WMSC Music Picks: All Voices Are Welcome – World College Radio Day 2023

Written by on October 6, 2023

Welcome to WMSC Music Picks, a collaborative collection of WMSC’s music recommendations and reviews. In this installment, we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community for World College Radio Day 2023, “Where All Voices Are Welcome!”  Read below to see what our members have to recommend!


“Sofia” — Clairo

Review by Emily Rabeno

“Sofia” by Clario was released in 2019, and is about the struggles that may come with being in a same-sex relationship. In the beginning, Clario says “Sofia, know that you and I shouldn’t feel like a crime,” which really just shows how difficult it could be in a same-sex relationship. Clario knows this relationship would be harder because of the societal stigma. Yet, through the rest of the song, it shows how much “Sofia” means to her and she won’t give up even if it does “feel like a crime.”


“Paracetamol” — Declan McKenna*

Review by Emily Rabeno

In alternative indie-rocks, artist Declan McKenna’s song “Paracetamol” mentions the LGBTQ+. The subject of this song is Leelah Alcorn who was a transgender woman who passed away due to suicide. “Paracetamol” is a healing drug like Tylenol, in the song there is a lyric “Paracetamol smile” which refers to one that is not truly feeling, and putting on a fake smile to please everyone else. Many times, it shows how her family felt about Leelah’s coming out yet she always had this “Paracetamol smile.” Finally, in the chorus, the lyrics go “You drive me insane / The world will keep on turning / Even if we’re not the same,” assuming this could be anyone coming out to their family even if they don’t agree, yet the world still turns. Being transgender or a part of the LGBTQ shouldn’t be a bad or negative thing. 


“Light My Love” — Greta Van Fleet

Review by Emily Rabeno

“Light My Love” by Greta Van Fleet has no revealed meaning but it can be interpreted in many ways. Throughout the song, there are themes showing that whomever the narrator is singing to or about, that they will get through all the hate, all the looks they can get from being in a relationship, and they will get through it even if it’s billions of light years away. Singer of the band Josh Kiszka has said that this song reminds him of home. “Light My Love” was released in 2021, but years later on June 20, 2023, Josh Kiszka came out as gay and announced he has been in a same-sex relationship for the last 8 years.  


“Coming Clean” — Green Day 

Review by Alyssa Arroyo 

For me, this song proves just how trusting Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day really is in his music. 

This song is featured on the iconic 1994 album Dookie, and still to this day holds up as a relatable song for people in the LGBTQIA+ community. While managing to communicate his own experience with discovering his sexuality as a teenager and his parents not understanding him, Billie intertwines commentary on gender stereotypes; especially for men. Billie repeats multiple times throughout the song, the lyric, “I found out what it means to be a man,” leaving the discovery up to interpretation. For the time period that this album was released, I find it to be admirable how vulnerable Billie was at the time, and inspiring all the same. 


“Lights Up” — Harry Styles 

Review by Alyssa Arroyo 

I’m not sure how someone could talk about songs of pride and being who you are without mentioning Harry Styles. Although Harry has not publicly stated his sexuality, he still remains to be a pinnacle of light for those in the community. Thus, leading us to this beautiful and incredibly catchy song released on National Coming Out Day in 2019. This song painfully (in a good way) makes you reflect on yourself as Harry repeatedly asks “Do you know who you are?” Thankfully, he softens the blow of that question by suggesting to be who you are, don’t look back, and continue to shine. 

Now everyone, say it with me: “Thank you Harry Styles!” 


“Burn Bright” — My Chemical Romance 

Review by Alyssa Arroyo 

My Chemical Romance, for countless years, has always been a band with such a notably strong fanbase. A large number of those fans just so happen to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. This didn’t just happen by chance; it happened because of the members of the band. Gerard Way has never stated his sexuality to the public, but he has said that he has past experiences with struggling with his gender identity. Way has always gone against the typical male stereotypes of rock and roll by kissing his bandmates on stage, refusing to objectify women at shows, and wearing elaborate costumes such as a cheerleading dress or a Joan of Arc rendition. This band has always and continues to show their audience just how important the community is to them. 

The 2013 song “Burn Bright” off the compilation album Conventional Weapons is a perfect example of the admiration and love Way and the other members have for the LGBTQIA+ community. The song mainly comments on being who you are, and how Way once experienced what the listeners might be going through now. He emphasizes that his fans staying alive empowers him to do so as well, which in itself shows the strong connection between Gerard Way and his queer audience. The lyric, “They always told me that / You never get to heaven / With a love like yours” comments strongly on obvious hatred and rejection Way has received in the past for his identity; and he knows he’s not alone with that feeling. My Chemical Romance in their entirety will forever be one of my favorites bands and songs like “Burn Bright” makes me proud to say that.  


“Jackie Onassis” — Sammy Rae & The Friends

Review by Terry Dickerson

The gay awakening songs of gay awakening songs: “Jackie Onassis” will have you thinking about that special lady that “carries herself right” in your own life. Sammy Rae & The Friends released Jackie Onassis as a single in June 2020 and later appeared in the Let’s Throw a Party EP in 2021. This is at the top of my playlists every month, but feels especially special to highlight during Pride Month as someone who will be celebrating their first Pride since coming out! Was anyone else questioning their entire existence in 2020? Yeah, me too. Amongst the utter chaos that was that year, this song was definitely the light at the end of the tunnel to get me through. As I become more comfortable embracing my identity, “Jackie Onassis” has been the coming-to-age anthem of my journey as a queer woman. Telling the story of Sammy Rae falling in love with a woman with an arrangement of keyboard and flowing horns section, she beautifully takes us on a rollercoaster ride of the raw emotion that comes with discovering a deep love for someone. Have you ever looked at a woman and felt the urge to yell “Look at that lady!” from the rooftops? Well, if you haven’t then I’m terribly sorry for you. If you have, you can relive that thrill in “Jackie Onassis.”


“Somebody to Love” — Queen

Review by Mollie O’Donnell

Queen really hit this one out of the park. “Somebody To Love” is a perfect song for pride because it features lyrics about finding the perfect partner. The lead singer of Queen Freddie Mercury was openly gay, and is an icon for pride many years later. With great lyrics, vocals, and sound, this is the perfect song to jam out to.


“Your Song” — Elton John

Review by Mollie O’Donnell

Elton John is an openly bisexual singer and a queer icon. This song is a beautiful love anthem about someone expressing their romantic feelings through a song. I like to imagine that the song is written as a love letter to a significant other. Although John had no one in mind to sing this song about, anyone can sing this song to someone they love very much.


“All You Need Is Love” — The Beatles

Review by Mollie O’Donnell

The title is pretty self explanatory: spreading peace and love is a great part of showing off your pride and your love. The great thing about this song is that you can interpret it in any way and it’s great for expressing your pride. “All You Need Is Love” is a great song to shout the lyrics out to.


“Rōnin” — Ibaraki feat. Gerard Way 

Review by GS Alvarez

Trivium guitarist Matt Heafy’s black metal project Ibaraki released their debut album Rashomon in 2022. Since then, this single has resided on my favorite song list for a wide number of reasons. The biggest is Gerard Way’s incredible vocal performance—as an avid My Chemical Romance fan, I had no idea that they were capable of doing such clean screams of that caliber. It’s also rare to find LGBTQ individuals in the black metal scene (with Gaahl of Gorgoroth being one of the only others I can recall), so having someone nonbinary like Way feature in this genre was impactful.


“And All That Could Have Been” — Nine Inch Nails 

Review by GS Alvarez

While most known for his industrial, explicit hit “Closer,” those familiar with Nine Inch Nails will know about Trent Reznor’s mastery of the quiet. His 2002 album Still consists entirely of instrumental piano, acoustic reworkings of previous tracks, and the album’s original And All That Could Have Been. This lead track has been a top 5 NIN song of mine for a while for its raw depiction of hopeless love. Reznor’s voice is hypnotic, and the words almost too perfectly capture the feeling of tragic queer romance. He laments about being afraid of having hurt this mystery person (who remains ungendered), begging them to run away and reminding them that they were “never meant to be” over his lonely piano and barely-there percussion.  


“Fireflies Never Came” — Harumaki Gohan feat. Hatsune Miku

Review by GS Alvarez

Singer, songwriter, producer, and animator Harumaki Gohan knows intuitively how to capture the feeling of childlike queer love like no other. His album Reunion and EP Envy Phantom both focus on the wonder of being hopelessly in love as a young person, often using the same two girls. Fireflies Never Came was released with an accompanying video in which four girls go on a trip together. The video tells the story of the song with such stunning visuals that I consider them one cohesive work. Both Mikage and Spica, the two girls featured, go on an incredible journey over the course of the Envy Phantom EP as Mikage comes to terms with who she is and how she feels. 


“Anti-Curse” – boygenius

Review by Amber Bintliff

The Record by boygenius has quickly become one of those albums I find myself reaching for almost daily ever since its release back in March 2023. While it proves difficult for me to choose a solidified favorite here, “Anti-Curse” is pretty much always in my top three. Julien Baker leads on vocals and is the main reason why I can’t get enough of it. The entire song flows so beautifully, with her deep vocals over the haunting rhythm of the song that all funnels down to my favorite part: the outro. The lyrics that detail Baker saying she’s writing the worst love song ever and then referring to those written words as an “incantation like an anti-curse or even a blessing,” has altered my brain chemistry in so many ways.


“Morning Pages” – The Japanese House ft. MUNA

Review by Amber Bintliff

Nothing to see here, just two of my favorite LGBTQ+ artists on the same track together. I’m fine (NOT). The Japanese House, whose real name is Amber Bain, released her sophomore album In the End it Always Does in late June and it has been one of my favorite albums of the summer ever since. When I saw that there was a collaboration with MUNA, I nearly lost my mind. Bain and MUNA come together to deliver this enchanting tune about going through a time in your life where one second you feel like everything’s hopeless, but the next you feel a new sense of purpose and appreciation for being alive. This song is so brilliantly perfect that it’s hard to believe that it came about through Bain simply journaling in the morning during a creative slump. 


“The Wedding Song” – Renee Rapp

Review by Amber Bintliff

If you ever want to hear a song that will give you chills from its first note until the very end, this is the one. Renee Rapp’s vocals on “The Wedding Song” are absolutely heavenly (as always), and I genuinely can’t get enough, especially during the chorus. The song begins as a re-telling of a relationship that Rapp thought would last forever, but eventually, as we get to the bridge, it is clear that her lover has messed up in some way, and she can’t wrap her head around what went wrong. With lyrics like, “I’m gonna love you til my heart retires,” and “A melody lift, a minor chord fall / it was timeless like you and me,” Rapp’s beautiful songwriting techniques on this record are perfectly encapsulated in this song and moves the story along quite nicely. Overall, this nostalgic-sounding track that takes the listener on a journey through a once perfect love is a clear stand-out from Rapp’s debut record Snow Angel, and has quickly become a favorite of mine.


“Uzumaki” – Softcult

Review by Chris Alberico

Uzumaki is the closing track of Canadian duo Softcult’s 2022 EP Year of the Snake. After stumbling upon the song earlier this year, I have discovered that drummer Phoenix Arn-Horn is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, making this music picks an amazing platform to share my thoughts on such a great song. This cut has been in my personal rotation for a while now. With its dreampop and shoegaze fused sound, this track never fails to captivate me from the moment I hit play. A simple bassline leads the pre-chorus backed by an interesting synth loop tucked in the mix. The chorus begins with an explosion of distortion, almost expressing the silent anger presented in the lyrics. Then suddenly, the noise stops, and the song goes back to the simple bass riff. This pattern is the base of the song’s entire length, and it’s honestly brilliant. Speaking of the lyrical content, the song’s title “Uzumaki” means spiral in Japanese. Aptly named, the lyrics tie together this theme of the spiral and its consequences on the human psyche with the opening line of the chorus “Circle around again, this vicious cycle’s infinite.” It figuratively represents the restarting of the metaphorical cycle described in the lyrics and literally restarts the melody of the chorus every time it is sung. Overall, this track is an excellent display at what Softcult is capable of and I hope to hear much more from them in the near future!


“One Shot at Glory” – Judas Priest

Review by Chris Alberico

After hearing of this music picks’ theme, my mind immediately jumped to Judas Priest.

Frontman Rob Halford is one of the few openly gay metal artists, so I would like to give him his flowers and review one of my favorite cuts off of their 1990 project, Painkiller. The track I chose is “One Shot at Glory,” as this is easily my favorite song off the album. Halford’s stellar vocals are on full display throughout the entire six minute forty-seven second runtime, he’s complimented by an absolutely infectious guitar riff and impressive drums. The lyrics are stereotypical to the metal vibe, but still empowering nonetheless. Overall, Judas Priest is a staple in the metal genre that deserves all the praise they get.


“When You Sleep” – My Bloody Valentine

Review by Chris Alberico

“When You Sleep” is one of the most popular songs off of My Bloody Valentine’s magnum opus, and my personal favorite album of all time, 1991’s Loveless. Bassist Debbie Googe is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a personal inspiration to play bass myself, who provides the perfect opportunity to talk about this genre-defining track. There is so much to unpack about everything tucked away in this noisy, hectic, yet beautiful cut. The listener is immediately hit with one of the many strange synth’s scattered throughout the album that encapsulates from the beginning. The group uses reverse reverb throughout this song to give the guitar and bass the same feel as the synths, at times even layering multiple guitars over each other as well. This adds to the experience of the listener who, at this point in the project, should be very familiar with these hypnotic sounds. The lyrics are muddled in the mix, telling a deeply personal story about guitarist Kevin Shields’ presumed lover using him. This track is beautiful from start to finish, and I hope My Bloody Valentine releases more music soon –  especially since their latest album turned ten years old earlier this year.


“We’re In Love” – boygenius

Review by Manda Martinez

boygenius is an American alternative indie supergroup formed in 2018 composed of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus. They released their debut studio album The Record in March 2023. All three band members are proudly queer, and this song is a perfect showcase of this. “We’re In Love” has Lucy Dacus singing to and about her bandmates. They have such a beautiful connection and show it through their music. It’s a gentle love song with lyrics such as “I can’t imagine you without the same smile in your eyes.” Dacus pleads to never forget about her loved ones, and to never be forgotten by them too.


“anything” – Adrianne Lenker

Review by Manda Martinez

Adrianne Lenker has such a way with guitar and vocals. “anything” is about the simple desire to spend time with your lover, regardless of what you are doing together. Something as simple as laying your head on their lap or listening to their heartbeat would be enough. She’s almost pleading for this, as the relationship slipped away from her. She directly references her relationship with Australian indie rock musician Indigo Sparke with the line “I was scared, Indigo, but I wanted to.” Throughout the song, she describes memories she had with her ex-spouse, reminiscing on those beautiful moments.


“(You) On My Arm” – Leith Ross

Review by Manda Martinez

I first discovered Leith Ross via TikTok in 2021. Back then, they were just posting short songs and calling it a day. Today, they have over one million monthly listeners on Spotify, and I could not be happier. Leith Ross identifies as non-binary and queer. The song “(You) On My Arm” was released on February 10, 2023, and is about yearning for someone’s affection. Lines such as “I wish I’d had a chance to walk with you to parties” and “Watch you get dressed and compliment your taste” show the narrator’s hidden feelings and unspoken desires, which many queer people can resonate with. “I hope it can help with any yearning you may feel the need to do. That’s what it has done for me. I love being gay.” – Leith Ross via Clash


“Light My Love” – Greta Van Fleet

Review by Natalie Luongo 

The song “Light My Love” by rock band Greta Van Fleet on their sophomore album The Battle at Garden’s Gate is about celebrating love. Written by all four members, the pre-chorus repeats twice: “Your mind is a stream of colors / Extending beyond our sky / A land of infinite wonders / A billion light years from here now” exemplifies how love is a very special feeling. In an interview bassist Sam Kiszka spoke about the song saying, “It’s a beautiful song and it hits this point that’s important to humans which is this out-of-this-world, pure, unconditional romantic love.” This is a beautifully written love song for everybody. When the song was performed on their 2022 Dreams in Gold Tour, rainbow lights shined into the crowd, making the community they created feel more accepted than ever before. 

At the time, none of the members had been public about their sexual orientation. It wasn’t until June 20th, 2023 when the lead singer, Josh Kizka, would make a post on Instagram and in the caption included how the legislators in Tennessee, where he now lives, are “proposing bills that threaten the freedom of love.” The singer goes on to say, “These issues are especially close to my heart as I’ve been in a loving, same-sex relationship with my partner for the past 8 years.” Fans and other rock stars have shown the singer so much love and acceptance after the announcement. The announcement gave new meaning to the song for many fans who are as well part of the LGBTQ+ community. Even the lyric, “Hate bound by fear will unwind” had a newer and deeper meaning than ever before. 

On the band’s 2023 Starcatcher World Tour, fans would bring pride flags and wave them during “Light My Love.” Kizska got emotional at their Nashville show after performing the song and said to the crowd, “I hope to God as a singer and songwriter you hope that your music will forever be relevant and timeless, and I hope that song will only be timeless. And one day it will become irrelevant because the world needs to move forward, it needs to move on and we need to love!” 


“Star Tripping” Kevin Atwater

Review by Gwen Streitman

“Star Tripping” deals with internal homophobia and religious trauma, and how it can manifest in queer relationships. The song tells the story of a relationship between two boys, where one is in deep denial about his feelings and sexuality, due to his religion. Talking about his lover, he says “Later you can kiss me, blame it on the stuff you took to forget it.” Atwater is referencing the role alcohol can play in closeted queer relationships; one will rely on alcohol to be intimate with the other, and then afterwards blame their actions on the alcohol. The song is both beautiful and heartbreaking, tapping into a feeling that queer people understand so well.


“Girls/Girls/Boys” — Panic! At The Disco

Review by Jared Tauber 

Whoa look Jared submitted another Panic! song; didn’t see that one coming. Brendon said this song was about a threesome he had, and perhaps that’s partially true, but what the history books won’t tell you is that most of this song was written by Dallon Weekes about his wife Breezy. GGB has become known best for inspiring fans Eva and Briar to create the P!ATD Hearts Project for the Death Of A Bachelor Tour in 2017. Hundreds of volunteers all over the world coordinated together to cut out and distribute paper hearts in every color of the rainbow for fans to shine their flashlights through during the song, lighting up entire arenas for its duration. It’s the greatest fan project ever, and it went on to successfully thrive at every Panic! tour since. I have kept all of my hearts, as I have kept my opinion that GGB slaps. One of my favorite bass lines.



*These songs contain explicit lyrics.

Photos from Amazon.com.


You can check out WMSC Favorites of Spring 2023 here