Halloween is just hours away, and we only have four days until the 2020 presidential election — so there’s never been a better time to update your playlists with some much-needed queer tunes. Billboard Pride is here to help with First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
From Sam Smith’s long-awaited third album to Tegan and Sara’s moving new holiday song, check out some of our favorite new releases this week.
Sam Smith, Love Goes
Ready to hear a heartbreak? Sam Smith’s new album Love Goes offers a little something for old fans and new — for those looking for a classic Smith-esque power ballad, songs like “Forgive Myself” and “Love Goes” will scratch your itch.
For those more inclined toward a dance-pop breakup anthem, songs like “Dance (‘Til You Love Someone Else)” or “Another One” will get you dancing and crying at the same time. It’s their most eclectic album to date, making Sam Smith’s Love Goes a necessary listen in these chaotic times.
Tegan and Sara, “Make You Mine This Season”
Even though Halloween isn’t over just yet, Tegan and Sara are ready to help you ring in the Christmas season with a brand new song. “Make You Mine This Season,” the pair’s new track off of the upcoming soundtrack for Hulu’s upcoming queer holiday movie Happiest Season, sees Tegan and Sara offering up a queer love song just in time for the holidays, letting their lover know that they are the only thing on their wishlist this year. Once you’re ready to get in the Christmas spirit, be sure to pop this track on.
If you’re looking for a pick me up this week, look no further than Reyna’s peppy new single “7’11.” The song, named after the date guitarist/singer Vic Banuelos met her girlfriend, sees the sister duo deciding to throw caution to the wind and take a chance on their relationship.
“I love this song so much, we co wrote it with one of my all time favorite bands Coast Modern and I am just so happy those dudes exist and that we made something together,” Vic said in a statement of the track. “7/11 was the day I met my girlfriend, I wrote this song thinking about how we were both hesitant to give into the relationship because it started long distance. Everything was new and exciting but scary at the same time. I was all in and I wanted it to work so this was my ‘everything will work itself out’ anthem.”
Serena Ryder, “Waterfall (feat. Melissa Etheridge)”
Sometimes, you just need to cry. That’s a fact that singer-songwriter Serena Ryder explores with queer icon Melissa Etheridge on her brand new song “Waterfall.” With a driving beat and a sturdy baseline, the pair encourage their listeners to stop holding back the waterworks, and to simply “Let it fall, like a waterfall.”
“I have so many feelings that I have swallowed, and they add up, coming out one way or another – often by bypassing the truth, getting angry, defensive, even masking with partying or bad relationships,” Ryder said of her song in a statement. “I’ve found that tears are actually the best way to heal, because we actually release healing hormones when we cry. I’d love to normalize crying, and this is a song about the many times tears have healed me.”
Jordy, “Lip Locked”
Rising queer pop artist Jordy is ready for cuffing season to start with his shimmering new vide. In the clip for his latest song “Lip Locked,” Jordy encourages his lover not just to kiss him, but to open himself up and get past the getting to know you pleasantries.
With bright colors and some expertly color-blocked outfits, Jordy makes his love known in this stunning new video. “We wanted the visual to reflect my personality — essentially showing what I have to offer, and what I’m looking for in return,” Jordy tells Billboard of the new video. “Vibrance, excitement, and confidence!”
On her latest single, Fijian rapper Jesswar wanted to make sure she was representing for her people. Thus, “Venom” was born — a stunning single and video that sees the rising star laying down sick bars while backed up by a literal army of Pasifika women, as she spits “Come and get it/ Still waiting for the credit/ Got venom in these lyrics/ Bodies drop when I spit it.”
“It’s extremely important that my community is seen and seeing all the sissy’s come through felt like I had an army behind me,” Jesswar said of her new song and video in a statement.”‘Venom’ is the perfect introduction into the world I’ve been dreaming up. I felt I had been muzzled in the Australian music industry, and that definitely inspired the lyrics. I felt I’d been stifled so much that this chant erupted into what is now the track.”
Mickey Taylor, “Jokes (feat. Lostchild)
With his new video for “Jokes,” Mickey Taylor and Lostchild are trying to let their significant other down gently. Performing in a black and white void, with dancer Callum Sterling providing some awe-inspiring interpretive moves throughout the clip, Taylor and Lostchild bid farewell to their lover as they break the bad news to them that “I was only making jokes when I told you/ That I loved you.”
John Roberts, “Freaks”
Wanna see what happens when Linda Belcher from Bob’s Burgers writes a queer anthem? Look no further — John Roberts (the voice behind the iconic Linda) released his new video for “Freaks” today, a stunning dance-pop single produced by Junior Sanchez that sees the singer embracing everything that makes him weird and wonderful. “It’s a song about letting your freak flag fly — an empowerment song for freaks and those who have been cast aside,” Roberts said of the new track in a statement. “Vote for your freakness!”
Loris & Honey Davenport, “Freaky Planet”
It’s not really Halloween if you don’t get a couple drag queens involved — lucky for us, Dragula’s Loris and Drag Race‘s Honey Davenport are here to be your HallowQueens. On “Freaky Planet,” the pair’s new single, Loris and Davenport are getting spooky just in time for the holiday, while using actual societal problems as the scary content of their song.
“Loris and I really sought out to create a piece where we spoke about what’s actually terrifying about the world we live in,” Davenport tells Bilboard of the new song. “This song is an anthem for people enduring the unending struggle of racism and social oppression on this Freaky Planet we all inhabit.”
Rising singer-songwriter Kennedi wants to let you into her world. On her brand new EP Self, the singer explores the inner depths of her mind, taking on her own personal demons like drinking (“Liquor Love”), self-improvement (“Better”) and much more, utilizing her trap-pop sound as often as she can.
“The Self EP is exactly what it sounds like — myself and all of the raw emotions that come with me,” Kennedi said of her new EP in a statement. “It’s a snapshot into how I felt in the moments during the time I was writing these songs. It tells the story of my journey over the past year — my relationships and life experiences. Honest and raw. That is Self.”
Riotron, “Dark Highway”
As Canadian retrowave artist Riotron puts it in his new song, making bad choices is like driving down a “Dark Highway” — you’re not stopping, but pretty soon you’re going to crash. The ’80s-inspired single sees Riotron trying to regain control of his choices as he sings “I’m looking for help, I’m looking for answers/ I’m driving through hell, spiraling out of control.”
“’Dark Highway’ is a metaphor for all bad decisions we make,” Jeff Fettes, the artist behind Riotron, said in a statement. “You’re going too fast, you’re out of control but you don’t stop. And then suddenly you can’t stop. For the video I wanted to pay tribute to some of my favorite 80’s videos. There’s horror, sci-fi, and even some hand drawn animation.”