Yada yada: I went through all the trouble of finding youtube links and lyrics for all these songs for you, so you should listen to them. You can find all that and my babbling here:
Dresden Dolls, "Sex Changes" [lyrics]
Amanda Palmer has this scary-devoted fan posse, but why is there not more Brian Viglione love? The guy is amazing, back there all quietly crossdressing and rocking the shit out of this song. This is definitely not how normal (boring) people play the drums. Lyrically, just like "My Sweet Prince" is about drugs disguised as a gay relationship, "Sex Changes" seems to be about the consequences of sex, disguised as gender-bending. Some people are down with that, but others are purists who insist that the song needs to be intended as queer and solely about queer things. Which camp are you in?
Depeche Mode, "Never Let Me Down Again" [lyrics]
Oh my god, I LOVE THIS SONG. I swear, it's on every mix CD I've ever made. And you know what? I don't think it's about drugs. What it's about is a hot, steamy, power-imbalanced relationship with a man the narrator adores but isn't sure he can trust. Maybe they're literally getting high; maybe they're flying high on their reckless BDSM sex. Whatever it is, it's just PERFECT and dirty and so gay, and I would heartily recommend arranging an opportunity to scream "promises me I'm as safe as houses as long as I remember who's wearing the trousers" at the band while they're onstage before Dave Gahan's legs fall off.
The Decemberists, "On The Bus Mall" [lyrics]
Crap, I also LOVE THIS SONG. The production is genius--that guitar just sounds like Portland--and the lyrics kill me. Those of us who like the Decemberists love Colin Meloy for his brain, not his voice, and with good reason! This song is like a not-unbearably-pretentious My Own Private Idaho. And wow, kudos for making northwestern street kids into endearing protagonists and not snotty little assholes who show up in brand new sneakers and ask for your change. Seriously, though, it's so vivid and melancholy and hopeful. I have no idea how anyone's going to decide what to vote for in this round.
Manic Street Preachers, "Nobody Loved You" [lyrics]
This song? MORE LOVE. I try to minimize the inclusion of songs written about friends who've died (shit sorry Manics fans, I mean gone to Goa), because I think men are entitled to turn the sentimentality up to 11 in those situations without everyone trying to read something else into their relationship, but this song is... so gay. It is the gayest song about a man the writer allegedly wasn't screwing or in love with that I have ever heard. I can't even list all the lines that sound conspicuously gay to me, because it's ALL OF THEM. And musically, it's gorgeous--James Dean Bradfield is a guitarist who writes riffs instead of boring the crap out of you with a handful of chords over and over, and his vocals are as sweet and tragic as can be. However, I will never be able to hear him saying "And sit with me"--it's always "and sleep with me." THIS SONG IS SO GAY. Proponents of RPS will be thrilled.
Mika, "Billy Brown" [lyrics]
Oh Mika. If you had been just a tier lower, I would've sung your praises. As it is, you're up against some of the most genius, nuanced queer songs on the site, so what can I say? "Billy Brown" is a really cute, enjoyable song about the fluidity of sexuality, but it's probably not going to grip and inspire you like some of its competition. Oh Billy Brown, you are a victim of your tier!
Lou Reed, "Walk on the Wild Side" [lyrics]
This is the only song I've heard live that made me cry. Yeah, I am NOT ASHAMED. It's beautiful and understated and so non-judgmental: here's Lou Reed telling you about his queer friends, not to shock you or make you think he's super-hip, but because he thinks they're interesting people and he has a lot of affection for them. Forty years of alternative music has been trying to be half as effortlessly badass as Lou; "Bleed Like Me" is practically aping this song verbatim. I know singing his praises makes me excruciatingly uncool--the hip thing to do is to pretend that he's totally overrated, but 37 years on, a song that name-drops three transwomen and doesn't turn any of them into a joke is unusual. How can you overrate that?
Scissor Sisters, "Filthy/Gorgeous" [lyrics]
This is another one that would probably do really well elsewhere in the list, but it's just not gay enough to hold its own against its neighbors here. Or, well, it might if the voters were clubhopping gay boys, but I get the impression you guys like your queer tunes to have a bit more depth. And more than one queer verse. God, what a great song, though.
Scissor Sisters, "Take Your Mama" [lyrics]
BUT! Not as great as this one. That piano! The lyrics! It's one of the sweetest coming-out songs I have, since it's so much about community support--sounds like the gentleman's friends are offering to show his mother that being gay isn't all about methamphetamines and AIDS and raping babies. And you know, even if she never comes around, he's still got them! ♥ I think this one holds a dear place for every queer who loves his or her mommy, so its bubblegum sweetness might be enough to compete with all the intriguingly damaged homoeroticism floating around in this tier.
Suede, "The Drowners" [lyrics]
Ohhh, Jesus. From the start, I've really, really wanted "The Drowners" to do well. The song is just a fucking classic; how can you get around it? It has one of the most distinctive drum intros out there, and Brett Anderson's snotty, nasal coquet-crooning suit a song about a teenage boy who thinks he's doing something delightfully naughty by getting it on with another boy perfectly. The vocals in this song are why the cliche "like the cat that got the cream" was invented, because there's no other way to describe them, and that extra heaping of personality really elevates this one well past "another fauxmo song." He's just having such a good time! And it's so dirty! Oh god, LOVE.
Tough decisions! Feel free to think about it for awhile; I'll remind you to vote before I compile the final list. Speaking of, next week I'm going to poll for the top 15 all at once. Some votes trickled in after I had officially closed the preliminary survey, and I was going to ignore them, but I looked on a whim and there was a lot of movement at the very top. "Nancy Boy" and "Rebel Rebel" are tied for first place now, for one. So I figure I'll just do them all at once, because it's so much more exciting if we don't already know the winner, right? And I want to finish this before it starts to feel like work.
Here's the poll! There are nine songs; pick as many as you need to pick.
16-24: Pick your favorite queer songs. THEY'RE AWESOME.
As for comments, same rules apply: be positive, share your thoughts, don't be an asshole.
In these last few tiers, there have been some songs that didn't get any votes, and I'm not sure what to do with them. It just seems so weird to have a song in the middle of the list that no one will admit to liking, but they did earn their position in the very first round of voting. So I thought I'd poll you on that, too:
Previous rounds, if you still need to vote:
The original list