It’s the anti-‘I Kissed a Girl,’ which is a good thing.
July 14, 2015 6:17 PM   Subscribe

"Lovato's song, on the other hand, is all about desire. She wants the girl because she wants the girl. Her perspective is that of a newbie, but that doesn’t make her a tourist; when she says 'Even if they judge / Fuck it,' she's going through the same process most every queer person has had to go through. Mostly, though, the song is about pop music's favorite topic: being attracted to someone hot." Demi Lovato's 'Cool for the Summer': The Next Great Gay Anthem?, Spencer Kornhaber for The Atlantic

Taking a longer view, Time Out's Ultimate Pride Playlist serves up 50 gay anthems for your perusal: 50-41 / 40-31 / 30-21 / 20-11 / 10-1.
Posted June 2014, these are short paras with links to Amazon & Spotify; written by: Brent DiCrescenzo, Adam Feldman, Sophie Harris, Ethan LaCroix, Kris Vire and Kate Wertheimer.

Pop music still lacks a gay breakout star, by Gerrick D. Kennedy for the LA Times (June 19, 2014)

Previously: Uno Tres Cinco Seis, Faux Queerness, "They'll have their diamonds, and we'll have our pearls."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (36 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Whatever. No one can top the original. Jill Sobule forever!
posted by redbeard at 6:29 PM on July 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


Where do they get 'lesbian' from the song? All I see is something about cherries.
posted by signal at 6:45 PM on July 14, 2015


So, let's have some gay sex, but only "for the summer" and don't tell anyone. How is this progressive? Man, I hate that Katy Perry song, but at least she wasn't scared about saying she liked it to the whole world.

My ass.
posted by New England Cultist at 6:52 PM on July 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


In other news, this list reminds me of how much I love "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover." It's like the male gaze over pop music has been suspended for five sublime minutes.
posted by thetortoise at 7:06 PM on July 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


I think I'm getting old. My first thought was "Die for each other" doesn't rhyme with "Cool for the summer".
posted by cromagnon at 7:20 PM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Honestly, I think this is the least gay 'gay anthem' I have ever heard.

Signed a gay person.

PS It's not like "body type" rhymes with "paradise" in the least bit.
posted by thetoken at 7:38 PM on July 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I am also not seeing how this is revolutionary and gay.
posted by schroedinger at 8:00 PM on July 14, 2015


That's a club banger for sure. I love the production, thick sweaty beats and grinding guitars. It's perfectly oozy.

Now, whether it's a gay/queer anthem...sure? The lyrics have just enough ambiguity to be used that way. But hey, this is pop culture, which means it's our culture, so we can mix it and chop it and spin it any way we like.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:00 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


PS It's not like "body type" rhymes with "paradise" in the least bit.

Parasite would be a better rhyme for sure
posted by aubilenon at 8:12 PM on July 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


An ENTIRE ARTICLE on this fucking horrid, horrid song that doesn't even mention, not even imply, not even demonstrate awareness of how this would be unthinkable, completely impossible, for a male artist (who's not already openly GAY- not bi, not ambi, not open, not curious, because none of those are permitted for male celebrities) to sing something like this about being cool for the summer with another dude. Absolutely astonishing that this not only gets not one sentence but that it isn't the entire focus of the piece, because it fucking should be.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:17 PM on July 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


What, no mention of that Girl Crush song? (Which sucks, and seems to miss the point of a girl crush.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:44 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm just about done with straight (or straight-passing, whatever, Demi, I don't know how you identify in private, but you've chosen to claim straight privilege in public, so you can't have it both ways, especially in this case), cisgender women playing coy LBGTQ "anthems" that are all "tee hee, kissing pretty ladies!" or "shhh! tee-hee, so naughty!" for attention and we're supposed to lap it up. As noted, Jill Sobule and Sophie B. Hawkins did it better and more honestly (since they actually dig women) more than twenty years ago.

I swear, the next time I hear about a straight cis woman singing the new "gay anthem" for cookies, there best be an explicit reference to fisting, or GTFO. No sly metaphors. I expect to hear that there is a hand up a vag in the course of the song. Please see Melissa Ferrick if you need help writing a song about a woman fucking a woman and enjoying every minute of it.
posted by Naamah at 8:52 PM on July 14, 2015 [47 favorites]


I kinda liked Hayley Kiyoko's Girls Like Girls, although I think that has more to do with the music video than the song itself.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 9:06 PM on July 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Maybe she’s pandering so as to secure a devoted gay fanbase

Ya think? Let me guess, she also put a rainbow over her fb profile.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:17 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, let's have some gay sex, but only "for the summer" and don't tell anyone. How is this progressive?

Dude, "I kissed a Girl", is 7 years old! We're talking Old and Busted, vs. New Hotness. We've got to be current with the faux lesbian dance stuff!
posted by happyroach at 9:19 PM on July 14, 2015


I think this song works equally well as a summer anthem about young adults experimenting with pegging. It's a secret because her lover thinks it threatens his masculinity. She's cool with that (for the summer...)
posted by muddgirl at 10:03 PM on July 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


You could argue that Lovato’s message is too coded to be transgressive, or that it’s a cop-out for her to relegate her same-sex desire to a secret summer fling.

Yes, I would argue that. However, I'm not the target audience for the song, given my preference for bedsit music over music that can actually be danced to.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:30 PM on July 14, 2015


I'm pretty sure Metafilter likes EVE Online more than Katy Perry, so here's a spaceship nerd singing a parody of her song: I Robbed a Goon. It's about Suas, a Goon director, stealing a titan from Goonswarm.
posted by ryanrs at 1:41 AM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm just about done with straight (or straight-passing, whatever, Demi, I don't know how you identify in private, but you've chosen to claim straight privilege in public, so you can't have it both ways, especially in this case), cisgender women playing coy LBGTQ "anthems" that are all "tee hee, kissing pretty ladies!" or "shhh! tee-hee, so naughty!" for attention and we're supposed to lap it up.

Yes yes yes, totally agree with this, and it's why I hated I Kissed a Girl (Katy Perry one) SO MUCH. I actually think it's worse than "please give me a cookie" or "look queers I'm like you please buy my albums and love me". I think songs like these are intensely problematic because they reinforce the idea that female sexuality exists to satisfy the male gaze. It's cool for women to be into women as long as they're doing it to be cute and fun, nice job ladies, you're totally getting us off with your hot lesbian shit, but it's only allowed if what you enjoy is the performative aspect of it.

Remember that, no matter what your sexuality, any sex thing you do is supposed to be about men. It is so pervasive and it makes me so angry.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:10 AM on July 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Mrs Pterodactyl: Remember that, no matter what your sexuality, any sex thing you do is supposed to be about men. It is so pervasive and it makes me so angry.

I think how strongly I identify with this is why I really enjoyed this video linked above:

imnotasquirrel: I kinda liked Hayley Kiyoko's Girls Like Girls , although I think that has more to do with the music video than the song itself.

There was something so...I wanna say almost familiar about it. It felt like my teenage years as a girl, something about that crazy-intense relationship you have with your best friend. And then (in my case, and in the video) that dawning realisation that the intensity of it has changed from platonic to romantic.

And though the video has guys in it, who are indeed focal points and violent into the bargain, it doesn't feel like it's about or for anyone but the two girls. It's such a nice feeling to come across something like that.
posted by pseudonymph at 7:41 AM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


An ENTIRE ARTICLE on this fucking horrid, horrid song that doesn't even mention, not even imply, not even demonstrate awareness of how this would be unthinkable, completely impossible, for a male artist (who's not already openly GAY- not bi, not ambi, not open, not curious, because none of those are permitted for male celebrities) to sing something like this about being cool for the summer with another dude.

I mean, I can only think of Franz Ferdinand's Michael and Café Tacuba's El Baile Y el Salón, but it's certainly not unprecedented for straight male musicians (the latter, in this case, being the biggest rock band in Mexico at the time) to sing about being hot for another dude.
posted by psoas at 8:09 AM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it's sort of a fake offer of cookies to women who are into women with a side-long flirty look at the ACTUAL intended audience.

I cited Melissa Ferrick above, and "Drive" is not at all a dance anthem, but it's always the first counterexample I think of whenever I hear how this subgenre of straight-ladies-loving-ladies-for-the-dudes-and-edge-factor is just SO progressive and unapologetic. No. "Freedom" was a mainstream album in 1998, and that is an unapologetic and forthright song in no way written as performance for men. I remember it because her concert radically shifted my tolerance window for songs that were based on cutesy constructs for dudes.

MOREOVER, if we are talking about "summer gay anthems," where the hell is this author's acknowledgment of, say, Tegan and Sara tearing up the summer 2013 US dance charts with "Closer"? It's not the most explicit song, but everyone knows they're not banging dudes or fooling around with women for dudes' sake here. That song was everywhere even in my sleepy little area of the country, and it was great.

I just want to know why, in the year 2015, straight cis women's ambiguous, kittenish performances are supposedly so damn central to anthems for sexual minorities. What the hell is so provocative and awesome about any of it? It's not even interesting. (I mean, I know why. I got the memo. This is a rhetorical and angry question.)
posted by Naamah at 8:22 AM on July 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Surely this counts as a gay anthem? Also an awesome tune. Warning, the video is not exactly SFW, although not porny.
posted by marienbad at 8:44 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


This lesbian would enjoy a lesbian pop anthem with the text "maybe I just have a crush on you, but maybe this is love and it will be a long term meaningful relationship".

This lesbian thinks the rhetoric of "just for the summer, I wanna have some fun" can be shitty for young women coming out.

This lesbian spent most of high school and college not being fully out, because I am pretty femme and had dated men and felt like no "real lesbian" would take me seriously and maybe I was just making it up and trying to be "cool for the summer".

I spent so long worrying not just that others would judge me, but judging MYSELF that being gay was "just" (a phase, an experiment, a trend...) and it continues to make me sad that even "progressive" songs about gay female desire are based on temporary desires that don't threaten our overall sexual availability to men.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:49 AM on July 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


I always assumed that at least one of the members of Franz Ferdinand was queer.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:29 AM on July 15, 2015


Maybe? I don't know. But they're not exactly Pansy Division.
posted by psoas at 10:35 AM on July 15, 2015


I can't fully put my finger on it, but as soon as she hit "I can keep a secret" I flew into a snit. I don't know if I just have a sore spot over bisexual erasure, but it just cast the whole song into some tint of "this is wrong, and no one must find out our urges" for me. It's as much a progressive gay anthem as being a conservative, bible-thumping senator having secret, adulterous park bathroom rendezvous is "a healthy gay lifestyle."
posted by OMGTehAwsome at 12:34 PM on July 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Mind you I haven't listened to the song yet, so this isn't really anything to do with the song but.. I think it started last year that as I looked around various popular gay blogs (Towleroad, JoeMyGod), suddenly this name Demi Lovato was appearing all over in connection with appearances at Pride festivals. And I've vaguely heard the name before but couldn't name you a single song. She was just suddenly showing up anyplace gay. I got the very strong impression that she and/or her managers have decided that THE way to build her career is to consciously try to turn her into a "gay diva icon." As if they could make her one just by wanting to, as opposed to actual gay fans choosing her to be such. As if someone could just show up out of nowhere and say "hi gays, I'm your new It Girl!"

It's very nice that she wants to be LGBT-supportive and all. And maybe I'd like her music if I could give it fresh ears. But this sense of having her force-marketed at me really turns me off.
posted by dnash at 1:49 PM on July 15, 2015


An ENTIRE ARTICLE on this fucking horrid, horrid song that doesn't even mention, not even imply, not even demonstrate awareness of how this would be unthinkable, completely impossible, for a male artist (who's not already openly GAY- not bi, not ambi, not open, not curious, because none of those are permitted for male celebrities) to sing something like this about being cool for the summer with another dude.

Yeah, they've yet to touch any of the classics.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:26 PM on July 15, 2015


When the article used 'bicurious' in the first sentence, I was just kind of done.
posted by joycehealy at 4:46 PM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


dinty_moore: I always assumed that at least one of the members of Franz Ferdinand was queer.

In the year that Franz Ferdinand were one of the biggest bands in Britain there was lots of speculation about singer Alex Kapranos' sexuality, especially among young queer kids. I remember this discussion popping up on the internet and in the letters pages of music weeklies. One letter to the NME I remember particularly well was from a woman who felt it was his ethical duty to make a public statement about his sexual orientation. It got a fairly strong response from the NME, castigating her for not letting respecting Kapranos' privacy. While I think that the NME editors were correct to respect Kapranos' privacy, I can also understand the strong desire felt by many queer teens to know that there are public figures who are out.
posted by Kattullus at 3:29 AM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'm not in favor of outing anyone, or requiring anyone to be out, no matter what the circumstances were. But I remember a few coy interviews given around that time, shrugged, and figured he was cool with being in a glass closet.

Also, going back to this:

An ENTIRE ARTICLE on this fucking horrid, horrid song that doesn't even mention, not even imply, not even demonstrate awareness of how this would be unthinkable, completely impossible, for a male artist (who's not already openly GAY- not bi, not ambi, not open, not curious, because none of those are permitted for male celebrities) to sing something like this about being cool for the summer with another dude.

Wasn't that the entire concept of 70's glam? I mean, it presents differently, but that would be the closest male equivalent.

Another aspect of this is that bisexual erasure tends to be all about the dick - male bisexuals are assumed to covering their true gayness, female bisexuals are assumed to just be pretending to be into women for attention and straight.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:04 AM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Best Pride anthem is "Rise Up", by the Parachute Club (Queer! Multiracial! Torontonian!), but the best queer anthem is "Girls & Boys",

"Girls who are boys
Who like boys to be girls
Who do boys like they're girls
Who do girls like they're boys
Always should be someone you really love..."

it's the song that will be playing at the genderqueer, biphoric dance club in heaven.

As for "Kissed a Girl", Sobule's is the only one I'll ever listen to.
posted by jb at 10:00 PM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


might want to mention Blur...
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:19 AM on July 18, 2015


(I mean, name the band.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:19 AM on July 18, 2015


Sorry, I thought I did mention the band. I purposely didn't link to a video, though, as I find video links difficult as a reader (especially unlabeled ones).
posted by jb at 7:22 PM on July 18, 2015


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