With January 2021 officially drawing to a close, start your weekend off right with this list of brand-new tracks by 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 Arlo Parks’ unbelievable new album to Rebecca Black’s new queer-tinged single, check out just a few of our favorite releases from this week below.
Arlo Parks, Collapsed in Sunbeams
“Making rainbows out of something painful,” Arlo Parks croons, her voice quivering at the outset of “Portra 400.” It’s a good line, and one that reflects the depth of emotion running like a current through Collapsed in Sunbeams, the talked-about singer-songwriter’s impeccable debut album. Parks has always had a knack for beautiful, flowery songwriting, but on Sunbeams, her words sound as though they’ve been ripped from the private diary of a great poet, dripping in gorgeous symbolism and vivid detail, heightened only by her sonorous voice and gorgeous instrumentation. If you’ve been sleeping on Parks up until now, stop wasting time and give her new album a listen to discover one of your new favorite artists.
“My album is a series of vignettes and intimate portraits surrounding my adolescence and the people that shaped it, Parks said of her new album in a statement. “It is rooted in storytelling and nostalgia – I want it to feel both universal and hyper specific.”
Queen + Adam Lambert, “Love Kills (Live from Los Angeles 2014)”
No, “Love Kills” is not a new song. But getting to see Adam Lambert onstage with Brian May and Roger Taylor, belting out the lyrics to one of Freddie Mercury’s long-lost solo hits, is a joy in and of itself. The new clip, released just in time for Lambert’s 39th birthday, shows the sheer power behind the star’s vocals, and the staying power behind the legendary band that recruited him as their lead singer. But do be warned: Watching the newly released footage will make you yearn for the days where you could actually see Queen + Adam Lambert live in concert. In our opinion, though, it’s more than worth your time.
Rebecca Black, “Girlfriend”
Last year, internet sensation Rebecca Black decided to tell the world that she proudly identified as a queer woman. Now, the star is letting that reflect in her music with “Girlfriend.” The synth-soaked, queer-centric song sees Black reminiscing on a past relationship and feeling particularly lonely — that is, until the sparkling chorus arrives and she unequivocally declares: “I’m getting back with my girlfriend.” It’s bubbly, it’s fun, and it’s the exact kind of pick-me-up that so many of us are looking for in these unprecedented times.
We often get to hear stories in music about love and relationships, but it’s rare to find songs just about true, honest friendship. Luckily, soul singer Serpentwithfeet is here with a track celebrating the beauty of platonic friendship. On “Fellowship,” light, crisp beats are accompanied by jangling orchestrations, as Serpent uses his stunning vocals to pay tribute to all the people who’ve uplifted and supported him all his life. “I’m thankful for the love I share with my friends,” he sings on the tracks loving chorus.
Peppermint, “Every Morning”
There is something deeply powerful about watching two exceedingly talented transgender artists create a wish-it-were-true fantasy right in front of your eyes. In the video for her song “Every Morning,” Drag Race alum and LGBTQ activist Peppermint creates a stunning love story between herself and rising transgender artist Laith Ashley. The vocals, the scenery, and the story all show a loving, caring relationship — which starkly contrasts the reality of living as a transgender person in America today. “This song is a fantasy against the back drop that 2020 was the deadliest year on record for trans women, and most murders are committed by our boyfriends and lovers who are ashamed of us,” Peppermint said in a statement. “‘Every Morning’ is the opposite of that. This video depicts a couple in the throws of love and romance and a partnership where the leading man adores his partner rather than being ashamed of her … which again is the norm for many.”
Pale Waves, “You Don’t Own Me”
Whoever said pop-punk is dead has simply not listened to Pale Waves’ latest single. Sounding as though it were ripped from the late-2000’s reign of bands like Paramore, All Time Low and Mayday Parade over teenagers around the world, “You Don’t Own Me,” the latest single off of Pale Waves’ forthcoming album, takes the familiar angsty tropes of pop-punk and refurbishes them with a giant middle-finger to misogynistic ideology. “A pretty face like yours should really learn to smile more,” frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie seethes at the outset of the grade-A banger. “Don’t wanna hear your thoughts/ Don’t even start to speak your mind.”
Tom Aspaul & Funk LeBlanc, “The Program (feat. Madeleine Wood)”
After breaking through the pop music noise with his 2020 album Black Country Disco, Tom Aspaul is back to make sure that you’re still dancing your way through 2020. On “The Program,” Aspaul teams up with prooducer Funk LeBlanc and singer-songwriter Madeleine Wood to deliver a sexy, disco-pop romp that will take you off of your couch and heading for the dance floor. “It feels like the perfect progression sonically – we’re definitely in a new decade – and I’m actually relieved to be singing about something other than heartbreak,” Aspaul said of the new track in a statement.