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The 10 best LGBT singles of 2018

This year brought queer bops in spades.

By Will Stroude

Words: Will Stroude

10) Lil Peep – ‘Life Is Beautiful’

The bisexual hip-hop rock pioneer’s life was tragically cut short in November last year following a fatal drug overdose at the age of 21. 

Taken from his posthumously-released second studio album Come On Over When You’re Sobr Pt. II, ‘Life Is Beautiful’ was a haunting reminder of that life and talent the world lost.

9) Christine and the Queens – ‘Girlfriend’ (feat. Dâm-Funk)

France’s Héloïse Letissier proved she wasn’t just going to be a critical flash-in-the-pan when she kicked off her second era with this infectious, gender-fluid funk jam back in May.

8) Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – ‘Shallow’

All together now… Aaaoooaahhh…AaarrroooaaAAAHHHHH!!!!

Lady Gaga’s ‘pivot to film’ resulted in something of a musical renaissance for Mother Monster, as the 32-year-old reclaimed her rightful place at the top of the UK singles chart after eight long years with this overblown, overwrought, and yes, utterly satisfying number from A Star Is Born.

7) Bloom – ‘Troye Sivan’

Because getting songs about bottoming onto the radio was the reason the first brick was thrown at Stonewall.

6) Years & Years – ‘Sanctify’

Anyone who thought Years & Years might play it safe on the follow-up to 2015’s chart-topping Communion was in for a rude awakening when frontman Olly Alexander used his experience of fooling around with ‘straight’ boys to pent his mesmerising, off-kilter number about faith and sexuality.

5) MNEK – ‘Tongue’

‘Tongue’s spoken-word is so sexually-charged it should come with a explicit content warning. And that video: The looks! The choreo! The British public paid ‘Tongue’ dust, proving they are in fact capable of worse crimes than Brexit.

4) Hayley Kiyoko – ‘Curious’

Lesbian Jesus’s breakthrough year started in no small part thanks to this devilish slice of sexual jealousy, which combined the 27-year-old American’s queer sensibility and knack for a mammoth pop melody better than anything else on her superb debut album Expectations.

3) Halsey, Khalid and Benny Blanco – ‘Eastside’

A serious dose of nostalgia built over an ear-worming guitar riff: the stars aligned for this melancholic bop from producer Benny Blanco, Khalid, and outspoken bisexual pop star Halsey.

The accompanying video, which touched on Halsey’s own sexual awakening, remains a strangely affecting and unforgettable watch.

2) Janelle Monáe – ‘Pynk’ (feat. Grimes)

The queer jewel in Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer crown, ‘Pynk’ reunited the funk-pop conoisseur with Canadian pop pixie Grimes for a delicate ode to female sexuality that bursts into exhilarating technicolour. Plus, those vulva pants in the video? Life-giving.

1) Sam Smith and Calvin Harris – ‘Promises’

Sam Smith joined forces with Calvin Harrisd to offer a late entry for song of the summer in August – and now it’s our song of the year.

Sam’s silky vocals and Calvin’s increasing embrace of house music proved to be a match made in pop heaven on ‘Promises’, providing one of the most deceptively infectious tracks of 2018 and rightly returning the pair the to of the UK Singles Chart.

As Sam continues to dominate the global airwaves as a proudly gay artist, ‘Promises’ also scored one for LGBT representation with a fierce AF Emil Nava-directed video which celebrated drag ball culture in all its queer glory.