2024 is finally here, meaning there’s no better time to start filling this year’s playlists with songs from your favortie 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 Lil Nas X’s long awaited return single to Kali Uchis’ gorgeous new album, check out just a few of our favorite releases from this week below:
Lil Nas X, “J CHRIST”
With the amount of not-so-righteous fury Lil Nas X created for the release of his newest single, you would be forgiven for expecting a controversial, buck wild track. But what the rapper’s new song “J CHRIST” exudes instead nothing short of unbothered confidence. On this bouncing new song, Lil Nas emphasizes his return to music after a year away, proclaiming “b—h, I’m back like J Christ/ I’m finna get the gays hype.” The star employs what works for him — high-camp delivery, simple beats and lots of flexing — in service of his long-awaited comeback (complete with another stunning video).
Kali Uchis, ORQUÍDEAS
We won’t mince words — Kali Uchis’s fourth stuido album ORQUÍDEAS is a masterpiece. Throughout this 14-track instant classic, the Colombian star weaves her own Spanish-language tale of luxurious self-actualization, ranging from raging revenge (“Te Mata”) to doe-eyed infatuation (“Tu Corazón Es Mío…”). That fact is only further assisted by Uchis’s genre-spanning vision, bouncing between heartfelt R&B and fiery reggaeton with reckless abandon throughout the LP. Perhaps the most stunning example of her flirtation with new styles comes on “Igual Que Un Ángel,” where Uchis drops the disco ball and dances the night away with the once and future king of corridos tumbados, Peso Pluma. Make no mistake, Kali Uchis is here for the long haul, and ORQUÍDEAS is just the proof of concept to confirm that fact.
Serpentwithfeet, “Safe Word”
In times of crisis — which have become invariably more frequent in recent years — there is a safety to be found in intimacy. Serpentwithfeet takes that concept and runs with it on his lush new single “Safe Word.” The undulating song sees Serpent reassuring his lover that as long as they’re together, all will be well — a gently strumming guitar underlines his message, lulling the listener into a sense of self-security within moments. Sweet, tender and doting, “Safe Word” wastes no time fulfilling the promise of its title.
MICHELLE, “NEVER AGAIN”
Once you start listening to Michelle’s “Never Again,” you’ll find yourself stuck in a dichotomy of opposing tones. On the one hand, the song’s delicate melody and soft rhythms will immediately put you in a place of placid comfort, like a warm hug at the end of a hard day. On the other, the lyrics will tell a very different story — one of regret and firm boundaries, where the band tells their former flame that they’re done for good. “So never again, never with you/ I wanna rewind and undo,” they sing. Putting those seemingly competing concepts together, though, makes for yet another excellent track from the rising New York sextet.
Aaron Lee Tasjan, “Horror of it All”
Growing up queer is rarely a particularly fun experience, and Aaron Lee Tasjan is ready to reflect on the “Horror of it All” with his latest single. Taking an 80’s, glam-rock inspired look at the LGBTQ high school experience, Tasjan carefully illustrates a portrait of hormones, anxiety, fear, delusion and ultimately self-confidence. If you’re concerned about the song lacking more modern flair, don’t fret — Tasjan sprinkles in just enough hyperpop, synthwave flair to make “Horror of it All” feel like a breath of fresh air.
Bright Light Bright Light, “You Want My …”
If you’re still in the mood for some ’80s flair, then Bright Light Bright Light is here to deliver. With his new single “You Want My …,” Welsh singer-songwriter Rod Thomas embraces a Pet Shop Boys-esque sonic sensibility — complete with sinister synths, bombastic drums and a flair for dramatic lyrics. Waving goodbye to another lover while entering the dancefloor, Thomas makes sure to throw a cheeky wink to George Michael in as well, referencing his classic single “I Want Your Sex” as the delectable chorus makes touchdown.
Let’s amp up the angst, shall we? K.Flay fuels up her latest release “Carsick” with a lethal dose of the stuff from the moment she opens her mouth. Vivid imagery and drilling production create a perpetual state of unease throughout the opening lines, before exploding into a fiery chorus kissing-off a toxic ex. Sure, the metaphor of a brutal car crash for a failed relationship may have been done before, but rarely to this visceral an effect — something K.Flay has always excelled at.
Sarah Barrios, “Teenage Rebellion”
To every person who once exclaimed to a parent that they just don’t understand, this song is for you. Singer-songwriter Sarah Barrios infuses her thrilling new anthem “Teenage Rebellion” — which also serves as the official theme song for Fantasy High: Junior Year, the latest season of the extremely popular Dungeons & Dragons actual play show Dimension 20 — with every ounce of insurgency a good pop-rock track can muster. Guitars rage and voices chant as Barrios recounts the frustration of those final years of youth, while reminding herself that things will ultimately be alright. After all, “it’s our time, it’s our year!”
Check out all of our picks on Billboard’s Queer Jams of the Week playlist below:
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