If you’re a queer woman or are aligned with queer woman culture, July 29th was a big day. Not only was there an album release from THE Lesbian Jesus Hayley Kiyoko, but there was also one from fellow sapphic icon King Princess. That’s already a lot of straight up gay, but two more albums round out this list to make it totally queer and totally list worthy. Although neither of these women are queer, their music and cultural iconography extend into the culture of sapphic people, and thus they make the list. Beyonce, the most well known artist on this list, pushed herself into the LGBTQ+ universe with this album in particular (we’ll get into that more later). Maggie Rogers, on the other hand, has been widely thought of as a queer icon for her style and musical voice, which resonate with those in the community.
These albums are ranked worst to best, but keep in mind that this is 100% my personal, non-musician opinion, and it has no bearing on the quality of the art being produced whatsoever.
Hayley Kiyoko: Panorama
The great thing about Kiyoko’s sophomore album is that it’s super obviously queer. She created a music video for “For the Girls” with dozens of gay influencers, and at the end she finally made the relationship between herself and former Bachelor contestant Becca Tilley official. The bad thing about Kiyoko’s album, at least in my opinion, is that it’s extremely stereotypically pop.
She doesn’t tend to deviate away from the standard upbeat poppy radio hits, and I am at a point where I really can’t stand listening to that for a long period of time. The first song or so was okay, but I got bored, fast. I am ranking Panorama last, but it is only out of strong personal distaste for the current music, at least for the time being.
All of that being said, I would still recommend you give Kiyoko’s album a listen, especially if you like pop music. She’s good at creating catchy hits, and I’m sure one of my friends will play her songs enough that I’ll come around to enjoying them eventually. Who knows, in a year it might even be 3rd on this list!
Maggie Rogers: Surrender
I listen to Maggie Rogers casually, but I’m in my positive vibes era right now, so I haven’t fully jumped on the bandwagon. As a result, it was a bit of a slow start for me, with Rogers falling into the voice that many fans will recognize and love.
When we hit “Horses”, I was captivated for the first time. That song in particular was chilling in its beauty, and I will most definitely be listening again. It’s this song that guaranteed Surrender the spot above Kiyoko on the list. This single song was the most well put together of the two albums combined, in my opinion, and the only one I’m likely to add to my playlists for the time being.
If I was in more of a Sad Girl (TM) era, this music would have likely been ranked higher, but as it was, it receives 3rd place.
King Princess: Hold on Baby
I love King Princess. I think all of their songs are bops, they manage to capture an essence of queerness even in songs that aren’t explicitly queer, and they have an addictingly hot energy. I saw them in concert last year, when they opened for Kacey Musgraves, and it even translated to the big stage. All of that being said, it’s pretty clear that I’m biased towards King Princess from the start. But, I will say, they did deliver.
This album was fully soft pop punk, without much deviance into some of the loud sounds that appear on their other albums. Yes, I am attempting to write an album review using words such as “loud sounds”. I enjoyed it from start to finish, with the notable exception of “Change the Locks”, which I must say I could have done without.
King Princess will forever be my fashion icon, and I will be listening to this album a few more times at least before pulling out individual songs for my playlists.
The moment you’ve been waiting for… the number one album of July 29th! This also happened to be the first album I listened to, not because Beyonce is my favorite artist on the list, but because she is the most widely relevant and I wanted to be able to keep up with all of the memes on Twitter.
Prior to this album, I hadn’t been a huge Beyonce fan. Of course, I could dance to “Single Ladies” or “Crazy in Love”, but other than that it mostly fell flat for me. Maybe it’s a change within myself, or maybe it’s the change in Beyonce’s music this year, but I fell in love with Renaissance. Every single song was just such a bop. I cannot wait to go out and dance to it at a club. This isn’t necessarily my favorite album (I would give that honor to Hold on Baby) but it is the best in the sense that it exceeded expectations by the furthest.
If you’re slightly less culturally attuned (the polite way of saying that I’m online way too much), you may be wondering why Beyonce is even on this list at all. The singer, who is a long time supporter of the LGBTQ community, imbued this album with more queer culture than ever before, and that started right at the beginning. She dedicated the album to her gay Uncle Jonny, as well as to the “pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long”, according to a statement Beyonce released with her album.
She also collaborated with queer artists including Ts Madison, Honey Dijon, Syd, Big Freedia, Moi Renee, MikeQ, and Kevin Aviance for the album so, what I’m trying to say is that this music is super queer. And if you listen to it, you’ll agree with me.