Queer Jams of the Week: New Music From Arlo Parks, Demi Lovato, Hayley Kiyoko & More
With Pride less than a week away, freshen up your playlists with some new songs from your favorite queer artists. Billboard Pride is proud to present the latest edition of Queer Jams of the Week, our roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
From Arlo Parks’ long-awaited new album, to Demi Lovato’s rocked-out version of a fab-favorite track, check out just a few of our favorite releases from this week below:
Arlo Parks, My Soft Machine
For all of the talk of your 20s being “the best years of your life,”rising alternative star Arlo Parks has a slightly different take. With My Soft Machine, her sophomore album, the UK artist floats between existential dread over the ending of relationships (“Weightless,” “I’m Sorry”) and introspective musings on self-worth (“Impurities,” “Devotion”), all done with an eclectic blend of dream-pop and rock to form a singularly fascinating project. It’s a further testament to Parks’ inimitable talent and vision that My Soft Machine stands firmly as a distinctive, moving body of work, even in the wake of an album as lauded as Collapsed in Sunbeams.
Demi Lovato, “Cool for the Summer (Rock Version)”
After reimagining her much-beloved song “Heart Attack” as a rock anthem earlier this year, Demi Lovato is ready to give you more. This time around, they’re taking their warm-weather ditty “Cool for the Summer” and amping up the intensity. With raging guitars, pounding drums and an all new set of vocal tracks, the song is radically transformed into an edgy, gritty pop-punk single worthy of Lovato’s latest musical era.
Hayley Kiyoko, “Greenlight”
Hayley Kiyoko is tired of waiting for permission to live her life — so she’s giving herself the “Greenlight” on her latest single. Co-written with pop luminary Jesse St. John, the new track from Lesbian Jesus keeps her streak of life-affirming pop singles alive, playing with delicious falsetto while accompanied by stacked synths and a steady bass line. Be warned, though; once you press play, you’ll “wanna keep goin’ and goin’,” as Kiyoko says.
Towa Bird, “Boomerang”
Living in a long distance relationship is maddening, as rising singer-guitarist Towa Bird can attest. On her latest single “Boomerang,” Bird agonizes about the “separation anxiety” of being in L.A. with a girlfriend in New York — sure, she knows she’ll see her soon, but that doesn’t make the time in between any easier. Punctuated with some excellent garage-rock sounds, and you’ve got a theme song for the frustration of loving long distance on your hands.
Miya Folick, Roach
To say that Miya Folick’s new album Roach is about any one thing in particular is to largely miss the point of its construction. With this wide-ranging, often-chaotic sophmore album, the alt-pop singer instead takes a scattershot approach when it comes to subject matter — whether that’s serene self-reflection (“So Clear,”) bitter anger (“Cockroach”) or familial dynamics (“Mommy”). The most consistent thing about this extensive project is the top-tier quality, keeping you invested for the entirety of its 42-minute runtime.
Cat Burns, “You Don’t Love Me Anymore”
There are a plethora of reasons why a relationship might end — Cat Burns is simply asking her ex to give her one. On “You Don’t Love Me Anymore,” the UK up-and-comer begs her former lover to “list all my baggage,” or “drag my ego to the floor” rather than use the song’s dreaded title when describing why their relationship has to end. It’s a heartbreaking song made even more gutwrenching by how endlessly relatable it is.
Royal & the Serpent, “One Nation Underdogs”
If you’re planning on protesting the seemingly endless onslaught of anti-LGBTQ bills being proposed around the country this Pride Month, then Royal & the Serpent has just the song to soundtrack your demonstration. “One Nation Underdogs” speaks directly to our current dark moment in history, throwing a defiant middle finger in the face of right-wing politicians, offering this grinning kiss-off in response to their attacks: “There’s more of us and less of you/ We’re the future where you fell off.”
Jeffrey Eli, “Sleeping Beauty”
If you somehow haven’t heard Jeffrey Eli’s haunting voice on TikTok, now is the time to remedy that situation. With his latest release “Sleeping Beauty,” Eli claims his space and plays with the fluidity of his ridiculous range to drive home a point. Examining his own childhood, Eli deconstructs the gender binary right before our eyes — and the moment he’s done so, you’ll realize that the music followed perfectly along the journey, building into a glorious explosion of sound. Seriously, if you haven’t listened to Jeffrey Eli, stop reading this and go listen.
Check out all of our picks on Billboard’s Queer Jams of the Week playlist below:
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