Many of us have fond memories tied to love songs. Whether it’s the song that was playing when you met the person you’d share your first kiss with or the song you danced to at your wedding, songs can have incredibly emotional effects on people.
The Problem with Love Songs
For a long time, however, the LGBT community has been unable to access soundtracks to their love stories. Popular music traditionally only reflects the heterosexual experience, with the pronouns used in songs reflecting that. Even LGBT artists often change the lyrics to represent straight relationships, due to fear of an unaccepting public or pressure from their management.
There have been exceptions throughout time, of course, with some brave artists proudly creating LGBT Love songs to represent their authentic relationships. Recently, there has been even more progress, with LGBT artists like Frank Ocean and Troye Sivan experiencing mainstream success.
If you’re looking for some of the best LGBT Love songs to serve as the soundtrack to your next date, keep reading for some suggestions.
Him – Sam Smith
Sam Smith has been open about his sexuality from the beginning of his career, even referencing being gay when he won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2016.
While many of his songs include male pronouns, Smith considers “HIM” one of the songs he is most proud of. The song begins with Smith speaking to God, saying that he can’t give up his lover. Even though that sounds pretty heavy, with Smith’s stunning vocals repeating how much he loves the man in his life, it’s actually a very pretty love song.
Smith has said that while singing the song makes him feel vulnerable, he is also incredibly empowered by being able to bring this message to less progressive areas of the world.
She Keeps Me Warm – Mary Lambert
Lambert gained recognition after being featured on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ LGBT anthem “Same Love.” She later turned her hook from that song into “She Keeps Me Warm,” where she uses same-sex pronouns to describe getting swept away by her dream girl.
The song also references Lambert’s Christian faith, as she explains how she sees no contradiction in being a lesbian and feeling strong in her faith. “She Keeps Me Warm” does exactly what the song says – makes you feel warm and cozy, perfect for a romantic night with your partner.
Wild – Troye Sivan
When Sivan broke into the music scene, he did so knowing that he would be open about his sexuality. His debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, tackled all the topics you’d expect from a 20-year-old boy but didn’t shy away from using male pronouns for the subjects of his songs.
Sivan also made sure to produce inclusive music videos to show the LGBT relationships he wished he’d been able to see growing up. “Wild” features Sivan’s trademark dreamy vocals but is also equally as good for a night out as a night in. The lyrics beautifully capture the madness of young love and the desire to run away with the guy who’s driving you wild.
Better Than Love – Hayley Kiyoko
This former Disney star made waves in 2015 when she released her song “Girls Like Girls.” Today, she’s affectionately known as “Lesbian Jesus” by her online community of fans and continues to put out music using feminine pronouns for her love interests.
Kiyoko has come a long way from her days of singing with vague lyrical pronouns in a bubblegum pop girl group that once supported Justin Bieber on tour. “Better Than Love” is a pure pop tune that seems to encapsulate what it feels like to be in love. The song even talks about having a chill movie night, so it’s perfect for a romantic night with the one you love.
Hold Each Other – A Great Big World
This song is special for a number of reasons. Vocalist Chad King sang love songs with female pronouns throughout his musical career but decided that it was time to get real on this track. While bandmate Ian Axel sings about the woman he loves, King joins in to sing about the man in his life. The song offers something for everyone, in addition to having incredibly meaningful lyrics. Axel and King sing about having that special someone that keeps their hearts from “getting older” when the “nights get colder.” This song is truly a tearjerker.
Forrest Gump – Frank Ocean
When Frank Ocean released his LP, Channel Orange, in 2012, he broke new ground for a hip-hop artist. Days before the release, Ocean posted an open letter he wrote about falling in love with a young man when he was a teenager. This put into context some of the songs on the album with lyrics about a male love interest.
When the genre-defying album finally dropped, it was universally praised and opened up conversations about sexuality in a musical genre often tainted by homophobia and toxic masculinity. Forrest Gump is one of the standout songs from the album, with Ocean singing about the “buff and strong” Forrest Gump that’s running through his mind.
Closer – Tegan and Sara
“Closer” is an undeniably fun, upbeat song about wanting nothing more than to get closer to someone you can’t stop thinking about. With suggestive lyrics like “all I think of lately is how to get you underneath me,” it will definitely help set the mood for your big night. Tegan and Sara have been famously dedicated to LGBT causes and have openly spoken out about their own sexualities. Their activism combined with their musical talent make loving this song a no-brainer.
Just Some Guy – Anthony Rapp
You may know Anthony Rapp from the original Broadway cast of Rent, a musical that featured LGBT relationships in addition to some amazing songs. Rapp forged a solo music career once he ended his run in the musical, releasing “Just Some Guy” on his 2000 album.
This incredibly sweet song was one of the first of that time to feature a man clearly singing about loving another man, earning it a special place in the hearts of many members of the LGBT community. The song is just as sweet today as it was 18 years ago.
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