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The CHIRP Blog

Eddie writesEight New Pride Anthems for 2024

by Eddie Sayago

When you think of Pride anthems, I’m sure you have the classics like Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out”, Cher’s “Believe”, and Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel” in your playlist.

As we enter the half point of the 2020s, it’s time to update the playlist with some fresh voices and songs, many from artists who grew up in a rapidly changing society where it became less difficult to be out and proud.

It is still tough out there for us, no matter what the corporate pride ads say. In a time where our rights are being threatened with greater force at the local, state, and federal level–not to mention that there are still over 60 countries on this very hot planet where homosexuality is still illegal–it is essential to have Pride Month, no matter how you commemorate or celebrate.

For your friendly neighborhood DJ, music is how I celebrate Pride. Nearly every show I have hosted on CHIRP features a selection of LGBTQ+ artists from Chicago and around the world. These are eight songs released over the past couple of years that deserve a listen and to be added to that playlist for Pride (and all year round).

Previous versions of the Pride Playlist can be found here and here.

Alex Anwandter “Maricoteca”
From the album El diablo en el cuerpo (5 AM, 2023)

The song title “Maricoteca” is a mashup of the Spanish-language words maricon (the f-word slur) and discoteca (disco as in the club). In recent years, the f-word has been reclaimed by the queer community, which has upset primarily older members who endured the slur while growing up and still have negative memories. This has also upset the homophobes who can’t get away with using that word as an insult since the recipient will reject it and send it back to the deliverer.

Chilean artist Alex Anwandter has reclaimed the Spanish language version in this sexy avant-garde disco club hit. You can almost feel the sweat dripping down those bodies as the dancers get closer together on the dance floor. For fans of Troye Sivan’s “Rush” and the product of the same name, this is for you.

Bev Rage and the Drinks “Hollywood Beach”
From the album Exes & Hexes (What’s For Breakfast?, 2022)

A surfer power-pop anthem tailor made for the most popular beach in Chicago, “Hollywood Beach” by Bev Rage and the Drinks is the perfect song for this welcoming wonderland from the heat and chaos of city living.

When I lived on the North Side, this was one of my favorite places to go on weekends (and later during the week when I had an unconventional work schedule). It is best place to people-watch, occasionally watch a drag show, and take new profile pics with your new swimwear on the pier.

“You can spot the rookies by their tan lines/Just a little bit shy on their very first time.” Bev Rage and the Drinks capture all that magic in just two and a half minutes.

Chappell Roan “Pink Pony Club”
From the album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess (Island/UMG, 2023)

The first drag queen to become a very famous musician without competing on Drag Race, Chappell Roan has been vocal about being inspired by drag performers and queens and more importantly, acknowledges that she is putting on a show. (She pulls a Hannah Montana at some shows, taking off her wig to briefly reveal the woman behind the pop star.)

“Pink Pony Club” is her most autobiographical song, a story about a young girl leaving home to become the person she is meant to be, and willing to leave everything and everyone behind. Like many pink pony aficionados before Chappell, California is the place to go. “And I heard that there’s a special place/Where boys and girls can all be queens every single day.”

Her debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess quickly became one of the most popular records of 2023 and her performances at Governor’s Ball and Coachella cemented her status as a powerhouse on stage. Chappell was virtually unknown 12 months ago and she is now on the verge of becoming the next huge pop star.

Jeremy Pope “U, Lost”
From the EP LAST NAME: POPE (self-released, 2024)

The newest model for Calvin Klein has been on an exciting journey since his breakthrough on Broadway, becoming the sixth performer to be nominated for two acting Tony Awards in one year (one for Lead Actor in a Play for Choir Boy and the other for Featured Actor in a Musical for Ain’t Too Proud, back in 2019).

Since then, he’s appeared on TV and film, earning critical acclaim, an Emmy nomination for the limited series “Hollywood” and Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award nominations for the military drama The Insception.

A true Renaissance man, Pope released his debut single in 2015, with sporadic new songs released since then. “U, Lost” is a sultry, modern R&B song in the vein of Moses Sumney and Victoria Monet. There is a subtle confidence in his vocal delivery, especially with lyrics like “If I was you/I would miss me too.”

Orville Peck featuring Kylie Minogue “Midnight Ride”
From the album Stampede (Warner, 2024)

Country music has become more accessible to the LGBTQ+ crowd over the past decade thanks to Orville Peck, born Daniel Pitout in South Africa and who moved to Canada at age 15. He performed in musicals across the globe throughout his twenties before moving in with his parents to work at a coffee shop while recording his debut album, Pony (2019).

A country ballad infused with disco and dreamy pop, “Midnight Ride” features the Princess of Pop (and your friendly neighborhood DJ’s designated diva and gay icon) herself, Kylie Minogue. This song premiered at WeHo Pride at the beginning of June to much applause and acclaim from the audience and later online.

Pinksqueeze “Summer in Chicago (I’ll Be Fine)”
From the album Be Gay Have Fun (self-released, 2023)

Regular listeners of CHIRP are familiar with Pinksqueeze, a queer femme indie rock band from Chicago. I fell for them at their Metro show back in the cold February night, bringing heat to a much needed cold night. “Summer in Chicago (I’ll Be Fine)” kicks off with a sharp as knives lyrics, ‘Hit me where it hurts/Where it hurts the most/Right in my self-esteem”, and the hits keep on coming. The concert, particularly the atmosphere, was what drew me in and made me a fan. “Our shows have been described as “like being at a sleepover with friends you just haven’t met yet,” said the band in an article for Voyage Michigan (and about two songs into their Metro show). “Something we are really mindful of at our shows is that we want to have fun, and we want our audience to have fun.”

Raequen Scott “Summer Days”
From the self-released single (2023)

Released at the tail end of summer 2023, Chicagoan Raequan Scott’s “Summer Days” harkens back to the '90s, both the decade and the days with temps reaching those levels.

A sultry R&B song from the Black queer perspective, Scott sings about getting “bit by a lovebug” and pining for boys who might not reciprocate. Despite the advances by the LGBTQ+ community, there’s still barriers in culture, especially in music outside of the dance, techno, and pop genres.

“I think there’s just a lot of taboo behind queer representation because of concerns around marketability, so you don’t see it in the mainstream,” Scott said in an interview with Vocalo last year. The joy (or pain) of falling in (or out of) love is both a personal and universal experience, and it’s thrilling to have more love songs from this viewpoint.

Romy “She’s On My Mind”
From the album Mid Air (Young, 2023)

Romy began her career as a member of The xx, the English indie-rock band that provided the soundtrack to house parties back in the early 2010s. The final member to release a solo album, the incredible Mid Air, the best song is “She’s On My Mind,” a story about unrequited love (I promise this is not the theme of this blog) as the singer wishes her crush was more than just a friend.

“She’s on my mind but I wish she was under me/There’s a space in between us and I don’t know how to reach.” The song and album is a love letter to gay clubs and their fans. If “She’s On My Mind” gives you a sense of nostalgia, Romy samples “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli, giving it a discotheque spin for a new generation of gay club-goers.

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Categorized: Top Five

Topics: alex anwandter, bev rage and the drinks, chappell roan, jeremy pope, orville peck, pinksqueeze, raequen scott, romy

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