Pride month is over but pop culture is still providing plenty of ways to celebrate, educate ourselves and feel seen. From a pop titan embracing disco, an Irish queer pop star finding his voice and a ground-breaking new trans documentary, here’s some culture picks to kick off July.
Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure
Jessie Ware has jumped between dance music and her own sleek, soulful pop throughout her career, but on her fourth album, What’s Your Pleasure, she embraces disco, soul and the glow of the glitter ball. Sleek, sexy and sophisticated it’s a grown-up dance pop album stuffed with memorable choruses.
‘Save A Kiss’ is one of the year’s best pop singles, closing track ‘Remember Where You Are’ is a sweeping cinematic classic in the making, and the title track is a Moroder-style dance floor freak out. All killer no filler, Jessie Ware has never had more fun on album and it is a joy to listen to.
Jack Rua – Narcissus
Ireland’s Jack Rua has been carving out a lane for his clever queer pop since his debut single release last year. Rua’s first mini album collects previously released material alongside new cuts that show an artist finding their sound with aplomb. New songs like, ‘Reckless Abandon’, show that Rua is making dance pop that will tickle the fancy of true pop obsessives.
Sexy, melancholic, introspective and fun, Rua’s ear for hooks and melodrama make Narcissus an excellent introduction to a new pop talent.
While certain high profile media types take aim at the trans community, it’s important to look at the history of the community in the media to see how we can do better. Netflix documentary Disclosure is an informative and well made history lesson that couldn’t come at a better time. A rare look at the trans community that centres them both behind and in front of the camera, the film picks early representations of gender non-conforming characters in pop culture and unpacks tropes like crime shows using dead trans women as a plot point.
The analysis is clever and layered, the documentary notes how race and transphobia are linked, and also neatly unpacks the much discussed “cis men playing trans” trope. The film doesn’t hit every single movie of note (groundbreaking trans movie Tangerine is only seen briefly) or always go beyond the concept of “representation” to ask what’s next, but what Disclosure does well is offer insight, analysis and a much-needed history lesson.
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