It seems that every year Pride month comes around, more corporations tighten their grip around our cause as a marketing fad. This month was also a sobering reminder that there are also some musicians that adopt the same strategy (ahem). Growing weary of this trend, I learned to hold fast to artists that more meaningfully contribute to the LGBTQ cultural tapestry — be it actual queer creators, or the misunderstood women we champion. As a lover of music videos, I expected some interesting outputs surrounding Pride, and thankfully, many artists came through. Here are seven of our favorite releases that have been giving us life this June.
Ever Again – Robyn
Robyn once again proves herself an indisputable icon. In the music video for Ever Again, the singer saunters and gyrates in an all-white ensemble with a performance dripping with purple rain. The concept is remarkably simple, but striking in its attention to detail with surreal, Romanesque set pieces and retro multi-camera format. Also, she does sexy time with a microphone stand.
Different Shades of Blue – The Buildings
As a promotion for their upcoming cassette reissue of “CELL-O-PHANE” through Middle Class Cigars, The Buildings return with a tender and silly visual for Different Shades of Blue. The band traverses through beloved gig venues, relaxes in the kitchen, and DIY silkscreens their merch together. It’s a love letter to their loyal fanbase three years after their highly-celebrated LP.
Religion (u can lay your hands on me) – Shura
I’ve been waiting three years for Shura to come back, and in this video I get to see her like I never have before, as a gay pope. It was a delicious kick in the face to my Catholic guilt to watch a slow burn ensue between two nuns while Shura knowingly looks at the camera. The video perfectly captures the feeling of just craving to finally cut the tension between you and a potential lover. Yes, there will be forbidden fruit imagery, choreo, and vaping.
Number One Fan – MUNA
Is there anything more queer than obsession? The music video for the trio’s lead single off their upcoming album chronicles a crazed part-stalker, part-fangirl (there’s a word for that, right?) going great lengths to imitate her idol in nearly every facet. From sulking on social media in public transportation to a near-perfect DDR run in the arcade, there’s nothing she hasn’t gotten down. Turns out though, some things aren’t as they seem at first, and sometimes you have no choice but to stan yourself. Major plus points for excellent production design and the hazy, grainy film textures to match this ‘80s-inspired synth-pop banger.
Blame It On Your Love – Charli XCX (ft. Lizzo)
In this campy parody of a Calvin Klein commercial, Charli XCX imagines a near future where love has transcended the boundaries of the modern Homo sapiens. The Tyrone Lebon-esque shots of cheeky sci-fi hipster caricatures donning very impressive prosthetics and Moschino clothing were just the right balance of fabulous and funny. Charli and Lizzo are undoubtedly charismatic in their performances, showing that both are forces to be reckoned with in the world of pop.
Cheap Queen – King Princess
In the second single off of her upcoming LP, King Princess celebrates the slacker life and laments the artificial kindness that comes with her newfound fame. Lounging on the couch in her signature ribbed tank top, she flips through the television seeing herself enact parodies of popular cable network tropes. She shows that she’s as easy to please as she is eager to please with her classic sense of crass, absurd humor.
I’m Gay – Eugene Yang
In a world of sponsored posts, and apology videos as a subgenre, I’ve gotten cynical about content creators using life milestones as a half-hearted means for clicks and clout. The Try Guys’ Eugene Lee Yang proves me wrong on this assumption with a touching, carefully-crafted coming out video. He dances in several styles over two ODESZA tracks to paint an earnest picture of what it means to grow up and come out as gay as an Asian-American man. It’s a beautiful narrative accentuated by excellent aesthetic choices. On my first viewing, I had to pause and take a moment every now and then. If you haven’t seen this yet, please do.