Top queer music videos of 2018
The music video, often an afterthought in an artist’s release strategy these days, can elevate a song from kinda meh to masterpiece in three short minutes (I’m lookinatchu, “This Is America.” Don’t @ me). As the world continues to light itself on fire, both literally and figuratively, LGBT and queer-identified artists helped us find solace from the chaos with these fun, sexy, and occasionally groundbreaking visuals that assisted in officially making this year #20GayTeen. Our top 15 videos, in no particular order, are:
Kim Petras – “Heart to Break”
One of the first transgender artists with a real shot at a mainstream pop career crossover, Kim Petras blasted to the top of Spotify playlists with this Katy Perry–worthy earworm (this is a compliment, promise). The video’s bubblegum pink fantasia is a declaration of Petras’s arrival as our potential new pop princess.
Side note: Catchy chorus aside, Petras working with Dr. Luke is majorly disappointing, and we’re hoping the backlash will help her make more educated decisions on who to collaborate with in the future.
Troye Sivan – “My My My!”
From the abundance of sublime videos to have come out of Sivan’s second album, including “Bloom”’s high-fashion ode to bottoming and “Dance to This”’s tribute to the Knife, “My My My!” is first among equals, with a George Michael-esque, mostly black-and-white video that properly transitions Sivan into adulthood and makes you ask yourself – is Troye Sivan sexy?
Robyn – “Honey”
After years of false starts and one-off EPs, music’s mother of heavenly heartbreak returned with “Honey.” Like a bittersweet poem to 5am after-parties and love hangovers, the song and its accompanying video are a reminder of all that makes Robyn a genius (not that we needed it).
Sam Smith – “Promises”
Sam Smith is so into voguing right now. OK, but real talk, this ’90s house banger’s video is a dazzling tribute to ball culture, drag, and voguing that culminates in a glorious celebration of queer expression in all its forms.
Fischerspooner – “TopBrazil”
Imagine “I’m a Slave 4 U” but with queer pop daddy Casey Spooner instead of Britney, surrounded by an army of sweaty men instead of, well, a new army of sweaty men and you’ll get “TopBrazil.” So rarely is the gay male body allowed to be as unabashedly sexual as it is here, and so rarely do we get something so steamy given such high-quality, aestheticized visuals. Hello, World!
CupcakKe – “Crayons”
This anthem from queer ally CupcakKe is an explosion of colour, dance, and love. What is often a frustrating conversation, this song and video respond to homophobia and hate with a joyful reality check to the ignorant. Here. For. it.
Azealia Banks – “Anna Wintour”
Yes, she’s very, very, very problematic, but allow me to separate artist from art for just one sec because this track is a goddamn banger. Its deceptively simple video relies on nothing but Banks’s innate charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and nipples that look like they could cut glass. For a sub-par, no-name-brand version of this, check out Silk City/Dua Lipa’s video for “Electricity,” which looks suspiciously similar, and that, my friends, is the tea.
Lizzo – “Boys”
Drag Race judge, feminist queen, and fellow misplacer of phone Lizzo came back hard with a song and video that tributes my favourite subject of all time: “Boys.” From the big boys to the itty-bitty boys, playboys to the gay boys, Lizzo did not discriminate, henny. (A very strong runner-up is this boss video of Lizzo going HAM on her flute.)
Janelle Monáe – “Pynk”
Unregulated Black female sexuality unconcerned with male titillation, Tessa Thompson, and pussy pants. No further commentary necessary.
Years & Years – “Palo Santo”
Years & Years’s queer android opus is a gorgeous short film. Partly narrated by Dame Judi fucking Dench herself, the film includes several tracks from the band’s new album of the same name and an audacious storyline that’s part fairytale, part dystopian horror.
The Internet – “Come Over”
With bright, “Say My Name”-esque colour/room combos and a quintessential garage-band tableaux, The Internet’s lesbian entry to 2000’s music-video nostalgia trend is a welcome modern-day update.
Christine and the Queens – “Girlfriend”
If Janelle Monáe is Prince’s heir apparent, Christine and the Queens makes a solid claim at Michael Jackson’s throne with this sprightly track and old-school video that’s a little bit Inception, a little bit “Lunch atop a Skyscraper,” and a lot of swagger.
Sophie – “Faceshopping”
“Faceshopping”’s distorted visuals and not-so subliminal messages are Sophie at her best. Splicing and smashing her way through, she continues to brilliantly challenge the traditional notions of beauty, capitalism, and autonmany. MAJOR epilepsy warning, though.
Hayley Kiyoko – “What I Need” (feat. Kehlani) and Halsey – “Strangers” (feat. Lauren Jauregui)
These two videos, released a few months apart, serve as a nice two-hander, with the first highlighting the passion of a new love affair as two best friends run off into the California sunset together, while the second depicts two women falling out of love and the painful toll it takes on both.
Ssion – “At Least the Sky Is Blue”
A gorgeous LA daydream/nightmare, with Ariel Pink in Elizabeth Taylor drag and Ssion’s Cody Critcheloe as the second-best Liza impersonator on this planet. Strong runner-up is Ssion’s own “Inherit” video, also released this year.
Some very honourable mentions include “SOS” by Cher, because of course; “Not So Bad in LA” by Allie X, because she’s basically a drag queen at this point; the sexy AF “Tongue” by MNEK; King Princess’s sweet “1950”; and “Bitches,” with Tove Lo, Charli XCX, Alma, and Icona Pop, which is everything Rita Ora’s “Girls” wanted to be but couldn’t.