Music Top Gay Albums: “USA! USA!” Edition
Last week, I Slogged about Attitude magazine’s well-hyped list of the Top 50 Gay Albums of All Time.
“I think this list is interesting, but it has more of UK spin on things,” wrote Impossible Prince in the comments section of the post. “Perhaps Mr. Schmader could come up with a US version.”
One week later, Impossible Prince’s wish is my command. Having carefully weeded out the work of those great gay-music-making Brits (Pet Shop Boys, Smiths, Bowie), I compiled my list of America’s Greatest Gay Albums, which you’ll find, complete with dashed-off commentary, after the jump.
This list is in no particular order. Nevertheless, it starts with:
1. 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields
Take the word "gay" out of this list's title and Stephin Merritt's brilliantly conceived and executed opus still ranks near the very top. It's a postmodern highwire act that ends up going places you never imagined. It's hilarious, heartbreaking, gorgeous, and totally soaked in gay.
2. Hedwig & the Angry Inch Original Cast Recording
A homo home run from Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell. The best tracks—"Tear Me Down," "Angry Inch," "Midnight Radio"—are the most viable rock n' roll ever produced for a "rock musical," and "Origin of Love" will be a standard at alterna-weddings until the end of time.
3. Flip Your Wig by Husker Du
Between 1984 and 1988, the greatest band in the universe was Husker Du, and Husker Du was two-thirds queer. (Shockingly, the member with the big gay moustache was the only one who wasn't a cocksmoker. Go figure.) And yeah, New Day Rising and Zen Arcade are "better" records, Flip Your Wig is the first Husker Du record I ever loved, plus it has "wig" in the title, which is inherently gay.
4. Dig Me Out by Sleater-Kinney
Between 1995 and 2006, the greatest band in the universe was Sleater-Kinney, and Sleater-Kinney was two-thirds queer, at least during the recording of Dig Me Out, the popular winner for best S-K album and understandably so (although I have a permanent soft spot for the intricate experiments of The Hot Rock...)
5. Dirty Mind by Prince
The only explicitly "gay" thing about Dirty Mind is the bisexuality Prince admits to in "Sister" (it's about Prince fucking his). And while it's odd to have bisexuality placed in the same realm as compulsive incest, Dirty Mind still scored major queer points for flying its freak flag so freakishly high (Prince hits the sack with an ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend in "When You Were Mine" and retains a bride-to-be's virginity by face-fucking her in "Head"), with Prince in full faggot-flasher drag on the cover.
6. Scissor Sisters
Attitude's poll-winners, and rightly so. So gay it couldn't have existed ten years ago, and now it's critically acclaimed mainstream pop. Miraculous.
7. The Immaculate Collection by Madonna
8. Folksinger by Phranc
I first heard this self-proclaimed lesbian folksinger when she opened for the Smiths on the Queen is Dead tour, and her first album captures everything that made her great: smart, sweet, political, and funny as shit. Archness took over on all her subsequent releases, but Folksinger remains a model of self-identified lesbian music.
9. Ingenue by KD Lang
The greatest thing to happen to lesbian sex since the thigh harness.
10. Want One by Rufus Wainwright
I picked this over his debut because I like it more. He'll make even better records in the future. With the Scissor Sisters, pop music's great gay hope.
Personal Best by Team Dresch
Transformer by Lou Reed
New York Dolls (yeah, they were all straight, but thematically, this is some of the queerest rock ever)
Fit to be Tied: The Best of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
The Georgia Peach by Little Richard