“New Americana” by Halsey
Halsey’s 2015 “New Americana” is the anthem to our generation. The song declares the rise of a new type of U.S. citizen. In her song, Halsey pays tribute to famous actor, James Dean, who lived from 1931 to 1955. Dean was forced to live his life as a closeted gay man. Halsey then calls out, “We are the new Americana,” depicting a generation of Americans who will no longer swear by the old system of U.S. beliefs and social norms. A generation of Americans who will be free to be who they are, love who they love, recreate the way they choose and will embody the freedom America was founded on.
“Boy is a Bottom” by William Belli
This song is a parody of Alicia Keys’, “Girl on Fire,” by You- Tube star and drag queen William Belli. Mainstream music is flooded with lyrics depicting heterosexual acts of sex, and this has become an accepted norm. There are some mainstream songs out there that focus on homo- sexual relationships as a topic, however, they rarely specify the gender, let alone sing about sex. “Boy is a Bottom” is the first song to break this barrier and sing about the sexual lives of gay men. Production value remains high and the lyrics utilize the terminology of gay culture. The song invites LGBT men and women to feel comfortable in their sexuality while normalizing the growing LGBT culture for non- queer audiences.
“Make it Stop (December Children)” by Rise Against
This 2011 song by Rise Against mourns and celebrates the lives of nine LGBT teenagers that took their lives in September 2010, while inspir- ing LGBT teens to keep fighting and to be proud of who they are. The group’s lyrics demand an end to the relentless bullying aimed at LGBT teens in high school. “Make it Stop,” provided affirmation to gay teens they are not worthless and that they can be proud of who they and live life regardless of what others may say. I know the song did for me. As the song comes to an end the band honors the LGBT teens that took their lives by reciting their names in memory of the teens tragically lost. This song stood up for LGBT teens in a time, not long ago, when being gay in any high school in America could be a death sentence.
“Same Love” by Mackl- emore and Ryan Lewis
This song practically became a classic at its release in 2012. The song is perhaps one of the most honest and complete looks at American society’s needless deprecation of the LGBT community. The song lays out each area and instance LGBT Americans face discrimination, from religious institu- tions, the music industry, early childhood development and political alignments. Same love covers just about every reason why LGBT Americans should be granted their own rightful happiness from A to Z. One lyric from the song sums it all up, “No freedom till we’re equal damn right I support it.”
Kevin Neighbors can be reached at email@example.com