Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so why not be thankful for these new tunes from your favorite queer artists? Billboard Pride is proud to present the latest edition of First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
From Brockhampton’s surprising double album release to Phoebe Bridgers’s latest Christmas cover, check out just a few of our favorite releases from this week below:
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Brockhampton, The Family and TM
After spending weeks billing The Family as their “final album,” Brockhampton managed to pull off a few final surprises. The first was the album itself, a lengthy tribute to the band’s legacy, which only primarily featured frontman Kevin Abstract. Marked by bittersweet songwriting, the album establishes how the band blew up, and eventually pointing out the flaws and fallouts that lead to the group’s end. For fans who were upset that they weren’t getting a “proper” Brockhampton album as their finale, their appetites were quickly sated when the band immediately dropped another full-length TM, executive produced by Matt Champion and featuring a wider range of the band. More of a celebration than a contemplation, TM allows the leading players in Brockhampton to get their last words in, and doing so while providing some truly memorable jams along the way.
Phoebe Bridgers, “So Much Wine” (The Handsome Family cover)
In her annual Christmas cover drop, Phoebe Bridgers is getting melancholy. Covering The Handsome Family’s sobering holiday song “So Much Wine,” Bridgers lets her voice ache with pain as she recounts the story of a lover’s spat on Christmas Day thanks to a lot of drinking. Bridgers smartly slows the original melody down, taking the bigger production elements away to offer an intimate look at a couple struggling to find common ground. If you’re feeling up for a Christmas song that’ll probably make you cry, Bridgers has got you covered.
Honey Dijon, Black Girl Magic
Get ready to dance, folks. Producer-to-the-stars Honey Dijon has finally returned with her long-awaited new album Black Girl Magic, a thrilling ode to joy, ecstasy and Black queer joy. It’s also an exploration of the power of house music, as the NYC DJ jams her way through all different manners of the dance sub-genre to prove her sheer dominance in the field. Dijon also doesn’t do it alone — the star earns plenty of high-profile assists throughout the album from the likes of Channel Tres, Eve, Pabllo Vittar, Mike Dunn and plenty of others. Turn up the volume and press play on Black Girl Magic ASAP if you’re in need of a mood boost.
Kelela, “On the Run”
After years of no Kelela, the alternative R&B star is making sure her fans are fed — following up her last two releases “Washed Away” and “Happy Ending,” Kelela’s “On the Run” gives a new flavor of her hyper-manicured sound. Maintaining the ethereal quality of her past few releases, the new single sees Kelela embracing a darker, brooding sound as she lets her lover know that she’s tired of waiting around for them to do right by her. The scintillating beat amplifies the sheer drama of the track, making “On the Run” an instant must-listen.
Rebecca Black, “Crumbs”
Toxic relationships aren’t good — except for when they’re great. Rebecca Black pretty quickly sums that up in her new dark-pop jam “Crumbs,” as she details a torrid affair of chaos and pain that she simply can’t stop going back to. Lines like “I get off on getting hurt” land with massive effect each time. It’s a fun evolution for the singer as she tries on a more alternative, less hyperpop-focused skin for this angsty, steaming new single.
K.Flay, “It’s Been So Long”
Welcome back, Rapper K.Flay! On the star’s latest track “It’s Been So Long,” K.Flay leans back into the sound that helped her breakthrough back in 2016, opening up the song with a slick rap verse about bringing back the good old “let’s go clubbing” days. But for those more inclined toward Singer K.Flay, worry not — once the song’s delectable chorus kicks in, her voice croons out a simmering melody urging you to get to the dance floor immediately. “It’s Been So Long” feels like a much needed breath of fresh air as we barrel toward the end of 2022.
Bronze Avery, Softmetal
Softmetal is exactly what it sounds like: On one hand, it’s delicate and gentle; on the other, it’s cold, hard and calculating. It’s a dichotomy Bronze Avery is determined to explore throughout his stunning new album, where he takes down the walls of his pop-infused R&B and expands his sound to greater effect with each song. Tackling toxic relationships, inner sabotage, emotional vulnerability and personal fortitude, Avery’s songwriting is at its apex here, crafting a world of clashing personality traits that form a harmonious whole. Simply put, it’s the singer’s best work yet.
Khai Dreams, “Rats”
Bedroom pop star Khai Dreams has nailed the concept of “upbeat song with very sad lyrics.” His latest single “Rats” is perhaps the purest distillation of that concept; the melody insists on worming its way into your ear, as acoustic guitars and cut-short drum beats lighten the mood. But the dour lyrics, depicting an uncomfortably relatable depressive episode, offer little in the way of relief. Melded together, the song becomes greater than the sum of its parts, blending into a cognitively dissonant pop jam that will stay in your head for the forseeable future.