I would like to thank the Bernard Butler Gets All The Music icon for being so apropos throughout this ordeal. OM. NOM. NOM.
Bloc Party, "I Still Remember" [lyrics]
I know I've talked about how unbearably cute this song is. It is gag-inducingly cute. It is punch-your-own-face cute. They are SCHOOLBOYS. They are IN UNIFORM. They are TOTALLY IN LOVE BUT TOO SHY TO ADMIT IT. Also, "you should have asked me for it / I would have been brave." So. Fucking. Cute. HE KEPT HIS TIE. I can't even talk about this coherently, it's so adorable. It's like fluffy kittens. I don't think it's one of the best Bloc Party songs, but it's totally one of the best queer songs.
Blur, "Girls & Boys" [lyrics]
Like I said when the preliminary list came in: I'm really surprised to see this song. I imagine that if Queericytes were about five years older on average, we wouldn't be discussing it now, because everyone would have been all "AHHH RAAAGH 'GIRLS & BOYS' NO MOOOORE." What I'm getting at is that it was played to hell and back in the mid-90s. On the other hand, this does have to be the most perfect gender-bendy chorus ever composed, and the message is sweet. Pretty much all it needs to be the ultimate safe sex anthem is "USE PROTECTION!" yelped in it somewhere.
David Bowie, "Rebel Rebel" [lyrics]
Even in the mid-70s, gender roles were more rigidly defined than they are now; one's mother might have panicked about a girl's gender presentation if she like... had short hair. There's a very good chance that the character Bowie was imagining in 1974 isn't bendy at all by today's standards, or it's a feminist anthem--or it's possible that the whole shebang is extremely queer and our heroine is actually a fine-boned gentleman in a dress. (It happens.) But really... who cares? It's such a good song!
Death Cab For Cutie, "Brothers On A Hotel Bed" [lyrics]
I can see why people think it's a downer and how it could be interpreted as fairly gender-neutral, but I really want it to be gay. How many gay songs are there about lifelong relationships? About love that devolves into complacency? I do persist in finding the song totally romantic--the sweetness of the delivery and the lyrics suggest that it's just the one partner whose passion is waning; the narrator still seems to be feeling a lot of love. Tragic, but sweet. Also, the production? SO GOOD.
Franz Ferdinand, "Michael" [lyrics]
For me, 2004 was a pretty bleak year musically; in retrospect, it's one of the gayest, but at the time, there wasn't much coming out that was both queer and appealing to my britpop sensibilities. Into this void fell "Michael," the most shameless, blatant gay song by a bunch of straight boys for at least a decade. Part of its magnificence is that there is no way for more repressed fans to wank it into being remotely heterosexual: he states clearly that he is a man, and is looking forward to rubbing up on the stubble of someone named Michael. And man, he's SO into it. ♥ How can you say no? It's got to be near the top.
Garbage, "Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)" [lyrics]
Another one of Shirley's unfortunate JT LeRoy fandom songs, but this one was inspired by a character who was always known to be fictional, so at least we have that. He was also a 12-year-old prostitute. However, it's very easy to pretend that the song doesn't have a creepy backstory, and it is sweet and celebratory. And hey, slashgirls love prostitutes. (And Shirley Manson? INDESCRIBABLY HOT.)
Green Day, "Coming Clean" [lyrics]
This appears to be the only coming out song in the top 15; I think that's because lots of people like Green Day, not because it's the best coming out song ever written. (Come on, "Take Your Mama" beats the hell out of it.) I do love the idea behind "I've found out what it takes to be a man," and I have to say, I don't hate Green Day in the top 15--attracting a mainstream punk following in the early 90s while having an openly bisexual singer and touring with Pansy Division is fucking ballsy. But this song? Eh.
IAMX, "Sailor" [lyrics]
This song is obviously about a sticky bisexual threesome, but I'm not clear on the details. What's all this about childlike lipstick fights? However, I love that the song operates under the assumption that you're familiar with the idea of sailors taking what they can get during long months at sea, and "love me like you love her" is a fantastically dirty, understated line. This one is the way to go if you're looking for some good old-fashioned kinky filth.
The Kinks, "Lola" [lyrics]
I love the story behind this one: apparently the Kinks' manager spent all night dancing with a transwoman not once, but on two separate occasions. Dude, I think you've got a preference there. And why not? Lola is clearly pretty awesome, with her bone-crushing hugs and assertive attitude. And hey, entitled white dudes, here's how you write a non-douchey, humorous song about queer subjects: it's kind of silly and lighthearted, but it's still really sweet.
Placebo, "Burger Queen" [lyrics]
I think this one is pretty funny, too, in a more self-deprecating way. You know, we all grow up with this idea of Placebo as a band who write very serious songs about serious subjects, but they're pretty tongue-in-cheek. I especially like this one because it lends a layer of authenticity to Brian Molko's femme-bisexual persona; like, yeah, he had an awkward time growing up as a queer guy, the way most queer guys do. In their more recent songs in particular, I get the sense that they've realized that their entire English-speaking audience is basically on board because they make for good slash, so they feel compelled to include something a bit gay on each album. Not so here! This is genuine gay!
Placebo, "Lady Of The Flowers" [lyrics]
I haven't read Our Lady Of The Flowers, the Jean Genet novel from which this title is drawn, so I can't tell if this song is borrowing anything but the title. Maybe it is, but I'm not convinced. Could be that they just liked the phrase "lady of the flowers," and there is nothing queerer than Molko spotting the spine of a Genet book in a library going on here. It's a great song, though--I like that absurdly 90s guitar.
Placebo, "My Sweet Prince" [lyrics]
So I think we're all aware that I think teenage Placebo fans sanctimoniously announcing that the song is about heroin are the most annoying thing on the planet. Ignoring the fact that it's very easy to personify drugs without making a big homoerotic thing of it, there's nothing within the text of the song to suggest that the dragon and the prince are the same thing. And I thought the official stance was that the phrase was lifted from one of Molko's girlfriends? So in conclusion, it totally is a love song, albeit a love song about a relationship fucked up on drugs, so shut up, everybody. Gay, gay, gay, and probably my favorite gay Placebo song. SO THERE.
Placebo, "Nancy Boy" [lyrics]
The truest thing ever written about "Nancy Boy," from a Melody Maker interview circa 1996: "'Nancy Boy' is one of the best songs on Placebo, a thrilling blowsy glam-punk come-on that flirts with Suede's 'The Drowners' across a crowded room." Music magazines have yet to match the sheer perfection of that sentence. The songs are vaguely similar musically, but the characters in them are definitely two sides of the same coin. (In fact, if you took a look at original slash fiction from around 2001--the stuff where people get around real person controversy by inventing their fantasy femme boys and giving them drama--you'll find that the archetypal pairing is basically drowner/nancy boy.) So I have a lot of affection for "Nancy Boy," but I think Suede does it better, because Anderson still doesn't whine about how stupid and embarrassing his youthfully explicit lyrics are.
The Smiths, "This Charming Man" [lyrics]
This song came up on shuffle when we were on our way to Lollapalooza, and basically the entire car started belting it out--mostly to drown Morrissey out, I imagine, but also because you are born with the words to "This Charming Man" in your head. (It's also impossible not to dance to it, and to look cool while dancing to it--it turns us all into Carlton.) Moz is not my favorite person and sometimes I think his lyrics are unbearably stupid (explosive kegs between my legs--oh my god, why would you make me think about your withered old balls, man!?), but I think he nails it here. Understandably, because dashing gents tempting young men away from their engagements to girls seems to be a favorite subject of his. It has to rank high just on "why pamper life's complexity when the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat?"--so gloriously vague and suggestive!
TATU, "All The Things She Said" [lyrics]
I don't know about you, but in 2002, right in the midst of the scariest Bush years, I did not expect to see foreign schoolgirls making out on MTV. Not too amazing now, when it's clear that TATU were a spookily-manufactured pair of fauxmos, but at the time? Holy shit. I think it's an interesting quirk in the story of queer music of the last decade, but it wouldn't get my vote, because I think lyrics composed by teams of songwriters are not very... Queerics. But I know that for a lot of you, "All The Things She Said" is probably the first brush with overtly lesbian themes in music that you ever had, and when you're an insecure pubescent queer kid in Kansas, even stuff like this is enough to make you feel less alone--so I can't begrudge its inclusion.
Choose wisely! Pick as many as you like, but remember that songs by well-known artists get more votes as a matter of course, so before you check the box by anything, ask yourself if you're okay with that song being #1. And feel free to share your reasoning or beg people to vote for your favorite in the comments, but don't be a dick.
1-15: Pick your favorite queer songs. Which is number one?
Like the others, I'll remind you to vote the next time I update the site, and then we'll see how it goes from there; I might compile the final list in the middle of next week, or I might leave it another week if the results are really unsatisfying. (By which I mean few votes, not votes for the wrong songs.)
If you missed the previous rounds, your time is running out! Here: