Queer Music Mixtape

New Janelle Monáe, Miss Benny, and More on This Week’s Queer Music Mixtape

Welcome back to INTO’s Queer Music Mixtape, your #1 hub for all things new LGBTQ+ music. Here, we’re covering the hottest releases of the week in one handy guide.

The Pride season music dam has officially broken, and we’re letting the tidal wave of new and impending LGBTQ+ music drops crash into us head-on. Our beloved Arch-Android has returned sans robotics, an old favorite has reemerged from her doll stasis, and the first batch of Pride anthems and charity singles have entered the foray.

Whether you’re feeling some sexual healing, needing to get your party girl summer on, or just straight up wanting to break something, this list has something for you. We’ve included Instagram links in each byline and streaming links below for your convenience!

Check out the pure Pride power of this week Queer Music Mixtape:

“Lipstick Lover” by Janelle Monáe

I almost wrote that people are barely holding it together over Janelle Monáe’s sexy new era, but that would be a lie. People are decidedly not holding it together. The moment they dropped that “Pleasure” teaser on Wednesday, their fanbase became the embodiment of the Rihanna tweet that reads “I’m enjoying some beautiful #titties….” Monáe followed this drop with the announcement of their upcoming album, The Age of Pleasure, due out June 9th (or 6/9, for anyone who didn’t catch it). Not since the New Directions caused a “Britney Spears sex riot” on Glee has one musical act gotten their audience so immediately in the mood.

Stream Janelle Monáe on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Break Away” by Miss Benny

Miss Benny’s had a foothold in queer music for almost a decade now, but former viral tracks like “Boys Will Be Boys” and “Every Boy” ended up pretty widely adopted as gay-specific tracks, even though Benny clearly had some non-boy things going on personally. That was before the pandemic hit and started incubating trans folks at accelerated rates (myself included!). Now, it seems like this singer has come out the other side as a self-proclaimed “discount doll”, and we couldn’t stan any harder. For the new single and video, we’re definitely getting an updated Benny; the story is grittier, the visuals are bloodier, and the sound is a Sawayama-infused shred. Throw in the quick “Immaterial” SOPHIE nod in the second verse and you’ve got the beginnings of a very exciting era.

Stream Miss Benny on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

Big Boss by Keke Palmer

Virgo Tendencies let Keke dip her toe in the “visual album” waters, with a clean seven music videos between that two-part project. Now that she’s fully in the driver’s seat with her KeyTV network, her creative vision is out in force. Big Boss serves as much as an autobiographical short film as it does an album, with Keke recounting her journey through the music industry between tracks. With the help of guests like Skai Jackson, Robert Ri’chard, and Kyle Massey, this multi-hyphenate takes us through hell and back again by her side. While it’s a wild ride and an excellent look into Palmer’s mind, we’re going to need some time to forgive her for making the Alaska-in-“Read U Wrote U“-styled “Approach Me” section towards the end less than two and a half minutes long. We need more!

Stream Keke Palmer on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Pegasus” by Arlo Parks & Phoebe Bridgers

No matter how many times we get Arlo x Phoebe — their BBC Radio 1 sessions, their Coachella duets, their uber-cathartic Glastonbury “I Know the End” screams — there’s no such thing as enough. Especially with this one being a real studio recording that we won’t have to rip from YouTube to have in our libraries! The song is a soft ode to the human need for intimacy and love in its many forms, with the video showing the beauty of connection set against the arid desperation of needing it. The line “I need love like a body needs sugar” subverts the common biological comparisons for needing love (like breath, like water, like blood, you know) and makes it sweetness instead.

Stream Arlo Parks on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

Stream Phoebe Bridgers on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“BUGS” by Hank

There’s something so transfixing in the snapshots of domesticity in the new video from Hank, the solo project made to embody the more masculine range of singer-songwriter Sara L’Abriola. And it is a range; “BUGS” contrasts from the Call Me Hank EP’s country pop notes and digitzed vocals, as well as the light hyperpop of “GOOD GUY HARD LIFE”. The straight-forward, confessional, pest-ridden lines of this latest lovesick track reach something incredibly accessible and honest as they climb towards the explosive bridge instrumentals. Just a deeply cool piece.

Stream Hank on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Party Girls” by Victoria Monét

We once again reach the “something fun, something for the summertime, something for the girls to get ready and party to” point of the evening. Though more sonically lowkey than one might expect from a “Party Girls” track, it’s Victoria Monét; If it’s one thing she’s gonna do, it’s vibe! We’re still holding out hope for a return to disco after the tease of perfection that was “Experience” back in 2020, but this “Smoke”/”Party Girls” era is sure to be a fun one.

Stream Victoria Monét on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Turn Up the Love” by Wrabel

Just what the doctor ordered for a Pride campaign anthem. “Turn Up the Love” plays the rainbow-splashed hits: “you’re not alone”, “take my hand”, “you shine so bright”, “love and hope”, the works. While we patiently wait for the upcoming Wrabel album, a nice upbeat jam from the premier “happysad” artist is totally welcome. In addition, the first year of streaming proceeds for this song go directly to The Trevor Project! We’re turning up the love, turning up the volume on this track, and turning up in general.

Stream Wrabel on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Tears can be so soft” by Christine and the Queens

Full discretion, all my thoughts on this became very slightly overshadowed by the momentary cosmic horror of the giant scowling angels and their laser eyes beaming over the horizon. That said, this track comes as the third single off the upcoming Paranoïa, Angels, True Love project, and this video knocks out all three of the titular subjects in one go. There’s something about the mixture of angels and tears that is so singularly enrapturing, be it from Whovian villains or weeping depictions of the Dolorosa. Chris’s new single explores the inherent beauty and healing of a good, devastating cry, describing them as “diamonds on your face”. If only that were literal and we could use them to finally afford therapy.

Stream Christine and the Queens on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Far Far Away” by The Aquadolls

“Far Far Away” gives traditional easy femme-punk, complete with the bemoaning of capitalism and some perfectly brain-scratching handclaps. The original demo of this track released on their Bandcamp in 2021 features a more urgent tempo and percussion right at the forefront, but the more measured pace of the final version does a better job of capturing the very real drudgery of minimum wage malaise. Lead singer Melissa Brooks describes the track as “a fairytale twist on the working class, discussing that the only person who can truly save you is yourself,” while bassist Keilah Nina says it describes “the painful reality of getting trapped in the same 9-5 routine and feeling blocked or detached from personal growth, success, and/or love as a result.” Strike for universal basic income when?

Stream The Aquadolls on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Break Up Again” by Kit Major

“Break Up Again” just dropped as a dual single alongside “I Wish U Didn’t Hate Me So Much”, and according to fans, “Kit Major went fucking major on her two new hit songs.” She’s officially ended the dark pop Vampire Saturday era and started down a full ’00s garage band path that would sound perfect with a Freak Friday “Take Me Away” cover. She’s ready to break up, break down, have fans breaking a sweat at any upcoming shows.

Stream Kit Major on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Drag Isn’t Dangerous” by Jayelle & Ocean Kelly

If you missed the Drag Isn’t Dangerous telethon on May 7th, first of all, which rock have you been chilling under? Second, the whole thing is available to stream until May 15th for a little cash. Third, if absolutely nothing else, you’ve got to stream the titular track of the event featuring fun pop vocals from Jayelle and a sharp verse from queer rap god Ocean Kelly. All the proceeds of this song go straight to the telethon (which has already raised over half a million dollars!). Clocking in at just 2:37, you can stream this jam over and over and over.

Stream Jayelle on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

Stream Ocean Kelly on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Whiplash” by Jobi Riccio

LGBTQ+ folk music is always something special, especially when it’s this relatable. Riccio says of this title track, “I think most people’s late teens and early 20’s are a really difficult, confusing, and isolating time. ‘Whiplash,’ the song and album, is a reflection on that.” The path of self-discovery is a winding one, sometimes turning so quickly and frequently that you can’t help but feel a little bit of… well, you get it. Though her debut album isn’t out until September, we’ll be keeping an ear out for more Americana goodness from this artist this summer.

Stream Jobi Riccio on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

Turn up the love all weekend long and join us back here next week for another Queer Music Mixtape!

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