Kickstart Your Pride Playlist with These 35 Songs

·7-min read
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

2020 has likely changed the way that the world looks at Pride. With the global pandemic and protests for racial equity shaping last June, many of us are entering this June with a much-needed reminder of the true meaning of the month, as well as the events that kicked it off over 50 years ago.

Of course, Pride month is for celebrating. And truly celebrating Pride means finding ways to embody the radical roots of the Stonewall riots and Queer Liberation Movement throughout history. After all, there’s no better way to stand up and cherish our community than by making direct steps to ensure that all members of the LGBTQ+ community feel affirmed, protected, and supported, socially and systematically.

Another great way to celebrate this June is uniting with our fellow LGBTQ+ friends and allies in spaces that feel safe, fun, and freeing. Often looks like a good old fashioned dance party. And sometimes that means blasting “MONTERO” and making your best attempt to pole dance your way down to hell.

Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered with a playlist that is sure to keep the celebration pumping all month long - or, at least until the minutes on your Zoom dance party run out. From the classics to new school, the baby gay bops and the ally-friendly anthems, here is a Pride playlist that is sure to get you grooving however you choose to celebrate.

Lil Nas X - “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”

When You Should Play It: Every hour on the hour, if not more. Bonus points for incorporating any pole dancing or lap dances on Satan.

SOPHIE - “Immaterial”

When You Should Play It: There will likely be (and should be) plenty of SOPHIE tributes in Pride playlists this year. This transcendent track feels especially meaningful, as the hyperpop pioneer sings, “And, no matter where I go, you’ll always be here in my heart.”

Princess Nokia - “Tomboy”

When You Should Play It: When you or any friend feeling like a tomboy wants an introductory walk-in anthem.

Remi Wolf - “Photo ID”

When You Should Play It: When you’re going through your phone-wallet-keys check before heading to the venue. (Seriously, don’t forget your ID.)

Hayley Kiyoko - “Girls Like Girls”

When You Should Play It: When you need a way to “tell the neighbors you’re not sorry if you’re breaking walls down.” Hopefully in, like, a subversive, metaphorical way, though … Not literally.

Steve Lacy — "Like Me"

When You Should Play It: Whenever you want to lament about your pre-coming out angst without spoiling the mood. This grooving track is a celebration of solidarity in queerness and in stanning Steve Lacey. (The song is nine-minutes long, but the transitions are worth it.)

Mitski — "Nobody"

When You Should Play It: Even the queen of yearning needs a bop in her discography, and you need one in your rotation, too. You yearner, you. (Bonus points if you use this one to soothe any single friend sorrows into a desperation dance party.)

Frank Ocean — "Chanel"

When You Should Play It: When you’re looking for an R&B track that keeps up the stamina, “Chanel” is sure to set it off from its opening line.

Rostam — “Bike Dream"

When You Should Play It: When you want to debate whether Rostam’s lyrics are actually an artistic exploration of duality in one’s identity, or just your fantasy love triangle. Hey, all dreams are up for interpretation.

The Psychedelic Furs "Love My Way"

When You Should Play It: Ideally, at an Italian rave in the 1980s, dancing your heart out while your admirer, Timothée Chalamet, looks on in awe. Otherwise, when you need a New Wave kick to get things weird.

Whitney Houston — “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

When You Should Play It: At the start of the party. No one gets the party started like Whitney.

Lady Gaga — “Born This Way”

When You Should Play It: Anytime, really. If an attendee doesn't at least admit that the Gaga song is a defining Pride song, then you can usher them out of your function.

Elton John — “The Bitch Is Back”

When You Should Play It: "Bitch" is a great throwback. It's also a really great way to troll someone by turning it on when they re-enter a room. DJ'ing is a sport.

Betty Who — “All Things”

When You Should Play It: When someone in the room mentions that they're an ally and loves to watch Queer Eye.

Dolly Parton — “Baby I’m Burnin’”

When You Should Play It: Dolly's short-lived disco period was a strange one, but it produced "Baby I'm Burnin'" which is practically designed to liven up a room.

David Bowie — “Rebel Rebel”

When You Should Play It: When you want to remind everyone that the best of the '70s didn't just belong to disco.

Queen — “Radio Ga Ga”

When You Should Play It: Pull this out when you need to remind the room that one of the best rock bands to exist was fronted by a wildly talented vocalist who happened to be a gay icon.

Kacey Musgraves — “High Horse”

When You Should Play It: Anytime you want a bit of a country influence. "Rainbow" is a bit too slow for a Pride dance jam and "Follow Your Arrow" has been worn out. Give this a try.

Madonna — “Vogue”

When You Should Play It: This is a Pride playlist staple. Play it whenever you want.

Lizzo — “Phone”

When You Should Play It: When you've lost your phone. AKA, the end of the night.

RuPaul — “Sissy That Walk”

When You Should Play It: When the same person who mentioned being an ally announces to the room that they also watch RuPaul's Drag Race.

Carly Rae Jensen — “Julien”

When You Should Play It: Play this when someone is reminded of their ex, but you don't want to bring the room down with those emotions.

Scissor Sisters — “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’”

When You Should Play It: Turn to this one when someone mentions that they wish there were still good glam rock bands putting out music today.

Janelle Monae — “Make Me Feel”

When You Should Play It: Play this when you want to amp up the sex appeal of the party without losing any of the upbeat vibes.

Cher — “If I Could Turn Back Time”

When You Should Play It: Like Madonna, Cher is a Pride playlist staple. Play this at any time.

Trixie Mattel — “Break Your Heart”

When You Should Play It: Set this one up when you want to infuse some country music into the list, but also want to shock half the room when you reveal the singer is actually a drag queen.

Mika — “Grace Kelly”

When You Should Play It: Like the Scissor Sisters, Mika is excellent glam rock. When you're inundated with the same synth pop vibe that's dominating radio right now, set the room up with some Mika.

George Michael — “Freedom! ‘90”

When You Should Play It: Listen. "Freedom! '90" is a nearly seven minute song. That's a lot of auditory real estate, so don't be afraid to play this between two solid jams when you need a come down period.

The Village People — “YMCA”

When You Should Play It: When an unnamed construction worker shows up to your event.

Prince — “Kiss”

When You Should Play It: If a few songs have gone by without a dead ringer, put "Kiss" on. Everyone loves Prince.

Kylie Minogue — “Love at First Sight”

When You Should Play It: Have this at the ready when your token English/Australian attendee grabs their third vodka soda and asks "Where's Kylie?"

Todrick Hall — “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels”

When You Should Play It: If the party is missing a strong beat, whip this one out. It's also an instruction song, so everyone can get involved. There might be some education needed though.

Lady Gaga ft. Bradley Cooper — “Shallow”

When You Should Play It: This is a newly minted crowd pleaser. If the party hits a lull, whip this out. Everyone wants to scream with Gaga.

Troye Sivan — “Bloom”

When You Should Play It: Google the meaning of the song. That should answer the question.

Tegan and Sara — “Closer”

When You Should Play It: When the night is coming to a close. It's the most upbeat way to start winding the evening down.

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