#PRIDE2021 Picks: Gay Anthems & Icons, Songs for Swaying & Shaking It

Thematic Static Pride Collage

Creating #ThematicStatic sets with listeners each week is a passion project that often reveals what we are already pleased to know at 91.one WNXP: we play — and you dig — a suuuuuper diverse array of bands and artists ranging genres, generations and geographies. The all-call for songs and artists that facilitate a sonic celebration of #Pride2021 — and commemorate the Stonewall Uprising of 52 years ago this week — turned up oodles of your requests and plenty of enthusiasm for those picks, too.

Learn more about the Stonewall riots from PBS and the movement’s origins before 1969 via NPR. Stream the full June 24, 2021 #ThematicStatic show (listen!👇🏼), and see/hear the many requests — for icons and anthems, songs for swaying and songs for shaking it — below.

Listen to the show.

Anthemic & Iconic

Katie asked on Instagram for some George Michael, so twist my arm. “Father Figure” was released more than a decade before the Wham! star-gone-solo came out publicly in 1998 in this CNN interview. Michael said he was labeled gay for a long time in the media, when he was still seeing and writing songs about women. So “then, by the time I’d kind of worked out what it was and I’d stopped having relationships with women, I was just so indignant about the way I had been treated until then, I just thought, well, I’ll just hold on to this. They [the media] don’t need to know.”

Kristopher left us a voice memo expressing Happy Pride wishes and requesting Queen’s “I Want to Break Free.” (Listen!👇🏼)

Kristopher requests Queen

I’m personally digging the Lady Gaga Born This Way Reimagined track from the fringe-masked country crooner Orville Peck, especially because the “Born this Way” cover features local Luke Schneider on pedal steel. (Listen!👇🏼)

Jennifer sent a Pride request via text for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert “Same Love” and I’m once again heartened (OK, emotionally wrecked) by the video, plus the national popular music conversation the smash hit furthered with its pro-equality, “love is love” message.

Sway It

Kristen asked for Perfume Genius on Instagram, and it was a pleasure playing “Without You” from his critically acclaimed 2020 record Set My Heart on Fire Immediately. (SFWeekly reported that the singer and multi-instrumentalist was fairly sick most of last year, so it’s extra beautiful he’s touring once again.)

WPLN Culture Reporter Paige Pflaeger left us a voice memo requesting Shamir, an artist she met during his NPR Tiny Desk Concert (listen!👇🏼).

Paige requests Shamir

Jaclyn offered up Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s “Hide.” They have a brand new live version from their sold-out Georgia Theater show in Athens, Georgia!

Allison Ponthier’s “Cowboy” was WPLN Rachel Iacovone’s pick via Twitter, with this reasoning:

Consider this my official pitch @CeliaSGregory:
“Cowboy” by @AllisonPonthier about her coming out is
1) so relatable
2) so Nashville

Request by Rachel on Twitter


Alicia mentioned Claud, plus Courtney Barnett, so I played the Aussie’s duet with Cameroonian-American artist Vagabon, a sparse and somewhat haunting cover of the 1960’s track “Reason to Believe” (watch! 👇🏼). They were inspired by the version from folky Karen Dalton, who came to prominence in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, the same “where and when” as the Stonewall uprising near the end of the decade.


Syd recommended local songbird Katie Pruitt (who’s playing Independence Day Weekend shows in Montana with Brandi Carlile and captioned the announcement on Instagram, “Is there anything more patriotic than 2 lesbians rocking out in the mountains??”). Nonbinary pop artist King Princess was also a pick of Syd’s.

Shake It

Big Freedia releases a new song “Betty Bussit” tomorrow (premier here), but today we played the NOLA bounce queen’s song with Lizzo, “Karaoke.”

We received local love for Caroline Rose from Nathan, who must agree that Rose’s “Do You Think We’ll Last Forever?” on 2020 release Superstar is undeniable. (Listen!👇🏼 )


‘Twas double the indie pop pleasure when lesbian twin sisters Tegan and Sara made their upbeat Hearthrob in 2013 and we got “Closer.” Syd agreed T&S were a must-play for Pride.

Zach requested Yves Tumor, and we’ve got his new song “Jackie” in regular rotation, so listen in all day and week long!

There’s just nothing better than the two-way that is Music Discovery. Case in point, longtime listener Abel filled us in on a six-piece band from Argentina called Kumbia Queers, self-described “tropical punk.” The video for protest song “Puesta” just might turn your day around. (Watch!👇🏼)


Levia requested Kim Petras, a German pop artist who made history as the youngest person in the country to undergo gender confirmation surgery at age 16. Kim recounted her journey as a trans woman, and the importance of people in your corner, to MTV UK in 2018.

Grant and Abel both mentioned Troye Sivan. ICYMI, this updated version of his song “Easy” features Mark Ronson and our own Kacey Musgraves, who co-stars in the video, which was filmed in Nashville (watch!👇🏼).


Mary Ellen laid respect on the name of the late dance-electronica artist SOPHIE, who died tragically in late January after an accidental fall from a balcony in Greece. Read a 2018 interview with the Scottish music-maker for Paper Magazine.

Another trans woman blazing paths for those around her and after her is actress-singer Michaela Jae (also MJ Rodriguez), applauded by listener Laura. “Something to Say” is the debut single from the star of award-winning (but still under-recognized for its essential Black trans characters, actors said) Pose series. I think it would sound super on a playlist with Donna Summer and Earth, Wind & Fire — in fact, that influential funk/R&B group’s bassist Verdine White co-wrote the brimming-with-love jam. (Listen👇🏼 and decide for yourself!)

From all of us at WNXP, to all of you LGBTQI+ listeners, friends, family and allies — HAPPY #PRIDE2021! 🌈🌈🌈