To be honest, I’m a sucker for love songs. And by sucker, I mean SAP. If you get me at the right moment with a good love song, I will get teary-eyed on you, no lie. But being queer sort of complicates the whole love song arena. Every popular love song is hetero-oriented, and somehow stereotypically “homo” songs are never really love songs. At least, not the touching kind. At best, they’re hypersexualized or too discotheque-esque. At worst, you get songs that reinforce the same gender roles and the binary, both of which oppress people within the queer community.
And here’s some more honesty – I’m a total music snob. As some of you know, I occasionally moonlight as a DJ for my university’s radio station. I’m pretty particular about what I’ll listen to. And while I secretly love me some k.d. lang and Melissa Etheridge, I was seriously annoyed that it was about the only thing the public ever pays attention to. So I decided I would share with all you gaysi folk my own personal lezzie mixtape
Disclaimer: not all of these are by/intended for queer ladies, but hey, I just picked songs that I love. There’s asterisks (*) next to artists who are openly queer in some fashion.
“Come into my world, I’ve got to show show show you
Come into my bed, I’ve got to know know know you”
So Regina isn’t (openly?) queer, but oh man I wish she was. And she’s come out in support of the queer community, so I figure I can keep hoping that this lovely singer has a thing for ladies 😉 Regina has the most entertaining style, coupled with a beautiful voice. “Hotel Song” is just full of hope for a future/current love, and I think that’s what makes it such a good candidate for a mixtape.
“I’m full of love and longing
Take me by the hand and tell me
You would take me anywhere”
I love Tegan and Sara as much as the next lesbo, but you have to admit that a lot of their songs are sad, and about the end of relationships. And relationship-ending music isn’t really the best to put on a mixtape for your lady. But “Take Me Anywhere” is upbeat and adorable. I mean, they sing “you take the good and all the bad that comes with me”, and isn’t that what we all want out of a relationship? This is the one Tegan and Sara song that I will always, always love above all others.
“The better things I have to say will fall to you
You seem to light up everything in my view”
South is a British group that I fell in love with kind of randomly – they played on a repeat at the smoothie shop I once worked at, and while all the other music that was on incessant repeat was awful, this one song always made me smile. It’s a cute, soft love song. This song makes me think of summer evenings, where the weather and your lady and your life just seem to be in perfect happy harmony.
“Words cannot describe
The twinkle in your eyes
The fireworks that happen
Inside my heart they’re snappin’
I’m wishin’ on a star to be with you”
Okay, Mirah is one of my all-time faves. She has a beautiful voice, and she’s just an all-around cool person. Her queerness is a definite part of her music, but I like her songs because they’re so full of feeling and meaning. This song has a fun, jazzy feel to it that makes it lighthearted, while at the same time delivering a heartfelt love confession. I would totally suggest getting to know her other stuff.
“Your depths made a pressure that punctured my works
and all your fluids couldn’t tolerate the force of my thirst”
The first time I’d ever heard of The Blow, I was in high school, and I went to this random indie pop concert that was at this weird music hall under a highway overpass bridge. My best friend LOVED The Blow (aka Khaela Maricich), and I’d never heard of her. I stood there awkwardly swaying to the music, in all my closeted teenage glory, while my best friend screamed and rocked out, and all I could think about was how Khaela made my tummy flutter.
“those flashing lights come from everywhere
the way they hit her, I just stop and stare,
she’s got me love stoned, and I can swear
she’s bad and she knows, I think that she knows, oh, oh”
This is a cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Love Stoned”, but it’s oh-so-flipping-much better. And I love me some JT, so you know this is truth coming from my lips. Kaki King is gorgeous, and the single most talented guitar player I’ve ever heard. Check out “Playing with Pink Noise” if you want to see what I mean. This lady is incredible, and I’ve loved her music since I was a kid. The day I found out she was into ladies just made my heart sing. She’s my number one celebrity crush. I mean, look at this picture. OM NOM NOM.
“You’re so wonderful, I adore you,
I adore you, I adore you, Victrola.”
It can’t be a homo mixtape without some quasi riot grrl music. I like how hardcore the instrumental is as compared to the soprano vocals. I’ll probably get smacked for calling Veruca Salt riot grrl music – they’re more alternative rock – but this one song deserves all the awesome behind the label. The guitars are kickin’, and the vocals are delicious.
“Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my ma and pa
But not the way that I do love you
Well, holy moly, me-oh-my, you’re the apple of my eye,
Girl I never loved one like you”
Okay, so the lyrics are a little saccharine, but this is still such a heartfelt song. The main chorus, “home is wherever I’m with you” is just gorgeous. And the melody keeps the song from being too sweet. Admittedly, this song is pretty rigidly about hetero love (the male and female leads sing back and forth to each other), but it’s still a-DOR-able. And anyway, you can just sing over the dude when you play it to your lovey, making it even cuter.
“Wise men say only fools rush in,
But I can’t help falling in love with you”
This is originally by Elvis Presley, but I think it’s way cuter sung by a female artist. One of the things I love doing on mixtapes is putting an original, and then a cover version of a song that I find meaningful, so you could always do that. anyway, this song is adorable. With lines like “like a river flows surely to the sea, darling so it goes…some things are meant to be”, you’ll be sure to impress your ladyfriend with this song.
Keep your eyes out for “Love Songs for Lesbians 2.0” for more ideas on melodies with which to woo your woman!