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Loose Change: In Celebration of Pride Month

By Misc Penny Contributors

Intro by Erin Christie

Across the LGBTQIA+ community, June is a month of celebration — a time to celebrate queer liberation, and to celebrate the ability to be oneself and to love whomever and however one pleases — but it's also a month of remembrance and mourning, in acknowledgement of the very real struggles that still exist today, and the hardship the community has already overcome, much of which has been faced head-on by Black trans women and queer women of color. Of course, getting to where we are today in terms of LGBTQIA+ rights and freedoms has not been easy, and we're sadly nowhere near the finish line and even making steps backward every week it seems, but even still, taking a month out of the year to celebrate and to be mindful of this community's past isn't entirely unwarranted. Rather, it's a must.

Thus, with every passing summer, Pride Month eventually rolls around, leading capital-hungry corporate companies to brandish their own version of rainbow capitalism in the name of "solidarity," and LGBTQIA+ contemporaries to shake off the dust and feel empowered to unapologetically exist, to feel proud of their identity, which is a truly beautiful thing in of itself. Needless to say, it's always important to celebrate who you are, and to uplift those around you so that they can do the same, but with the rest of this particular Pride Month, I urge you to make an extra point to remind yourself that you deserve and have the right to be proud everyday, in spite of any force that might convince you otherwise, and that it took a lot to get us here.

To celebrate Pride Month, Penny contributors got together to list songs by their favorite LGBTQIA+ musicians, songs that speak on the queer experience at large, and songs that make them feel pride on a personal level. Listen along and read about a few contributors' picks below!





Maans Manikandan

  1. "Bloom" - Troye Sivan

  2. "Good as Hell" - Lizzo

The title track off sophomore studio (2018) is a metaphorical ode to the fact that sex and indulging in pleasure doesn't need to be gendered. As he details, you're entitled to make yourself feel good, get reckless, fall in love, and get emotional with whoever you want to, which is just the best part of the song. I would love to hear it blasted full volume at pride parades and just about anywhere in general. It's such a vibe.

I stumbled upon Lizzo's "Good as Hell" when I was playing a popular Spotify playlist on shuffle and my, oh my, this one's a total banger. The song, written by Lizzo and Ariana Grande, goes on to show that you can feel pretty being just who you are. It's an anthem for anyone and everyone, so go grab yourself some binge food, paint your nails, set the playlist on shuffle, groove to some tunes, and be whoever you want to be.


Hannah Forsyth

  1. “Angel” - Lava La Rue ft. Deb Never

  2. “Feel the Way I Want” - Caroline Rose

  3. “Stay in the Car” - Bachelor

In their own words, Lava La Rue "puts the NB in alt RNB." The queer non-binary artist and member of the West London NiNE8 collective makes effortless low-key hip hop and danceable contemporary R&B. "Angel," a track off their 2020 EP Butter-Fly, oozes with Lava’s ultra-cool confidence and a funky beat that makes me want to dance through the streets on a summer evening. A sultry vocal feature from Deb Never adds the perfect touch to this anthem of queer summer love.

"Feel the Way I Want" by Caroline Rose captures the true spirit of pride: breaking out of the confines of others' expectations and dancing your way through life with unapologetic self-love. It's practically scientifically proven that if you play this song while getting ready, it is impossible to have a bad time.

With their signature storytelling lyrics and emotive guitars, Melina Duterte (Jay Som) and Ellen Kempner (Palehound)’s debut album as Bachelor tackles the complexities of queer relationships, or in the case of "Stay in the Car," the strange feeling of becoming instantly captivated by strangers you’ll never see again.


Skylar O’Kane

  1. “Empty” - Kevin Abstract

"Empty" is a song by Texas rapper and singer Ian Simpson who goes by the name Kevin Abstract. This song, from his American Boyfriend LP, is about a relationship between Kevin and a boy from his home town, and his strained relationship with his mother due to his sexuality. The lyrics hint to Kevin’s real experiences as a gay teenager, including running away from home, missing out on formative experiences like prom, and being in love with someone that people think he shouldn’t be.


Sarah Zimmer

  1. "This Town" - Claud

  2. "Diet" - Shamir

  3. "Song in E" - Julian Baker

Claud’s bedroom-pop debut album Super Monster hardly lacks substance as it’s catchy bops explore themes that come along with being nonbinary. The record touches on classic tropes, and "This Town" revels in the feeling of wanting to escape after a breakup. Claud is absolutely a role model for LGBTQIA+ youth, but their music is universal and healing to everyone.

"Diet" by Shamir is a song of yearning. Shamir, being self-proclaimed as "aggressively queer" and Black, exists at the intersection of both identities, and navigating this in the music industry is something they are outspoken about. Shamir, like Claud, doesn’t need their music identified as queer music. Being queer is just who they are, and "Diet" captures their explosive personality in context with a love interest.

Julien Baker’s music has navigated the intersections of queerness, faith, and sobriety. Her new album, Little Oblivions, dives into her psyche during another relapse into alcoholism. Baker’s "Song in E" is a song of resenting mercy — she is intensely hard on herself, but her inherent softness shines through in ballads such as this one.



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