Mandatory Performative Pride Month Post 2024 Edition: Great Albums from Queer Musicians

I’ve limited this to albums I’ve discovered during the last year.

First, while I’m making fun of performative pride month posts from various companies and I am a boringly straight cis man, I am not joking about the albums below. One of them is my most played album of the past year. Others are among my most listened to artists from the same period. These are great albums and there is no way I would ever try to water that down by trying to box these in into a category. This is just simply some of the best music out there.

Second, while I don’t want to be performative, it is not my place to say whether I am. I try to be an ally, but it is not up to me to say I am, nor should I try to be nice and inclusive to various groups just to get some kind of an allyship badge. People are people and I don’t deserve some kind of a commendation just for accepting that. That being said, since minority groups are by definition in the minority, propping them up just a little bit is good, even if my reach is so small it doesn’t have any real impact in the larger picture, but who cares. I do this for fun anyhow.

Still, let’s have some fun with great music…

Cindy Lee – Diamond Jubilee

Not sure about the pronouns I should be using here, but Cindy Lee is a drag act lead by the former Women frontperson Patrick Fiegel. It’s not available on music streaming services (as of this writing), but it is available on YouTube (as you can see above) with links if you wish to pay for it.

They play hypnagogic pop. So, what’s that? It’s music that’s supposed to invoke memories. It tries to mimic aesthetics from the past, including the tech we used to play music, whether that’s cassettes or Napster. On this album, they definitely do that.

(One might ask whether drag counts as LGBTQ+ and to that I would say yes. It’s definitely gender non-conforming. At the same time, there definitely are drag queens, who don’t feel this way and LGBTQ+ folk, who don’t like this, but I’m going for inclusivity here, even if it really isn’t my place to say.)

Lil Peep / iLoveMakonnen – DIAMONDS

Posthumous albums suck. After Lil Peep’s death, there were couple of attempts to release his music that felt like quick moneygrabs, but soon the estate realized that they were actually holding something valuable and tarnishing the legacy might not be a good idea, so they took a more responsible approach. This being figuring out how to release materials that might not have been exactly ready for release, but not that far from it either. In many cases – as I understand this – it was just a question of clearing samples. This feels like an actual album.

Anyhow, this is a nice record. Two friends having fun and embracing their sexual identities without fear. Much of Lil Peep’s earlier music was a very nihilistic view of the world, but here there’s positivity. It does sometimes feel like Makonnen takes a bit too much of the limelight and Peep’s role is almost that of a backup singer, but maybe he wanted it that way or they just didn’t have enough material to do it another way.

Ragana – Desolation Flower

The band has been described as a “queer antifascist black metal/doom duo”

Do you need anything more than that? I think one of them is also a person of color, one of them is a woman and the other is non-binary.

Metal isn’t really my thing, but every once in a while you find something great. To me the important part is that I don’t like the theatricality of so much of modern metal, so when it feels like there’s something real, it hits me in a very different way. So, here’s an album about not losing your hope in the face existential threats. A message which probably resonates with their reference groups. I’ve actually really gotten into their whole discography and there are great songs there as well, but the consensus seems to be that this is their best album. Not that I am much for consensus regarding art…

yeule – softscars

This is an album with six singles and they didn’t even get to the best tracks. I don’t want to come off as patronizing, but I did find it kind of adorable when they explained that they needed to ask “Richard” (meaning Richard D. James also known, among other names, as Aphex Twin) for permission to use Aphex Twin as part of a song title (nicely titled Aphex Twin Flame).

The album is about how you carry trauma even if the immediate effects might have left you. Something that’s very relatable.

100 gecs – 10.000 gecs

I’ve heard that hyperpop is in general very popular among queerfolk. Of course, having a transfemme in the band helps with being approachable for anyone queer. This band is like the hyper version of hyperpop. They had to cancel a tour because they were so exhausted from the previous one. They don’t hold back. They also disparage themselves so badly that they don’t really leave room for anyone else. That’s a defense I guess.

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