A great artist once said, "Music makes the people come together." That artist was a huge gay icon and created several Pride anthems over the years. She knew what she was talking about. Pride is all about bringing people together and music is a big part of that.
This year, our Pride celebrations are slowly but surely getting back to normal. Regardless of whether you're staying inside or getting back outside for a big celebration, music must be a part of it.
Pride 2021 has seen a bunch of anthems from new LGBTQ artists along with past favorites rearing their familiar heads. From sentimental ballads to thumping dance tracks, here are my 10 favorite Pride anthems for 2021.
10. "Same Love" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert
When this song was released in 2013, it brought tears to my eyes whenever I listened to it. To have a straight man like Macklemore call out the homophobia in hip-hop meant so much. It was also a beautiful touch to add Mary Lambert on the chorus.
9. "Grace Kelly" - MIKA
MIKA's artistry has always spoke to the outsider. Even though this song came out when MIKA was still closeted, it is the ultimate outsider anthem. It is defiant, poetic, and melodic. It empowers the listener. It also made for a brilliant debut single. Given MIKA's eventual coming out and connection to the LGBTQ community, this is a definite Pride anthem.
8. "Firework" - Katy Perry
This song speaks to anyone who feels left out or on the fringes of society. It was a hit when it was released and became an anthem for so many, including the LGBTQ community. This is one of the modern additions to the Pride playlist canon.
7. "STUD" - Troye Sivan
Body image is a big issue in the gay community and Troye Sivan articulates that perfectly on "STUD." Released last year on his EP, "In a Dream," this track pairs the message with an infectious dance beat.
6. "pov" - Ariana Grande
In relationships, one of the things we all want is to be loved unconditionally. This song talks about someone loving the parts of you that even you didn't appreciate. The message of self-love reigns through and through on this track. This makes it a perfect anthem for Pride.
5. "True Colors" - Cyndi Lauper
When Cyndi Lauper recorded "True Colors," she claimed she was thinking about her friend who had AIDS. After it was released, it became an anthem for the LGBTQ community. It also helped inspire Lauper's True Colors Foundation, which works to help LGBTQ people in various ways. It has been an anthem at every Pride since and will always be in our hearts.
4. "Born This Way" - Lady Gaga
Despite its somewhat flimsy lyrics, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" has become a modern-day classic. It directly referenced the LGBTQ community in ways unheard of in popular music at that time. It also became an anti-bullying anthem and led to Gaga's own Born This Way Foundation. The foundation focuses on youth empowerment and mental health. It's also fitting that in 2021, the song and album celebrates their 10th anniversaries.
3. "Deeper And Deeper" - Madonna
While "Vogue" was an undeniable anthem for the LGBTQ community, "Deeper And Deeper" saw Madonna conceiving its little sister. Released on 1992's "Erotica" album, Madonna and Shep Pettibone crafted a house masterpiece with this song. To add a little extra icing on the cake, Madonna even references "Vogue" towards the end of the track.
2. "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" - Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X seemed to follow in Madonna's footsteps this Spring with the release of his single and video, "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)." The song's lyrics reference gay sex and the video sees Nas giving the devil a lap dance. This infuriated conservative homophobic Christians and delighted his fans. Such confidence and directness embodies the spirit Pride is all about.
1. "Rainin' Fellas" - Todrick Hall
Todrick Hall always delivers when it comes to music and visuals. His video for "Rainin' Fellas" is no different. Referencing the iconic gay anthem "It's Raining Men," this track tells a similar story, but from a gay male perspective. The video, which features a cameo from Lance Bass and plenty of naked guys, tops it all off brilliantly. This is the ultimate Pride anthem for 2021.