Songs with queer lyrics?
October 16, 2016 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Whenever I listen to songs referencing relationships and attraction, either the lyrics are always referring to a generic "you" ("I love you, you're so sexy...") or they are explicitly hetero ("Girl, I want to be your man..."). I was wondering if you could recommend me songs that are hella gay. I don't mean the musician is queer (though obviously they probably will be), I mean the lyrics specifically have some non-hetero references.

I mean, other than "I kissed a girl."

Any genre is ok, but obviously I'd prefer it's something you personally think is a GOOD song that you really like listening to on the regular. The reference can even be something really small, like a man singing "Boy, you drive me crazy" in only one line.
posted by picklenickle to Media & Arts (89 answers total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would check out Hunx and his Punx.
posted by dysh at 9:51 AM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Don't Stop Me Now" has verses about both men and women (which fits with Freddy Mercury's bisexuality). That also reminds me of "Getting Bi," a delightful song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
posted by Threeve at 9:53 AM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ute Lemper the Lavender Song from 1921 Berlin
posted by saucysault at 9:53 AM on October 16, 2016


The Smiths will probably scratch this itch for you—"This Charming Man" is the song that comes to mind right away.
posted by Polycarp at 9:53 AM on October 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Don't Stop Me Now" has verses about both men and women (which fits with Freddy Mercury's bisexuality).

Don't Stop Me Now is awesome, but Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy is probably the gayest song in Queen's catalog.
posted by phunniemee at 9:56 AM on October 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


A lot of Pwr Bttm, especially I Wanna Boi.

Michael by Franz Ferdinand.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 10:07 AM on October 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Internet has a bunch of really gay songs. Try Girl.
posted by sea change at 10:08 AM on October 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Magnetic Fields, "Papa Was a Rodeo".
posted by dysh at 10:10 AM on October 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Mary Lambert: She keeps me warm.
posted by freya_lamb at 10:11 AM on October 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Willie Nelson's "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other."
posted by drlith at 10:11 AM on October 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Frank Ocean's Bad Religion is about his unrequited love for a man.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:11 AM on October 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


A lot of Hayley Kiyoko's catalogue satisfies this requirement. Try "Girls Like Girls"?
posted by there's no crying in espionage at 10:13 AM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


There are a bunch of queer love songs on the Magnetic Fields triple album, 69 Love Songs.
posted by the marble index at 10:14 AM on October 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


The title cut to Steely Dan's Gaucho.
posted by ldenneau at 10:14 AM on October 16, 2016


I maintain that George Michael's "Father Figure" is pretty much the gayest song ever written, but since he was deeply in the closet at that time it lacks the lyrical content you're looking for, so:

Huggy Bear - "Panty Twist"
Faith No More - "Be Aggressive"
Alaska Thunderfuck - "Pussy" (and just generally)
Erin McKeown - "Queer Gospel"
Joan Jett's cover of "Crimson and Clover"

bands to check out generally:
Pansy Division
Team Dresch
Tribe 8
Cazwell
Angel Haze
The Queers
The Murmurs
posted by bile and syntax at 10:14 AM on October 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Vienna Teng's City Hall
posted by stray at 10:17 AM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cyndi Lauper's cover of "When You Were Mine" doesn't change the genders, so somebody in that love triangle is gay.

Similarly, Tori Amos did a cover of "Famous Blue Raincoat" without changing the genders.
posted by praemunire at 10:19 AM on October 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


"New Radio" by Bikini Kill
Everything by Pansy Division
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:22 AM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I always liked what this line in the chorus of Prince's Diamonds and Pearls suggested: "if I gave you diamonds and pearls/would you be a happy boy or a girl"
posted by kapers at 10:25 AM on October 16, 2016


Certainly Carl Bean's "I Was Born This Way" should qualify.
posted by rhizome at 10:25 AM on October 16, 2016


Praemunire reminded me: the White Stripes cover of "Jolene" doesn't change the genders either. It's an amazing cover, to boot.
posted by Threeve at 10:37 AM on October 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Assuming you're talking about Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl," I'd like to nominate predecessor Jill Sobule's "I Kissed A Girl" (1995, lyrics) for consideration.
posted by juliplease at 10:41 AM on October 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


David Bowie, "When You're A Boy"
Blur, "Girls and Boys"
posted by bile and syntax at 10:43 AM on October 16, 2016


Oh, hey, I'm a little slow today, because I said Bad Religion and forgot about Forrest Gump, another love song to a man on Frank Ocean's Channel Orange.

And if you're OK with some ambiguity, Thinking Bout You from the same album doesn't specify gender, but I assumed it was about a man too. I only realized that wasn't explicit when I just now looked up the lyrics to find male pronouns and didn't see any.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:49 AM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kitchens of Distinction! For instance: Prize, 4 Men, Breathing Fear, and many others.
posted by xil at 11:02 AM on October 16, 2016


Strongly seconding the Smiths. "I Want the One I Can't Have" is a classic example. Lyrics
posted by ejs at 11:09 AM on October 16, 2016


La Roux - Cruel Sexuality
La Roux - I'm Not Your Toy
Grimes - Vanessa
Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules Theme
Bronski Beat - Why?
Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy
Rae Spoon - I Hear Them Calling
Rae Spoon - Ghost of a Boy

(Also, I know you asked for lyrics, but, as an aside, Get Out by Frightened Rabbit is a great song with a very lesbian video.)
posted by sevenofspades at 11:11 AM on October 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Erin McKeown's first album is amazing for this. Daisy and Prudence and La Petite Mort are overtly romantic and overtly queer, and a lot of the other songs have some pretty loud queer subtext (Love in 2 Parts, Didn't They), and the whole thing is just gorgeous and sweet as hell.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:26 AM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Two Men In Love by The Irrepressibles.

Le1f is gay and fairly overt.
posted by Candleman at 11:33 AM on October 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The National's Sea of Love makes reference to "Joe" (Hey Joe / Sorry I hurt you but they say / love is a virtue don't they?). I can't find it right now, but I remember reading a quote from Matt Berninger talking about how Joe was initially a placeholder and he intended to find a woman's name to replace it, but eventually came to the conclusion that, well, who cares if he's singing about a dude?
posted by btfreek at 11:50 AM on October 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Raincoats' cover of the Kinks' "Lola" takes an already queer song and queers it harder. The song itself definitely talks about its trans subject in a way we don't do anymore, but it's also almost 50 years old now and considering that, "I'm not the world's most masculine man but I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man, and so is Lola" still feels like a revolution - even more so when covered by an all-female punk band.
posted by the marble index at 11:55 AM on October 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Rufus Wainright - One Man Guy
Magnetic Fields - I thought I was your boyfriend
posted by stinker at 12:16 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


SJ Tucker has some: Goddess, and Don't Get My Hopes Up off the top of my head.
posted by azalea_chant at 12:23 PM on October 16, 2016


The Damned - Jet Boy Jet Girl
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:26 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


If it wasn't clear by now that you want most of Magnetic Fields' discography, let Andrew in Drag convince you.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 12:28 PM on October 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just about everything by the Scissor Sisters, but especially check out the album "Night Work".
posted by skycrashesdown at 12:31 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I think The Replacements' Androgynous is one of the sweetest songs ever recorded. "Tomorrow who's gonna fuss" indeed.
posted by btfreek at 12:31 PM on October 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Magnetic Fields - Andrew in Drag (oops, see this was mentioned already)
Franz Ferdinand - Michael
I also really enjoy Perfume Genius for sad bastard queer boy music, but he's usually a little less explicit about the genders in the songs I can think of.
posted by deludingmyself at 12:38 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rufus Wainwright's Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk has masculine imagery and mentions boys.
Here's a list of pop songs about bisexuality.
Here's a list of pronoun-appropriate gay love songs.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:45 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


PJ Olsson - Visine
posted by philip-random at 12:48 PM on October 16, 2016


Indigo Girls, Shame on You: "...the beautiful ladies walk on by, you know I never know what to say..."
posted by she's not there at 12:50 PM on October 16, 2016


The Hidden Cameras! Most of their songs have exactly what you're looking for. You can looks through their lyrics here.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:53 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hozier - Take Me to Church is a little more about the Catholic take on homosexuality, but most of the lyrics still focus on a same-sex relationship. (Maybe not clearly enough for what you're looking for, though.)
posted by cogitron at 1:20 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tegan and Sara's Boyfriend
posted by Hypatia at 1:23 PM on October 16, 2016


Kid Loco - Love Me Sweet ..lovely slice of 90's electronica, still a beautiful song. Alas I couldn't find it without the rather sub-par video, so one for the minimised window.

Queen of Japan - I Was Made for Loving You Squelchy dance remake of the Kiss classic, production a bit ropey but a great vocal.

And finally another great cover, not specifically gay but fits the question, I think? Siouxsie and the Banshees - Dear Prudence
posted by tardigrade at 1:24 PM on October 16, 2016


How could I forget the awesome John Grant? GMF would be a good place to start.

Also, a lot of Sufjan Stevens is highly homoromantic along with the Christianity - I've always assumed that "To Be Alone With You" is deliberately ambiguous.
posted by tardigrade at 1:38 PM on October 16, 2016


In my dreams I still see us in a tight embrace
In spite of all the things people say when they stare
That's how I know I'm in love with you and your friend
Honest I do, I can't see you and me and her without each other


You and Your Friend - Snake River Conspiracy is about polyamory (specifically three people being in a equal relationship with each other) and implies at least two people involved are the same gender.
posted by kassila at 1:58 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jamie G by Joe Jackson
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:03 PM on October 16, 2016


"Papa was a Rodeo" by the Magnetic Fields is actually about a heterosexual romance -- it's easy to think it's about a gay romance because the male singer is addressing a character named "Mike", but the part of Mike is sung by a woman. The song is meant to be an allusion to the film The Wild Angels, which has a female character named Mike, played by Nancy Sinatra.

Another Magnetic Fields song not yet mentioned -- "When my Boy Walks Down the Street"
posted by phoenixy at 2:23 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, and another Magnetic Fields one -- Come Back From San Francisco. The gender of the loved one that the female singer is addressing isn't specified, but they appear to be bisexual, since she warns them about being distracted by "pretty boys in discos".
posted by phoenixy at 2:30 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Czars' cover of 'Where The Boys Are'.

Dar Williams' cover of 'Wilder Than Her', and her own 'Iowa'.
posted by Catseye at 2:55 PM on October 16, 2016


The Goon Sax - Boyfriend
posted by misteraitch at 2:57 PM on October 16, 2016


She Has a Girlfriend Now by Reel Big Fish.
Only Straight Girls Wear Dresses by CWA. ( Ultra NSFW, like the opposite of. )

The songs in But I'm A Cheerleader, which sadly did not have a soundtrack album produced.
posted by ApathyGirl at 3:17 PM on October 16, 2016


'Andy, You're A Star' by The Killers
'I'm Still Your Fag' by Broken Social Scene
posted by blackzinfandel at 3:23 PM on October 16, 2016


Homosapien by Pete Shelley - a superb pop tune from 1981 (which was banned by the BBC for "explicit reference to gay sex").
posted by Lluvia at 3:32 PM on October 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Lisa met Chelsea at the knocking school / Chelsea didn't feel like following the rules / So they left the place for another school / Where the boys go with boys and the girls with girls" -- "She's Losing It," Belle & Sebastian

[edited because my second Belle & Sebastian suggestion is, upon reflection, not "hella gay"]
posted by monkeymonkey at 3:47 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can't believe I forgot Bowie's Boys Keep Swinging, accompanied (in the video) by a trio of himself in drag.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 4:50 PM on October 16, 2016


Gay Bar often reminds me of fun times in the old days.
posted by ovvl at 5:03 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sugar Daddy from Hedwig and the Angry Inch
posted by switcheroo at 5:11 PM on October 16, 2016


Boy's Club by Ween is probably the gayest song I've ever heard and I love it!
posted by ball00000ns at 5:12 PM on October 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Scar by Missy Higgins references both he and her when talking about former relationships.
posted by cholly at 6:09 PM on October 16, 2016


Following up on deludingmyself's comment, Perfume Genius's Queen is not explicitly about attraction but is definitely non-hetero/hella gay.
posted by felix grundy at 6:28 PM on October 16, 2016


Ria Mae's self-titled album has loads of this.
For instance: Clothes Off
posted by sabotagerabbit at 8:45 PM on October 16, 2016


I am sad that no one has mentioned Two Nice Girls, who were a fabulous band in the 90s. Pretty much all of their work is queer, but some explicitly queer ones: I Spent My Last $10 (On Birth Control and Beer) which features lyrics like "my life was so much simpler when I was sober and queer"; The Queer Song ("we're gonna take you to queer bars/we're gonna drive you in queer cars/you're gonna meet all of our queer friends/our queer, queer fun it never ends"); Princess of Power and, personal favourite, their mash-up of "Sweet Jane" and "With Affection" which somehow comes across not only absolutely gorgeous but completely queer.
posted by Athanassiel at 8:55 PM on October 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Another Vienna Teng song: "Recessional"
posted by teraflop at 1:22 AM on October 17, 2016


Jenny, by Studio Killers.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:03 AM on October 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Billy Brown by Mika!
posted by HypotheticalWoman at 2:37 AM on October 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Erin McKeown (♥) has been mentioned a couple of times above, but also explicitly queer is the 'advice' song "James", which advises the eponymous James to "look out for the boy next door" because he's a "straight boy" so "you've got to let him go." (And if that isn't good advice for the young queer person, well.)

Another Erin McKeown rec: "It's a Very Queer Christmas." The first time we heard her perform that song (before the album came out), my partner leaned over and asked me, "How has Erin been to holidays at your mother's house?" (A highlight: "I've cooked all your favorite foods / What do you mean, you don't eat meat? / You're a vegetarian and you're gay?! / It's a very queer Christmas!")
posted by lysimache at 2:40 AM on October 17, 2016


Bowie's John I'm Only Dancing maybe?

Also When She Loved Me is gay without the context (and still heartbreaking).
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 3:59 AM on October 17, 2016


Shura - What's It Gonna Be is a great recent one with a great video.
posted by flatluigi at 9:30 AM on October 17, 2016


Pet Shop Boys: Can you Forgive Her, I think other songs including Red Letter Day and Rent drip with subtext.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:39 AM on October 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's a break up song, but Sleater Kinney's One More Hour is about Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker's relationship.
posted by siouxsiesmith at 10:58 AM on October 17, 2016


Surprised there has been no mention of The Frogs yet
posted by mike_bling at 11:20 AM on October 17, 2016


Belle and Sebastian, "Seeing Other People."
posted by pinwheel spark at 12:07 PM on October 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Lots by The Aluminum Group:
-w/o the Erte
-Tom Of Finland (An Homage) -- sorry, no video. Don't search for "Tom of Finland" while at work.
- The Mattachine Society
-Chocolates

The 6ths, one of Stephin Merritt's (of the Magnetic Fields) other projects, features guest vocalists.
-He Didn't (feat. Bob Mould)
-Sailor In Love With The Sea (feat. Gary Numan)
-Just Like A Movie Star (feat. Dominique A)

The Jazz Passengers - Handsome Man from Fiji
The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - I Never Thought I Could Feel This Way For A Boy
posted by hydrophonic at 8:28 PM on October 17, 2016


Correct link for The Mattachine Society.

Sally Timms of The Mekons covered the Rolling Stones' ladykiller anthem "Heart of Stone" without changing the genders.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:05 PM on October 17, 2016


I don't want to call this Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson's breakout role, but it may well be?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwReSCGL3ss
posted by talldean at 7:34 PM on October 19, 2016


Rough Trade - "High School Confidential"
posted by Sys Rq at 2:45 AM on October 20, 2016


Love Outside Andromeda has some hella queer lyrics, mostly relying on the singer songwriter being female but there's also:

Gonna Try to be a Girl

I'm gonna try to be a girl so then I'll meet a boy,
Grow up and find a man to fill this ugly fucking void.
I never thought you were good enough for me,
(I just wanted some arms around me).

You keep it straight laced inside of me,
I'll let you fuck with my head for eternity.
I'll keep my head down.
Wear the wedding gown.
Signed, suffocated, delivered.

I think you should hear her talk inside of my head.
It's all her fault inside of my head.
It's all her fault inside of my head.

Maybe I'll try and meet a girl then I can be a boy,
Up and find a man,
(ugly fucking void)
I didn't love you, you didn't love me,
We had a heart felt need for security so why don't you wake up?
posted by geek anachronism at 2:24 AM on October 23, 2016


Handsome Man by Matt Alber, which is beautifully romantic.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:39 AM on October 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Another vote for anything by Pansy Division!
Lots of RuPaul songs qualify, but I'll submit Oh No She Betta Don't, featuring cast members from RuPaul's Drag Race season 6.
I think Ain't Got Me by Paul Westerberg fits, specifically for the line "I take a shot/Your hall of fame is/Littered with famous/Women and men."
Relax - Frankie Goes To Hollywood (video extremely NSFW)
posted by SisterHavana at 1:02 PM on October 23, 2016


Darren Hayes's Love and Attraction. According to him, the entirety of The Tension and The Spark is him processing coming out, but this song's probably the most explicit of the lot:

I want her she wants him
He wants me I give in
I want her I want him
I don't want anything
I starting questioning
The rules of coupling
This strip of Mobius it's neverending

posted by divabat at 4:59 PM on October 23, 2016


Spotify playlist.
posted by divabat at 7:17 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rebel Girl - Bikini Kill is specifically about having a lesbian crush on that cool alt-chick.
posted by edbles at 8:14 AM on October 26, 2016


Very explicit and NSFW hip hop: Cakes Da Killa - Goodie Goodies
posted by valrus at 8:52 PM on October 26, 2016


Two that come to mind immediately, and that I love, are:
Neko Case - Bracing for Sunday (lyrics)
and
Prove It On Me Blues originally by Ma Rainey, but I'm partial to the version by Kat Danser on this album.
posted by bethnull at 10:14 PM on October 26, 2016


The Indigo Girl's cover of Dylan's Tangled Up in Blue fits your criteria.
posted by Ziggy500 at 4:47 AM on October 27, 2016


Voices Carry by Aimee Mann/'Til Tuesday was originally about a female-female relationship, but the record label pressured them to change the pronouns to make it less controversial.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:48 AM on October 30, 2016


Eve 6 - Jetpack is adorably coy about its queerness. I think it's about a straight singer helping his gay friend come out.
posted by Pfardentrott at 8:09 AM on October 31, 2016


« Older Task tracker for managing marketing for a...   |   Help me move on from a recent bad job and... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments