There is no question that the theme of 2023’s musical footprint thus far is that everything old is new again. Whether it’s retro sounds like disco, house and ’90s R&B finding their way back into our mainstream musical tastes or years-old songs finding brand new audiences thanks to the hit-making machine that is a TikTok trend, the music of years gone by is making its way back to cultural capital this year.
But what does that mean in terms of actual new music from this year? While artists are certainly capitalizing on the nostalgic musical renaissance that’s taking place, it’s still worth noting that there are plenty of artists who are still more than happy to push boundaries — and it’s even more noteworthy that a lot of those boundary-pushing stars are LGBTQ. Throughout this year, queer and trans artists have made a point of dialing up their own musical brands to 11, finding new and interesting ways to break through to their audiences.
In some cases, these songs manifest in the form of queer anthems, aimed at uplifting their communities in a time when such inspiration is desperately needed; in others, these songs present a brand new image of the artists at their helm, offering a new lens for fans to look through when examining their favorite star’s work. But in all of these cases, LGBTQ artists have stepped up to the plate in 2023, making some of their best music to date.
So which of these songs are still stuck in our heads? Below, Billboard staffers pick our 25 favorite songs from LGBTQ artists released in the first half of 2023.