With election day upon us, Billboard is here to provide a short playlist of songs for LGBTQ voters, including tracks from LGBTQ artists such as Janelle Monáe, Halsey, Billy Porter, Shea Diamond and many more. Check out our picks below.
Janelle Monáe, “Americans”
The rousing closer off of her 2018 masterpiece Dirty Computer, Monáe’s “Americans” is a pledge of allegiance to America’s potential. Throughout the upbeat, spirit-lifting track, Monáe lays out some of the main problems she sees facing the United States today: racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia all rank high on her list. The star lyrically sprints through her anthem of protest, all the while declaring herself as a true patriot, proclaiming, “Don’t try to take my country/ I will defend my land.” As the song reaches a fever pitch, Monáe turns the mic over to a sermon from Dr. Sean McMillan, and the pastor lays out how none of the ideas listed above represent his version of America. In the closing moments of the song, his voice rings out as he says, “I tell you today that the devil is a liar/ Because it’s gonna be my America before it’s all over.” And you know that Monáe feels the same way.
Most relevant lyric: “We will win this fight, let all souls be brave/ We’ll find a way to heaven, we’ll find a way.”
Before putting out her latest studio album Manic, Halsey offered up a piece of her mind with her critically acclaimed anthem “Nightmare.” Aimed at misogynists the world over, the star laid out her anger over a perfectly pop-punk track, excoriating the existing state of women’s rights in America and around the world. She establishes her rage and refuses to abate it for anyone, making this song a must-listen protest anthem for your election-day playlist.
Most relevant lyric: “I’m tired and angry, but somebody should be.”
Billy Porter, “For What It’s Worth”
It’s not a new song, but it’s still a relevant one. When Porter released his cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” earlier this year, the star told Billboard that he wanted it to help motivate people to get to the polls in November. “We have to start thinking about what we’re going to do in November,” he said in April. “This is just my way of saying, ‘Lock this in the back of your brain, remember this when we come back to real life, ’cause it’s not going away.'” Now that November has arrived, it’s easy to see why Porter wanted to get his message out there early — the classic anthem gets an update from the Pose star to instruct voters to stop, take a look around, and figure out “what’s going down” before casting their votes.
Most relevant lyric: “We need a change/ Change for good.”
Written in the aftermath of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before Congress regarding her allegations that now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school, Sleater-Kinney’s stunning track “Broken” sees the duo letting out the pain of feeling “broken inside” following Ford’s hearing. It’s not optimistic, it’s not hopeful, it doesn’t resolve with a positive message — it’s a song that is deeply rooted in the pain of living through a traumatic political event, and one that Sleater-Kinney want you to keep hearing, especially when you have the power to make a change to the status quo.
Most relevant lyric: “I really can’t fall apart right now, but it hits me too close to the bone/ I thought I was all grown up right now, but I feel like I’ll never be done.”
Shea Diamond, “I Am America”
In her defiant, triumphant single “I Am America,” Diamond re-introduced herself to the world, letting people know that, yes, a Black trans woman is America. The groovy, horn-filled song sees Diamond daring anyone to try and tell her that she’s wrong, as she swaggers her way through lyrics such as “Truth is I love you even when you get offended,” cementing her validity as an American woman, and refusing to go anywhere but forward.
Most relevant lyric: “I know I get you excited/ My existence is a riot/ So don’t you dare even try it.”
Dorian Electra, “My Agenda” feat. Pussy Riot & The Village People
People talk about the “gay agenda,” so Dorian Electra decided to put some pen to paper and show the world what their agenda was, exactly. In their raucous track, Electra goes up to bat with LGBTQ icons The Village People and Pussy Riot to cheekily mock suspicions that the queer community has some sort of insidious plan to “turn” straight people. But at the song’s core is a protest anthem in which the star lets those same homophobes know that at the end of the day, they aren’t going anywhere.
Most relevant lyric: “Have you seen my pamphlets? Have you read my blog?/ Have you seen my army marching down to city hall?”
Cocorosie, “End of the Freak Show” feat. Anohni, Big Freedia, Brooke Candy & Cakes da Killa
With five different queer artists on one track, musical duo CocoRosie had a simple mission: offer up one final middle finger to President Trump before the election. With queer stars Anohni, Big Freedia, Brooke Candy and Cakes da Killa on the track, “End of the Freak Show” transforms into a parade of dissenters expressing their disgust for the president, while urging voters to vote him out of office on Nov. 3. If you’re interested in doing the same, then this track is a must-listen for your election day plans.
Most relevant lyric: “Burning down the house, to smoke them out.”
Randy Rainbow & Patti LuPone, “If Donald Got Fired”
If showtunes are more up your alley, then let us present this new rendition of Gypsy’s “If Momma Was Married” — except Rainbow and LuPone are asking President Trump for a divorce. In “If Donald Got Fired,” the pair lambast the president with some truly brutal roasts, taking him to task for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, his use of Twitter, and much, much more. At the end of it all, LuPone makes clear what she’ll be doing today — “There’s no decidin’/ I’m ridin’ with Biden.”
Most relevant lyric: “Donald, don’t stand there and scoff/ With all due respect, please kindly f–k off.”
Indigo Girls, “Long Ride”
One of the top issues facing voters this election is the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are people looking at which candidate is best-equipped to combat the outbreak, but they’re also taking extra pains to make sure they’re being responsible in how they vote. That’s a feeling the Indigo Girls understand, as they express on their latest single “Long Ride”; the duo sing directly at their fans, letting them know that as long as 2020 may have felt, it will only get longer if they remain disengaged. The solution, as the duo points out, is to tighten your fist, steel yourself, and get to the polls.
Most relevant lyric: “Were you down at city hall raising a fist against the racist troll?/Don’t you think it’s time to reparate for infected blankets and the laws that harbor hate?”
Muna, “I Know a Place (Acoustic)”
When Muna began performing their 2017 track “I Know a Place” live, fans noticed that singer Katie Gavin had added in an extended bridge to the LGBTQ anthem. On their gorgeous acoustic version of the track, fans get to hear Gavin sing those added words, where she calls her fans toward resistance against hatred and intolerance, and where she refuses to accept Donald Trump as her president. If you’re in need of something to uplift you and make you feel that fire on your way to the polls, look no further.
Most relevant lyric: “I throw my arms open wide in resistance/ He’s not my leader even if he’s my President.”
Check out the full playlist on Spotify below: