Written by Guest Writer P.C. Anderson
Temperatures are rising, and so is the visibility of LGBT musicians. Get pumped for all of the music that will soon be lodging itself on your mental Repeat button.
Next month begins the wave of LGBT Pride festivals and parades throughout the country, and we have a lot to celebrate now that Obama has officially endorsed his support for marriage equality. Not only that, but Family members have some killer new music coming out right before the end of the month, providing the perfect soundtrack for our festivities. So before you slip on your sequin-bedazzled thong and roll on ecstasy for twelve hours, (What? …you don’t do that? Go re-read your copy of The Homosexual Agenda) take a look at the tidal wave of gayness headed for your ear drums.
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT, Out of the Game (OUT NOW)
I will admit that I’m brand new to the Rufus Wainwright bandwagon, but all the gays in the know at least have Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, if not this gem. He is just fabulous. For one, he never shies away from being catty or honest. On the eponymous track he dishes “You’re only a child with the mind of a senile man / You’re only a young thing about to sleep with a sea of men,” but in the last verse asks for a favor: “let me smell you for one last time / before you go out there / and ruin all of the world, once mine.” The track that captures my heart however is “Montauk,” a ballad to his new daughter that hopes she won’t be embarrassed by her two dads as she grows up. The album as a whole is a union of style between producer Mark Ronson’s lush orchestration and Wainwright’s Elton John-like whimsy. He is a class act that is worthy of your monetary support.
ADAM LAMBERT, Trespassing (OUT NOW)
And on the other side of the music spectrum, we have “bad boy” (ugh, did I just write that?) and American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert. His first album was a bit hit-or-miss, which I attribute partially to the tight turnaround from the competition to putting out a not-so-polished product that nevertheless resulted in an intentionally campy album cover and a world tour. And thus, he puts his feet kinda forward once again. There’s no denying he has one of the wildest vocal ranges out there, and his prowess is not to be underestimated either. His songwriting is still a little rusty though: “Never Close Our Eyes” just feels like an updated “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” with a more club-friendly beat, and a few of his songs fall into the “let’s get messed up” trend of pop music thanks to Dr. Luke, the sadist responsible for Ke$ha’s career. But it’s not all bad news. “Shady” for instance is sleazy in all the right ways thanks to Chic guitarist and Let’s Dance producer Nile Rodgers, plus it features a cameo from dreamboat Sam Sparro. And “Pop That Lock” is certainly gonna start some drunken dance-offs at Tigerheat amongst the demographic of overcompensating OC teens. But the track with the best chance of longevity is “Outlaws of Love.” For all of the pop songs about self-empowerment, it is refreshing to hear someone as talented as Lambert hear how fragile and calculated he is when he croons “you say we’ll rot in Hell / but I don’t think we will.” A perfect snapshot of our struggle with religious bigotry in 2012 that I have no doubt will continue to resonate in the years to come.
GOSSIP, A Joyful Noise (May 22)
After their success of “Music for Men” in 2009, singer Beth Ditto is ready to bring it once again. She is recently engaged to marry her girlfriend Kristen in Hawaii next year and is an occasional plus-sized model who is absolutely in love with her Eric Cartman-shaped figure. Having seen the band perform live before, I can attest that her weight only adds more power to her vocals when she lets it out, which she is wont to do. They are going through a slight transformation of music genre, this time dabbling in smoother productions than all their prior efforts, drifting ever so slightly into an electro-punk hybrid band. This makes Ditto all the more important, and she delivers the spirit of the band with her. She is a punk rocker through and through, and as an outspoken voice in both the feminist and LGBT circles, she should not be crossed. So, you know, don’t.
SCISSOR SISTERS, Magic Hour (May 29)
One of the queerest bands around, they let loose “Shady Love” back in January, an odd amalgam of a Jake Shears rap (???) and even a dash of dancehall, but totally in the realm of their soundscape (the bridge is reminiscent of their ”Comfortably Numb” cover). And then they released their first official single, “Only the Horses,” a Calvin Harris-backed track that is devoid of personality. But the Internet leaked “Let’s Have a Kiki,” which has restored my faith. This pearl is perhaps the gayest track they’ve ever made, which I say with careful consideration. Yes, this supersedes “Invisible Light” which features a guest monologue by Sir Ian McKellan. The song starts after a good 45 seconds or so of telephone conversation with an unidentified voice, who I’m guessing is Sharon Needles, the hot new drag queen who is fresh off her win on RuPaul’s Drag Race and who performed with the band in a recent NYC set. Filled with “hunty,” “werk,” and “I’m gonna let you HAVE it!” and the like, our Scissters have not abandoned us after all. If “Night Work” was inspired from European night clubs, the origin for “The Magic Hour” must have been Carnevale, or Mardi Gras, or both.
AZEALIA BANKS, 1991 - EP (May 29)
I wrote about this 20 year-old bisexual rapper in my Coachella post, and guess what: she’s hotter than ever. This will be her first bundle of songs available for purchase, and it is about time. No more Google-hunting for a perfect Azealia playlist. But I mean, one listen to “212″ should be convincing enough. And you can get a sample of her ego on her Twitter @AZEALIABANKS where she has no reservations throwing it down with the likes of Nicki Minaj or Lil Kim.
SAM SPARRO, Return to Paradise (Soon)
Full disclosure: to say I have a creative and physical crush on this man is 100% accurate. He’s Australian, gay, and has the vocals of an angel since he grew up singing gospel, which is why “Happiness” sounds so effortless and joyous. I had the good fortune of seeing him perform several of his new tracks at LA Pride last year, and when he DJ’d for New Year’s Eve at Rasputin I drunkenly touched his hand (I have witnesses). He’s been working on the album for two or so years now, and you can hear it in the lyrics and nitty gritty of the music itself. Trust me. Just… just buy the album, whenever he finally gives straightforward details of the release date (May 29? June1? June 12?).
You are now out of excuses for not throwing the summer BBQ party of 2012. I know it’s a lot of info, but take it one album at a time, and relish in knowing your summer playlists are set in gay-stone. And don’t forget to be there for the Last Dance, for Donna.