The last weeks, I’ve covered some serious topics and received a lot of homophobic backlash on a cross-posted article (I will talk about that in the future), so I’ve decided to keep it light this week and cover topics that I am truly passionate about: Music and Visual Arts.
I will list the best queer music videos, excluding classic tunes and gay icons like David Bowie or Madonna. I chose between contemporary artists that many might not have heard of before. The songs themselves were equally as important as the accompanying music videos to score a high rank in this list. I also tried thinking about the messages that each of the pieces carry, but in the end, I went for what I am most passionate about. That means, you might find I have a tendency for electronic music with male vocals.
The xx embrace diverse love, arcade gaming and visuals from the better days of America with their latest release. In an understated way, this music video aligns straight and queer couples following the track’s mellow tune. ‘Say Something Loving’ feels like a movie classic featuring a cast that could reenact the Breakfast Club any day.
Yes, I am from Austria and I just had to include a video from Conchita as I still can’t get over her winning Eurovision. While Russia wanted to ban her appearance (which of course didn’t happen), Conchita moved forward to unmask homophobes like Putin in her video for ‘Heroes’.
I fell in love with this upbeat electro-pop song immediately and soon after found that the music clip with its bubblegum pastel colours tells an equally light-hearted story of young love. I will forever remember the face of ‘her’ when she sees the boys kissing on a smoke break.
The heart-breaking music video accompanying Hozier’s beautiful ‘Take me to Church’ deserves a higher ranking in this list. However, I wanted to keep the top spots open for less known artists as I believe that most people already know this video which gained almost 400 million views on Youtube. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should probably go check it out right now. But let me warn you: It’s not gonna be pretty.
Another video about homophobia and religion, this time from reborn Tyler Glenn, front man of the Neon Trees. After breaking his chains from the Mormon ‘church’, he went on to release his solo album ‘Excommunication’. The video for the track ‘Trash’ is not a celebration of LGBT+ culture but rather a (figurative and literal) spit in the face of Mormons after a statement that kids from homosexual parents may only be baptized at age 18 after disregarding their parents’ sexuality. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the secret Mormon handshake in the elevator scene!
Mainstream media features women of all sexualities as well as gay men, but bisexual men remain the strange unicorn barely ever seen. I believe that bisexual men are neither really accepted by straight nor gay men. Therefore, I find it very brave that Josef Salvat is open about it in ‘Hustler’. While you may need to watch the video in a loop to understand all the powerful visual imagery, you can fall in love with the song after the first go.
‘We Exist’ captures the powerful coming-of-age story of a transsexual man (to woman) in a small town in the US. Arcade Fire received criticism for not casting a transgender person, but Andrew Garfield. Contrary to this I think that a famous straight cisgender actor may even boost the message of the video. Putting that aside, I love the funky dance scene in the diner which raised an important life-changing question: Gay bears, why do you dance so rarely?
The only song on this list that’s not primary electronic music, ‘High school never ends’ is Mykki Blanco’s musical outing featuring Woodkid. The multilayered orchestral song is accompanied by an equally complex short movie that tells a story of love, hate, violence and outcasts. If you give this genre-bending Hip-Hop opera a chance, you might be surprised by how many emotions one video can carry.
Have you ever wondered how a James Bond movie would end differently if the villain turned out to be a gay interpretive dancer? No? Well, you’ll find out anyways after watching Miike Snow’s hilarious clip for ‘Genghis Khan’. Hats off to the dance routine!
‘I Try to Talk to you’ is evidence that electronic dance music doesn’t have to be generic but can be as complex as any other genre. John Grant lends his seductive voice to this flawless Hercules and Love Affair track. The artsy video shows two mesmerizing men laying out the anatomy of a relationship with an interpretive dance routine in their home. A must-see and my personal favorite!
Putting together this list I stumbled upon a lot of great material. As I was set on keeping it a Top 10, I also wanted to share other music videos I considered but didn’t make the final list.
Tegan and Sara – Faint of the heart
Sigur Ros -Viðrar vel til loftárása
Robyn – Dancing on my own | Call your girlfriend
Antilopen Gang – Verliebt
Tokio Hotel – Love who loves you back
Huntington – Secret
Neon Trees – Songs I can’t listen to
Le1f – Wut
Marilyn Manson – The Dope Show
Shura – What’s it gonna be?