As February draws to a close, freshen up your upcoming spring playlists with a few new songs from your favorite queer artists. Billboard Pride is here to help with First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
Kehlani, “Little Story”
There’s nothing little about the tale Kehlani weaves on her brand new single, “Little Story.” Sure, the minimalist production — paired with her crystal-clear voice — offers a taste of simplicity from the R&B star, but the songwriting employed throughout showcases Kehlani’s prowess as a wordsmith. Told from her perspective singing to a lost love, Kehlani urges them to “pick up the pen and write me into your story,” while the sound twists and shifts throughout the stunning song. “Little Story” is just another example of why Kehlani is currently at the top of her game.
Troye Sivan feat. Gordi, “Wait”
Just two days after the premiere of his new film Three Months, Troye Sivan is already giving his fans some more music with which to celebrate. “Wait,” his second single released in tandem with the film, shows Sivan fully embodying his character — a recent high-school graduate waiting to find out whether or not he’s tested positive for HIV, who falls in love with someone in a similar situation. With a more plugged-in, guitar-focused sound, as well as Sivan’s gorgeous voice soaring overhead like seagulls on a beach, “Wait” is instantly quintessential Troye Sivan.
Cavetown feat. beabadoobee, “Fall in Love With a Girl”
For every person who’s ever been stuck questioning their sexuality, Cavetown and Beabadoobee have written you a song. “Fall in Love With a Girl” sees the two stars narrating a tale from two perspectives — the outside observer and the girl in question — about sexual frustration, self-discovery and ultimately, finding love. The dreamy guitars and echoing harmonies only further help set the mood, as the pair harmonize on the pre-chorus, “She’ll love you carefully, drawing letters on the beach/ And you finally found a place where you don’t have to pretend.”
Deb Never, “Crutches”
Upon first listen, Deb Never’s new single “Crutches” may seem like another example of the star’s lo-fi aesthetic being expertly applied to some incisive songwriting. But listen again, and you’ll hear a pent-up frustration that immediately makes “Crutches” stand out from the pack — the relentless drumbeat, the pulsing bass line, and the audible frustration in Never’s voice bring a new flavor to the young star’s repertoire, and one that we certainly look forward to hearing more of.
Jake Wesley Rodgers, “Dark Bird”
While he broke through last year with a mix of moody-and-moving ballads and uptempo love songs, Jake Wesley Rogers is ready to take a brief turn into the dark side. On “Dark Bird,” the singer’s massive sound remains intact, but with a new pop-rock flavor added in to give his message just a little bit more edge. Reveling in the action of defiance itself, Rogers sounds practically gleeful as he takes on his status as the wary outsider, belting “Trade your halo for a pitchfork/ All good martyrs get the last word/ I got the last word.”
Dreamer Isioma, Goodnight Dreamer
Living the dream is one thing — but Dreamer Isioma is simply more interested in being their own dream. On Goodnight Dreamer, the debut album from the rising singer-songwriter, Isioma relishes in the creation of their own fantasy, much to the delight of any listener’s ears. Whether they’re hitting up the club with some carefree friends (“Sunset Drive”), or worrying about the pace of their relationship (“The Chase”), Isioma focuses not just on building her own sonic world, but on manifesting it into reality — and every second of it is glorious.
If you’re looking for a brief escape from the current mass hysteria encasing the world, then “Congratulations” by indie duo Boyish might be the song for you. In this indie pop-rock jam, the pair illustrate a story that almost everyone can relate to — crossing the line from “just friends” to “something more,” and the mind-twisting reality of what it feels like to take that step. The stripped-down, bedroom-pop-meets-grunge approach to the new song feels simultaneously comforting and distressing, perfectly mimicking the whirlwind of emotions on display in the song’s lyrics. If you’ve been looking for a new song to help tune out everything else, then “Congratulations,” you’ve found it.