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Soundtrack for escape

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The current political climate impacts us all — especially women, people of color, and persons in the LGBTQ+ community. For many, music provides the diversity that the cis-heteropatriarchal Hollywood won’t. And for queer people and their allies, it’s a great escape. The following albums by rising icons are leading current culture into a new era of awareness:

Album: “Expectations”

Artist: Hayley Kiyoko

Song that Captures the Album’s Aesthetic: “What I Need” (feat. Kehlani)

Why Listen: You know her from the Disney Channel Original “Lemonade Mouth.” (So everyone who spends their meaningless existence obsessing over y2k culture is SCREAMING right now) In the six years since the film’s initial release, Kiyoko’s been busy turning herself into an open and unabashed queer icon – dubbed by millions as ‘Lesbian Jesus’. And rightfully so. Her 2015 EP “This Side of Paradise’s”, “Girls Like Girls” instantly iconicized her, practically overnight. Since then, she’s released three albums – none of which as meaningful as “Expectations.” It’s retro. It’s now. It’s twenty years from now. It’s sex-positive without glorified over-complications. It’s all inclusive. It’s the narrative for queer people everywhere. “Expectations” may be a lot of things, but it’s sure not to disappoint.

Album: “Bloom”

Artist: Troye Sivan

Song that Captures the Album’s Aesthetic: “Bloom”

Why Listen: You don’t know him. And that’s exactly why we love him. Sivan’s been on the alternative pop scene for years, but has blown up recently, mainly due to the success of his 2015 record “Blue Neighborhood.” His image has always been androgynous, with queer undertones, despite him being ‘out’ since his debut. With “Bloom,” he’s evolved, and his message is very clear and very queer. Often regarded as the ‘gay love story every queer person needs in their lives’ – at least by Tumblr culture – “Bloom’s” impact on millennial music will definitely be out of this world.

Album: “Invasion of Privacy”

Artist: Cardi B

Song that Captures the Album’s Aesthetic: “Bartier Cardi”

Why Listen: Anyone who doesn’t know her is by all means socially inept. Anyone who doesn’t love her is uncultured. Cardi B is a bi icon, advocate for injustice, fashion maven, and honestly a ‘kween’ across the board. “Invasion of Privacy”, being her sophomore studio album has brought more direction. The most refreshing part of “Invasion of Privacy” is how she’s emerged as a true artist—aesthetically and lyrically. Within the year since “Bodak Yellow’s” (Cardi’s claim to fame) release, her lyrics are far more confident, “Bartier Cardi” becoming a sort of anthem for empowerment. Making “I Like It” a beacon of representation for Latinx culture has attracted attention as well. All in all, “Invasion of Privacy” has definitely paved the way for Cardi to become an icon.

Album: “Dirty Computer”

Artist: Janelle Monae

Song that Captures the Album’s Aesthetic: “Make Me Feel”

Why Listen: Anyone who’s anyone has heard of Janelle Monae. Her thought-provoking lyrics, androgynous aesthetic, and proud pansexual ‘pan’ pride are made clear through “Dirty Computer’s” soundtrack. From “I Like That” to “PYNK” every bit of the album is iconic. For years, Monae’s cited her main inspiration as Prince – 80’s androgyne/queer icon/literal prince of pop—and now it seems as if everything’s come full circle. From her self-published debut in 2003 to her claim to fame in 2010, and serious success in 2018, she’s been building an image that is sure to leave an imprint on music history for years to come.

Album: “Aurora”

Artist: Bea Miller

Song that Captures the Album’s Aesthetic: “S.L.*.T.”

Why Listen: Bea Miller is straight. And white. And skinny. And she’s relevant to diverse communities, and if you don’t know her—dishonor on you,  dishonor on your cow, dishonor on your whole family. So … How exactly is Bea Miller an allied icon? I’m sure that both of her moms—emphasis on the ‘s’ by the way—would agree that her body-positive, LGBTQ+ friendly attitudes and diverse music videos are nothing short of iconic, making Miller a “Force of Nature.”

Single to Look Out For: “Cherry”

Artist: Rina Sawayama

Why Listen: Everyone who’s Anyone has seen her turn out lewk after lewk on Instagram. And “Cherry”  is no exception. The lyrics: dance pop for the queer kid who’s coming out. It’s simply strut-around-the-room-and-sing-along-song. And everyone’s living for it. It’s not an ‘Out Anthem’ by any means – and is instead about the first time attraction for someone of the same gender forms. The music video: Iconic. It’s an androgynous conceptual art piece, full of interpretive dance, killer makeup, and her characteristically quirky personality.

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Soundtrack for escape