After a week full of news, it’s time to kick back, relax and jam out to some new music from your favorite queer artists. Billboard Pride is here to help with First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
From Years & Years’ cover of a queer classic to Maggie Lindemann’s long-awaited EP, check out just a few of our favorite releases from this week below.
Years & Years, “It’s a Sin”
As a part of the upcoming TV series of the same name (starring frontman Olly Alexander), British synth-pop trio Years & Years are giving voice to a queer classic. With their new cover of The Pet Shop Boys’ 1987 single “It’s a Sin,” Years & Years bring the critique at the song’s center to the forefront — the group’s typical futuristic sound is gone, as is the original’s exuberant beat, replaced with a stark piano and Alexander’s pained vocals, as he repeats Neil Tennant’s ruminations on growing up gay in a Catholic school. “It’s a sin/ Everything I’ve ever done/ Everything I ever do,” he sings, his voice haunting the words themselves, “Every place I’ve ever been/ Everywhere I’m going to/ It’s a sin.”
Maggie Lindemann, Paranoia
If there’s one emotion just about everyone around the world can relate to right now, it’s angst. So leave it to pop singer Maggie Lindemann to deliver an EP dripping with emo-tinged, Hot Topic–dressed tracks that ooze the anguish and rage we’ve all been subjected to. Paranoia sounds like the pop-punk bangers that Lindemann and her peers grew up with — standout track “Crash and Burn” sounds as though it was an unreleased B-side off of Paramore’s Riot! that Lindemann stumbled upon and reworked into a modern pop track — while also offering up a flavor of its own. “Love Songs” sees Lindemann strip down to a simple acoustic guitar paired with her silky soft vocals, proving yet again that she is as versatile as can be in the current pop scene.
Deb Never, “Someone Else”
Had a stressful week? Deb Never wants to help you come down. On her brand-new single “Someone Else,” Never creates a romantic scenario only to continually subvert it. One moment, she’s reminding her significant other that their eyes sparkle “like all the stars,” before immediately letting them know that she doesn’t “want you to fall in love.” Don’t worry: She later clarifies that the person she doesn’t want you to fall in love with is the titular “someone else.” Add to that the gloomy-yet-impossibly romantic music video, and you get a beautiful, melancholy-meets-lovesick track that will have you vibing through the weekend.
Lauren Jauregui & Pabllo Vittar, “Lento (Brabo Remix)”
When tasked with doing a remix of her stunning Latin single “Lento,” Lauren Jauregui knew immediately who to reach out to. The star is sharing her latest collaboration with Brazilian drag phenom Pabllo Vittar, and now they’re sharing it with the world. The Brabo remix of “Lento” offers a version that’s smoother, slicker and frankly sexier than its predecessor, this time with Vittar wailing out her own original verse. “In and exhale one time/ Align your breath with mine,” the pair croon on the swaggering remix. “Under an open sky, we fly.”
Jordy, “I Just Wanna Be Loved”
Pop up-and-comer Jordy is a simple man with a simple desire … and that desire is just to be loved. His appropriately titled new single illustrates that fact beautifully, over distorted pianos and a trembling bass intended to catch you immediately off-guard. The real star of the new single are Jordy’s vocals, as the singer employs his crystalline pipes to riff, run and slay their way to the front of your mind. “Why’d I always go ahead and choose/ The ones who got commitment issues,” he earnestly asks.
Nomi Ruiz & Sam Sparro, “Like a Ghost”
Singer and actress Nomi Ruiz knows what it’s like to be haunted by your past — so she teamed up with queer songwriter extraordinaire Sam Sparro to express that feeling. “Like a Ghost,” the new collaboration from Ruiz’s new film Haymaker, sees the transgender songstress yearning over a grooving ’90s R&B beat for her lost love, with Sparro’s ethereal vocals bringing the song up to yet another level of R&B prestige. “‘Like a Ghost’ is about being haunted by a past love even after making a full effort to evolve and move on,” Ruiz says of the track. “Some ghosts never really die.”
Kisos, “He Didn’t Want Me”
Coming to terms with the loss of love can be tough for everyone, and pop artist Kisos is just looking for a way to cope. In his gorgeous new music video for “He Didn’t Want Me,” Kisos lets us watch as he performs a candle-lit ritual — covering himself in rose petals, shaving his head, donning a crown of flowers — as he learns to accept the things he cannot change. The moving visual (directed by Kisos and filmed by cinematographer Adam Ouellette) adds yet another beautiful layer to the star’s already heart-rending song. If you’re looking for some healing this weekend, look no further.
For 22-year-old singer-songwriter Layla Eden — otherwise known as Awfultune — young love sucks until it doesn’t. So in her new song “Lovesick,” the transgender up-and-comer is ditching the “love is boring” routine and leaning hard into the clichés, accepting that some things are just cliché because they’re true. “Coming out as transgender, growing up to be happy and becoming exactly who I want to be was so healing for me in so many ways and really reflects in my music,” Eden explains, “’Lovesick’ represents the new wave of music from me that hopefully uplifts and inspires people! I’m tired of hearing/making sad songs. We all could dance some more.”