Pride means many things to many people. It is a time for remembrance, a time for action; yet for some, it’s simply a time for fun. Here are five unobvious gay pride songs to act as your Capital Pride weekend soundtrack. I could have easily loaded up this list with Cher and dance tracks, but I prefer an alternative tilt. Each entry may not be celebratory, but songs like “Fast Car” and “One More Hour” explore seldom heard aspects of queer life.
Joan Jett, “AC/DC”
This Joan Jett cover of a 1974 Sweet track is for all the lovely ladies celebrating Pride this weekend. This song is a perfect match for Jett and details a bisexual woman’s hold on the sexy singer.
Electric Six, “Gay Bar"
Perhaps this next entry is obvious. Electric Six are known for their unconventional songs and this queer track came about from a case of mondegreen. While listening to another one of my favourite songs, Devo’s “Girl You Want,” band leader Dick Valentine incorrectly heard the lyrics as “just a girl in a gay bar.” The shirtless Lincolns in the video have beome legendary, however the original video featured Tony Blair and George Bush look-a-likes singing the lyrics and was subsequently banned in several countries. The lyrics “nuclear war” are still replaced with whip lashes in many edits.
The Magnetic Fields, “Andrew in Drag"
Now a song for all my queens out there, “Andrew in Drag” was written and composed by prolific queer Stephin Merritt. Featured on the 2012 album Love at the Bottom of the Sea, Merritt has said “Most of the synthesizers on the record didn’t exist when we were last using sythesizers.” The record remains ultra-modern and this track remains a celebration of drag superstars and the ones who love them.
Tracy Chapman, “Fast Car"
Call me inept, but I didn’t realize this song was about a same-sex relationship until recently. Chapman’s deep tale of hard times and burning love won’t get people moving on the dance floor but it may move some to tears. This Grammy-winning account of lesbian lovers was ranked at #165 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and a cover version recently re-entered the charts in the UK.
Sleater-Kinney, “One More Hour”
Another song depicting lady lovers, Sleater-Kinney’s “One More Hour” details the rocky and rapid break up of the band’s two singers, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker. At 21, the duo, who both identify as bisexual, were outed by a writer at Spin. “I hadn’t seen [the article] and I got a phone call. My dad was like ‘Um the Spin article is out. Do you want to let me know what’s going on?,’” Brownstein recounted. “The ground was pulled out from underneath me. My dad did not know that Corin and I had ever dated or that I even dated girls.” Tucker went on to marry a man and have a child, while Brownstien continues to date both genders and now stars on Portlandia, in addition to rocking with Wild Flag. Happy endings do come ture. Happy Pride!