Pride 2020, which was supposed to be a celebration of our place in the world looking forward to liberation for even more LGBT+ people around the world, will instead pass by, largely unnoticed by the masses. Does that mean we as queer people should roll over and dampen our pride? No: now more than ever we need to let the world know we are still here, we are still queer. Whether it be with Instagram live streams of our unabashed dancing or wearing our best Pride fits in lockdown, we can still show the world who we are and just what it means to be LGBT+.
A personal tragedy of the effective cancellation of Pride 2020 is the lack of a month-long party, bopping to some of the best hits known to humankind. So, to remedy that… here are six songs that I was personally looking forward to celebrating pride with.
‘Rain On Me’ – Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande: At the time of writing this song has not been out a full 48 hours. And yet somehow it feels just like all good Pride songs do, as if it has been playing in our heads for the past 20 years. With many already proclaiming it the Pride anthem of the generation, I’ll hold off that particular accolade, for now. Nevertheless, this song is sure to be heard across the world every June, all month long, for many years to come.
‘Don’t Start Now’ – Dua Lipa: Despite not making it to the top of the charts when it released October last year (criminal, in my opinion), this song may just be one of the best songs released in the past five years. Dua is loved in the community, and it’s not hard to picture everyone, myself included, turning 360 degrees as Dua tells us she’s done ‘a full 180’. Having saved the early part of our quarantine with the entirety of her Future Nostalgia album, Dua deserved to be the Queen of Pride this year.
‘La Vita Nuova’ – Christine and the Queens, Caroline Polacheck: With its slow thumping beat and angelic vocals, this is pop at its best. Openly pansexual and genderqueer, Christine and the Queens is one of the most dynamic queer acts out there, and as we move into a new decade, it is the performers from the community that deserves to be highlighted and celebrated at Pride.
‘Savage Remix’ – Megan Thee Stallion, Beyoncé: Beyoncé singing about only fans? That’s gay culture right there, and I won’t hear any different. Queen B shows she is a woman of the people. Moreover, this remix is just really bloody good—and with the kind of lyrics many in the LGBT+ community cherish, with emphasis on owning your own sexuality, this is certain to be a mainstay at pride this year. Hopefully come June 2021 we will all be able to sing about how we’re all savage.
‘Always’ – Waze & Odyssey, George Michael, Mary J Blige, Tommy Theo: Dance beats? Check. A remix of a classic by one of the best-selling gay musicians of all time? Check. A drag queen redux music video? Check. This song is still being market towards a Pride season that isn’t physically taking place. It’s fun and upbeat, and I would seriously suggest checking out the original song. As if you haven’t already…
‘Never Really Over’ – Katy Perry: Katy seems to have an interesting relationship with the community. Is she really a gay icon? No one can seem to agree on the answer to that question. She’s been quite the outspoken ally, but until recently, she still seemed to struggle to gain everyone’s support. Arguably this release has changed a lot of that with a great beat. ‘Never Really Over’ was the perfect comeback song, and we all love a good comeback—after all, Cher’s made her entire career off it!
As we move through and navigate a virtual Pride season it’s worth remembering that those of us who can celebrate from the comfort of our homes are especially lucky. There will be many members of our community at uni who simply can’t be themselves when at home. If you do one thing this Pride season, remember to check on your LGBT+ friends. Outside of university life, many people around the world still can’t safely be themselves either, and Pride season should first and foremost serve to highlight and campaign against their struggles. All the tunes set aside, Pride started as a revolution, and it should stay that way.
Stay alert. Stay safe. Stay savage.
Check out Joseph’s playlist, ‘pride in quarantine‘, on Cherwell Spotify (@cherwellmusic).