Monday Music: Empowering anthems by queer artists

Celebrate Pride Month with these courageous and vulnerable songs

Monday Music: your weekly themed playlist. Image courtesy of The Peak.

By: Kyla Dowling, Humour Editor

As Pride Month starts to wind down, it’s important for those of us in the LGBTQIA2S+ community to continue celebrating our resilience and courage. These songs, all by artists who identify as queer, are anthems about loving yourself and loving your community.

“Technicolour” by Montaigne 

Image courtesy of Montaigne

“Technicolour,” otherwise known as the song that should have won Eurovision, is a bona fide bop. The artist aptly describes the song as a piece that “makes you want to cry, makes you want to dance, [and] makes you want to take on a malignant corporate power.” Upbeat and energetic, the song touches on Montaigne’s frustration with the world before subverting it. No matter how fast things are moving or how hard things are, she knows that “if we stand together, we can do whatever.” With powerful production and spectacular vocal control, Montaigne acknowledges her vulnerability while still standing her ground. Though this song isn’t explicitly about queerness, its message of community and solidarity is sure to resonate with members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

“Cherry” by Rina Sawayama 

Image courtesy of Different Recordings

Rina Sawayama is unquestionably the future of pop. “Cherry,” which served as a precursor to her critically acclaimed album SAWAYAMA, speaks to her tremendous talent. “Cherry” acts not only as Sawayama’s coming out, but as a striking encapsulation of what it feels like to discover you’re queer. Against a glittery synthpop background, Sawayama sings about “holding onto feelings / I’m not used to feeling / ‘cause oh, they make me feel alive.” It’s all about the realization that you’ve been pretending to be something you’re not, and even if you’re not ready to come out to others, you don’t have to pretend to yourself anymore. Plus, the song was inspired by a brief moment of eye contact with a woman on the subway, and if that doesn’t speak to the queer experience, I don’t know what does.

“Body Was Made” by Ezra Furman

Image courtesy of Bella Union

If you’ve watched the Netflix hit Sex Education, you’ve heard Ezra Furman’s honest lyrics and unique voice. Furman, whose songs are frequently centred around queerness, worked on the soundtrack for Sex Education and even made a cameo as the singer at the school dance in season one. “Body Was Made”— a shameless, saxophone-filled serenade — was featured in the fifth episode of the first season. The lyrics are genuine and transparent, and Furman sings them with unashamed joy. She concludes the song with the gentle reminder that “your body is yours at the end of the day / and don’t let the hateful try and take it away.” It’s about accepting yourself the way you are and allowing your gender identity and your relationship with your body be unmarked by the views of a bigoted world.

“Queen” by Perfume Genius 

Image courtesy of Matador Records

“Don’t you know your queen?” is the constant refrain in this bold, riveting song by Mike Hadraes, otherwise known as Perfume Genius. That line, which opens the song before the reverberating piano chords begin, is a clever play on words. Hadraes is not only referring to himself as a “queen” — a term commonly used to refer to flamboyant gay men, but is expecting the audience to mishear the line as “don’t you know you’re queer?” In this biting song, Hadreas plays around with the perception of the LGBTQIA2S+ community while calling back to vital history. The drums, grunting, and whistling contribute to a thrilling, uneasy feeling. This sense is also evoked by the juxtaposition of blooming flowers and diseased skin in the lyrics. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re meant to be. While this song has a campy chorus, it is a stark reminder of the public perception of queerness. It asks you to relish in making others uncomfortable with your unconventionality and to be proud of yourself in a “fuck you” kind of way.