Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Rocking the Gay Bandwagon

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Rocking the Gay Bandwagon

Article excerpt

It's now official: The pop world is obsessed with us gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transpendered people. Whether motivated by fashion, envy, admiration, curiosity, lust, or sheer fabulousness, mainstream musicians of every stripe are commenting on their connections to the queer world. And just as our Hollywood profile is evolving from our initial silver-screen status as suicidal sissies and killer dykes, our pop-music image is diversifying, no longer confined to walking exclusively on the wild side.

Consider the many ways we show up in five of the season's high-profile releases. Why, one could write a queer-studies thesis merely on how our presence is felt throughout The Velvet Rope (Virgin), the new one by Janet Jackson. On "Free Xone" Jackson sings of boys who get boys who lose boys who do girls who lose girls, only to get them back again. True to the singer's Rhythm Nation ethic, it's all rather stilted, though it's wacky fun and certainly openhearted. On "Together Again," a track dedicated to the many friends she's lost to AIDS, Jackson celebrates the love she feels for a departed pal, accompanied by an appealing mix of Motown melody and house-music grooves. And on "Tonight's the Night" she covers the Rod Stewart oldie without changing the gender until the final refrain. "Loosen up the back of your pretty French gown," she coos more convincingly than usual. Go there.

If Green Day vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong's mom has a clothes closet, the singer's definitely been there, done that, and is now celebrating the joys of cross-dressing. On "King for a Day," from the rejuvenated-sounding trio's latest album, Nimrod (Reprise), Armstrong--the self-avowed bisexual (and married) punk-pop poster boy--asserts that an interest in wearing women's clothing began at age 4 when he sneaked into his mother's room "to find something in a size 4. …

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