Rachel Maria Cox
Rachel Maria Cox | Credit: April Josie

Rachel Maria Cox: My Favourite LGBTQIA+ Pop Songs

Rachel Maria Cox’s latest single ‘Say You Love Me’ is a taste of the upbeat alt-pop sound showcased on the artist’s forthcoming EP, The Day You Left. ‘Say You Love Me’ features production from Japanese Wallpaper and Ben Field, who combine with RMC to conjure a sugary and danceable synthpop sound.

Cox describes ‘Say You Love Me’ as an integral part of The Day You Left, setting up a narrative that runs across the whole EP. “[It’s] about this relationship that’s doomed to fail,” they said, “because even in this song where everything is bright and optimistic, there’s still this element of hesitance to commit.”

Rachel Maria Cox – ‘Say You Love Me’

‘Say You Love Me’ is Cox’s first release since 2019’s ‘Prosecco’. Their work has previously been compared to everyone from Courtney Barnett and Carly Rae Jepsen to Britney Spears and Suzi Quatro. RMC described the writing of ‘Say You Love Me’ as an attempt to honour some of their favourite LGBT pop artists. Here, Rachel Maria Cox names ten LGBTQIA+ pop bangers.

Rachel Maria Cox’s Favourite Queer Pop Music

Years & Years – ‘Starstruck’

RMC: I was obsessed with this song from the second I heard it. The squelchy bass, the little arpeggios in the chorus, the chord progression, the vocal production – everything is just a *chef’s kiss*. I don’t know that there’s a better pop song from 2021, which is really saying something.

SOPHIE – ‘Immaterial’

RMC: SOPHIE is such an important figure in queer pop music and her impact and influence doesn’t get the recognition it deserves from the mainstream. ‘Immaterial’ is easily her most popular song, probably because it’s her most accessible, but it’s up there with Charli XCX’s ‘Vroom Vroom’ for songs that are unrivalled in their ability to get my hyped.

MUNA – ‘Number One Fan’

RMC: This was the first MUNA song I ever heard and still probably my favourite. I love the way it merges synthpop and indie together. The lyrics are also really clever in a way that I think can get missed. I love the idea of talking about yourself like we talk about celebrities we’re a fan of. I think that’s such a clever lyric concept and executed really well.

June Jones – ‘Hoodie Girl’

RMC: Speaking of lyrics, June Jones is easily one of my favourite lyricists. Her album Pop Music For Normal Women only just came out, but this is immediately a standout for me. It takes everything that June is so good at – lyrics that are simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking, profound and simple all at once – and merges it with this really slick electronic pop production in a way that not many artists are doing quite this well.

Saucy Santana ft. Latto – ‘Booty’

RMC: For someone with a flat ass and no ability to twerk, this song still somehow speaks to me deeply. Every lyric is so fun, from “Booty make him clean / Booty make him do the dishes,” to “Shake what ya doctor gave ya”. The Beyoncé sample is genius marketing and if I hear this in a club I am absolutely going feral, no questions asked.

WOLFJAY – ‘In Memory Of’

RMC: Another one of my favourite Australian artists, WOLFJAY’s music balances elements of indie and pop really well, and this is a great example of that. A lot of the guitar work reminds me of classic emo but it still has some great pop sensibilities in the writing.

Demi Lovato – ‘SUBSTANCE’

RMC: Another pop artist leaning into the emo/pop-punk thing is Demi Lovato. Their latest album is probably one of my favourite releases of this year and ‘SUBSTANCE’ showcases why. It leans really heavily into the early-’00s pop-punk vibes, but Demi’s vocal ad-libs really shine in this as well.

Cry Club – ‘Robert Smith’

RMC: Do you like your choruses to be in 11/4 timing? Well, have Cry Club got a song for you. The attitude of this is on a different level, the references are immaculate, the performances sublime, and every lyric is a perfect statement on its own. In a way, nothing about this should work and yet absolutely everything about it does.

Kim Petras – ‘Future Starts Now’

RMC: My problematic fave Kim Petras has a lot of tracks that the queers love, but ‘Future Starts Now’ is a personal favourite. I love all the different synth and vocoder elements of this and the ending is a really refreshing little moment of electro.

Lady Gaga – ‘Beautiful, Dirty, Rich’

RMC: It wouldn’t be a list of LGBT pop songs without Lady Gaga. This is a bit of a deep cut off The Fame. I love the way it combines musical elements you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be in the same song, from the drum loop to the early-’00s Britney-esque piano octave stabs to the synth lead in the chorus.

  • Rachel Maria Cox’s EP, The Day You Left, is out on Thursday, 24th November.

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