It’s that time once again. To fully prepare you for the fall season, we’re proud to present the third edition of Queer Necessities, a new 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.
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. Have a most #blessed October!
1. Tove Lo, “Disco Tits”
Tove’s gone weirder, wilder and more sexual on this go-around off her upcoming album Blue Lips. “I’m sweatin’ from head to toe/ I’m wet through all my clothes/ I’m fully charged, nipples are hard/ Ready to go,” she declares across the euphoric production. “Disco Tits” is a mixed bag of Swede-pop perfection, which is part of what makes it so intriguing — and certainly the reason why the song has been taking over my speakers ever since it debuted.
2. Bree Runway, “What Do I Tell My Friends?”
It’s time to start paying attention to London-based Bree Runaway. Her instantly addictive single “What Do I Tell My Friends?” is a monster of a song that she says is “every girl’s guide to walking away from a fuckboy” — truly an anthem of a generation.
3. Leo Kalyan, “Temptation”
British multi-hyphenate Leo Kalyan has returned with a sultry new offering called “Temptation,” an inviting slice of house-pop and probably the sexiest thing that he’s ever done. As a sonic experience, it’s as innovative as everything that’s come before it, Leo’s just picked up the pace a bit.
4. Maty Noyes, “Say It To My Face”
Miss Maty Noyes’ latest single “Say It To My Face,” produced by young Swedish newcomer Klahr, is as catchy as anything Maty’s ever written — pure Top 40 go-o-old. It may just might be her most impressive release to date. Opting for a less immediately disco-centered approach than it’s predecessor (“London’), the rising singer has returned with a sensual and shadowy shiver for the dance floor that comes loaded with one hell of a hook.
5. Rae Morris, “DO IT”
After returning earlier in the year with the triumphant “Reborn,” Rae Morris is back again with yet another winner: “Do It,” an ethereal gem loaded with giddy, euphoric electro-pop melodies and an instantly addictive chorus that’ll have you bouncing around for days.
6. Nick Jonas, “Find You”
Bae Nick J is back on the music side of things, and all on his own again with the satisfying Jack & Coke-produced “Find You,” the second official single from his upcoming solo studio album due out later this year. It’s super sultry, guitar-laced mid-tempo moment with a subtle dance feel, which, if anything, feels like a natural sonic progression from “Remember I Told You.” A solid step in the right direction for the maturing heartthrob.
7. Demi Lovato, “Daddy Issues”
An insatiable kiss-on from the depths of gay heaven, “Daddy Issues” — one of the many highlights on Demi’s just released Tell Me You Love Me — finds her diving deep into pop diva mode as she quite literally walks us through her “Daddy Issues” atop propulsive synth pulses and infectious dance beats. “Lucky for you/ I got all these daddy issues/ What can I do?/ I’m going crazy when I’m with you/ Forget all the therapy that I’ve been through/ Lucky for you, I got all these daddy issues,” she declares. Like, excuse me? SAME GIRL.
8. Leland & Allie X, “Matters (Valley Remix)”
Out singer-songwriter, whose penned a bunch of tracks for our favorite pop stars (Selena Gomez, Troye Sivan, Daya), has given his latest single “Mattress” the Valley Girl Remix treatment — and by that he mean’s he’s invited Allie X to join the party, as the “Paper Love” pop princess RSVPs to assist on the second verse — plus a sultry new breakdown towards the end. Together, they sound like a true pop dream team.
9. Era Istrefi, “No I Love Yous” (feat. French Montana)
This infectious, R&B-leaning midtempo sounds like a Tinashe, Pia Mia or Bebe Rexha bop crossed with what Rihanna would have served a couple eras ago (a compliment, not shade), led by an end-of-summer synth pulse and a serious stomper of a chorus.
10. Sakima, “DFT”
After making waves with “Ur Bdy” and his impressively provocative four-track EP Facsimile earlier this year, up-and-coming London-based Sakima’s already back at it with another enticing slice of seductively smooth dance-pop perfectly suited for some late-night lovin’.
11. FLETCHER, “You Should Talk”
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been over a year since FLETCHER first stole our hearts away with her impressive (and independently released) debut EP, Finding Fletcher. Newly relocated from NYC to Los Angeles, the singer kicked off a new era with her brand new single: “You Should Talk,” co-crafted alongside KNita + Delacey, is a continuation of the empowering Sara Bareilles-meets-Sia electronica sound of Finding Fletcher. With its kicky synth and drum pulse, “You Should Talk” is a bit crunchier around the edges than FLETCHER’s previous offerings. The core of the song, though, is purely the stuff of lush pop heaven, especially once that immediate chorus hits. It’s fresh. It’s breaking up. It’s crying on the dancefloor. It’s the sound of an artist who’s about to seriously blow up.
12. Galantis, “Written In The Scars” (feat. Wrabel)
Swedish electronic production duo Galantis’s full-length sophomore album The Aviary features a nice batch of superb collaborations, but it’s their team up with out singer-songwriter Wrabel that truly stands out amongst the rest with its euphoric danceability and the emotive crooner’s gorgeous topline.
13. Paloma Faith, “Crybaby”
“Crybaby,” the Starsmith-produced lead single off of Paloma Faith’s upcoming LP, The Architect, is a refreshing and welcome change of pace for Paloma. The singer offers up some emotional support across a cool and confident disco strut, bright piano and space-age synthesizers.
14. Jeffery Austin, “Bulletproof”
The Voice finalist Jeffery Austin may have stood out on season 9 for his powerhouse balladry, but his new single, “Bulletproof,” is unexpectedly vivacious and nostalgic all at once. The synth-heavy production, co-written/produced by Sayers Club music director Nick Rosen (Bruno Mars, Macy Gray, Feist), manages to stay true to Austin’s signature themes of heartbreak and loss — but its uplifting vibe throughout plays to the best of the ’80s with a modern flare a la Bleachers or Carly Rae Jepsen.
15. MUNA, “In My Way”
As a massive thank you treat to their fans, the fierce queer trio MUNA have released “In My Way,” a shimmering ’80s-flavored dream-pop production that complements to their strengths and sparkles with charming positivity.
As the title suggests, Miley’s Younger Now collaboration with her “fairy godmother” Dolly Parton is an uplifting, and yes, truly magical serenade. Miley and Dolly flip the focus on us and offer up some sweet inspiration: “We are rainbows, me and you/ Every color, every hue/ Let’s shine through/ Together we can start livin’ in a rainbowland,” they chant across the country-driven soundscape. Miley’s always been outspoken when it comes to advocating for what she believes in, and in “Rainbowland,” the message without a doubt shines through — this time, in the music.
17. Sam Smith, “Too Good At Goodbyes”
Sam Smith’s natural ability to emote is what makes him a cut above most of today’s singers, and with “Too Good At Goodbyes,” the lead single off of his upcoming sophomore album, he continues to prove why he simply cannot be touched. It’s an incredibly personal yet relatable tune, complete with a genuine depth and sincerity that solidifies everything that came before it.
18. Gussy, “In Order to Love”
Australian singer Gussy’s latest output takes us on dreamy and purposefully undefined space, all while putting his deep vocals and lyricism at the forefront. As the track builds, the production slowly evolves from a simple, striding march into a stunning explosion of lush electronica and breaking beats. It’s staggeringly beautiful. “‘In Order To Love’ is about feeling like you’re watching the world without subtitles,” Gussy said of the track. “Everyone around you seems to know something that you don’t and you’re afraid you’ll make a mistake, you want someone to better explain it all. The song is a series of questions that may never be answered, but screaming them from the rooftops can do a world of good.”
19. Oscar and the Wolf, “Runaway”
We meet again! After supplying with majestic greatness back in August with “Breathing,” Belgian singer-songwriter Oscar and the Wolf is back with another winner from his debut self-titled EP: “Runaway,” a similarly buoyant slice of synth-pop crafted in between Ibiza, NYC and Berlin late-night club beats. “But don’t you ever run away/ Don’t you wanna stay here?/ So my love can be your remedy/ I want you, I want you…” Max seductively coos along the chorus. It’s a luscious throbber filled with major earworm melodies that serves as the perfect closer to our October collection.
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.