B songstress Shea Diamond exudes confidence on her Justin Tranter co-crafted single “Keisha Complexion,” a strut-ready declaration of self-love and pride in dark skin. GET FAMILIAR!
Russell Elliot, “River Stones”
Brooklyn-based Russell Elliot’s natural ability to emote is what makes him a cut above most of today’s top singers, and with “River Stones,” a cut off of his latest EP Split Ends, he continues to prove why he simply cannot be slept on.
Chester Lockhart, “In Loving Memory”
This track starts as if it’s headed into scary movie theme territory — but then, it swerves. It becomes chilly, trap-influenced electro-pop, as Chester questions his lover’s intentions, serving a little bit of theatrics in the process.
Benji Harless, “Girl on Bowery”
NYC’s Harless offered a double debut with “Low Life in High Heels” and “Girl on Bowery” straight out the gate. The magic of Benji is undeniable on the later with its minimalist approach and sincere delivery.
Check out past Queer Necessities playlists below:
April 2018: Years & Years, MNEK, Keiynan Lonsdale & More
March 2018: Kim Petras, Janelle Monáe, Kehlani & More
February 2018: Troye Sivan, Lady Gaga, Hayley Kiyoko & More
January 2018: Greyson Chance, Charli XCX, Rayvon Owen & More
December 2017: Parson James, Lauren Jauregui, Brian Justin Crum & More
November 2017: Hayley Kiyoko, Fischerspooner, Kim Petras & more
October 2017: Tove Lo, MUNA, Sam Smith and more
September 2017: Neon Trees, Bonnie McKee, Kelela and more
August 2017: Adam Lambert, Beth Ditto, MNEK and more
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.