Trying to capture what a “queer song” sounds like in 2022 is a lot like trying to explain what the color yellow is — all in all, it’s not possible. That’s because, simply put, songs by queer artists released throughout 2022 run the gamut of popular music, from thundering electro-pop, to sultry R&B, to funkwave, hip-hop, Latin, indie rock, disco and much more. Gone are the days where openly-LGBTQ people — both artists and listeners — were siloed off into one stereotypical genre landscape, now replaced by an audience who are listening to a vast array of musical genres, and a bevy of artists ready to show off their skills in nearly every musical field.
The result of that evolution is not only a diverse landscape of music created by queer artists, but a new frontier of pathways toward success. Along with showing off the musical flexibility of a community trying to survive amidst less-than-ideal circumstances, 2022 also proved that massive mainstream success is not exclusive to a single queer artist at a time. Whether it’s topping the Billboard Hot 100, charting for the very first time as a solo artist, or even successfully reinventing your sound, 2022 was a year defined by queer artists pushing their limits to discover new avenues toward the promised land of “making it” in the music industry.
But which of these songs managed to stand out from the rest this year? Below, check out Billboard‘s picks for the 25 best songs released by LGBTQ artists in 2022 (and then check out our picks for the 20 best Pride albums of the year).