Toronto Diary
9 min

The curious case of Macklemore’s “Same Love”

Imagine if you will, a world where one of the most prolific marriage equality anthems isn’t a piano ballad or a blatant rip-off of Madonna’s Express Yourself. Over the past year, Macklemore has gone from being a little-known indie-rap artist to not only being one of the biggest names in pop music, but his single, Same Love, has usurped Lady Gaga’s Born This Way as the current greatest gay anthem of all time. (Until the next one.)

According to a piece from The New York Time, Macklemore’s Same Love seems to have serendipitously coincided with the SCOTUS’ decision to strike down DOMA in the U.S., and has since climbed steadily up the charts thanks to its pro-gay message.

Radio programmers say “Same Love” seems to have captured the nation’s mood, reflecting growing support among young adults for gay marriage in polling. It also hit the charts in February, just as several states began taking up the issue and the Supreme Court was considering challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and to California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
On Wednesday, the same day the Supreme Court handed historic victories to same-sex couples in both cases, “Same Love” rose to No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, up from No. 65 three weeks ago. On the strength of online streaming more than airplay, the song was No. 5 on the Rap Songs chart, where lyrics in support of gay rights are almost unheard-of. Sales of the single surged 23 percent last week from the previous week to a total of more than 788,000 copies, and views of the single’s video on YouTube had approached 53 million by Sunday.

The weird thing here is that a couple years ago, a song like Same Love not only wouldn’t have charted, it probably wouldn’t have existed to begin with. Hip-hop isn’t exactly a genre known for its progressive attitudes, and while there have been plenty of gay themes in pop music, no major single has ever actually explicitly endorsed gay marriage. Hell, even Lady Gaga’s Born This Way was hampered with a thick layer of blatant self-service.

But Same Love doesn’t feel forced or cloying. It feels like a real statement from someone who actually sat down and thought about his own actions, beliefs and opinions. The result is that Macklemore actually says something instead of just pandering for cash. Which is all to say that I actually kind of like the song. I can get behind this.