From Cakes Da Killa to Alsaka Thunderfuck, with a little trans icon Shea Diamond thrown in for good measure, our Conor’s latest playlist is queer as fuck, folks.
Britney Spears teams up with Tinashe this month for the pop earworm, Slumber Party. Slinky, sophisticated and backed with an eye-popping video, it’s the perfect single for the pop icon. Noah Cyrus, teen little sister of Miley, makes an impressive debut on the chilly Make Me (Cry), teaming up with Labrinth for an off-beat but compelling pop ballad that may surprise you.
Trans singer-songwriter Shea Diamond makes an affirming and powerful debut with I Am Her, a modern day torch song that feels like a future queer anthem in the making. Cakes Da Killa was already a queer fave for his uncompromising flow as a rapper and his mix of ball culture, gay slang and sexuality in his lyrics. Debut album Hedonism sets out his stall as an important LGBT artist and one who certainly knows how to have a good time.
Alaska Thunderfuck (pictured) makes the campiest, draggiest pop album you’ve ever heard with Poundcake and it’s a delight. A glittery cocktail of drag in-jokes, shiny pop hooks and tongue-in-cheek humour, it’s a rush from start to finish.
Little Mix continue their quest to be the girl-group for the age we live in on Glory Days. Despite the odd moment of filler, the big moments feel suitably impressive, channeling everything you love about a good girlband. Dragonette continue to be an underrated pop force on new album Royal Blues. Tackling a break-up between two of the band’s members, it’s a full throttle, club-ready collection with melancholic lyrics scattered throughout. A dance record to make you weep while it makes you move.
Dawn Richard has built a cult following for her sophisticated and futuristic R’n’B and on Redemption she hones it with aplomb. It’s an album packed with big ideas that still knows when to make you dance, or make you sit still and pay attention.
The Weeknd’s gloomy R’n’B got a pop twist after a clutch of hits took him to new heights in 2015. After that breakthrough, he mines similar territory on new album Starboy. Gloomy thoughts on girls and partying are ever-present, woven around glossy production and hard to resist choruses. Daft Punk sprinkle pop magic on the title track and ‘I Feel It Coming’, but fans of his earlier, less chart-friendly fare may find this release a tad too bubblegum for their liking. For everyone else this is the sound of a pop heavyweight claiming his throne with ease.
Bruno Mars was already one of pop’s biggest stars when ‘Uptown Funk’, his collaboration with Mark Ronson, became the hit of 2014. That track’s pop appeal and throwback soul and funk influences sum up much of Mars’ third album, 24k Magic. Mars play the part of the cheesy but well-meaning lothario with aplomb on an album with little to no filler. Tracks like ‘Finesse’, ‘Chunky’ and ‘Perm’ show his knack for channeling everyone from Michael Jackson to James Brown. Breezy, brilliantly crafted feel-good pop worth, it’s weight in 24K gold.
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