What makes a song or an album queer? It’s the sort of evasive question that precludes itself from any true answer, mainly because music surpasses the limitations of language. Art might be subjective, yet somehow, the LGBTQ+ community has united around the same pop icons as allies: Dua Lipa in more recent years, Charli XCX, Lady Gaga, and Carly Rae Jepsen more historically. Extend this to out-and-proud pop mainstays — Troye Sivan, Hayley Kiyoko — and the sonic throughline becomes even more obscure.
From the very first listen, Apricots somehow fits the bill. Maybe it’s the phrase “lilac skies” that takes me back to Colours -era Halsey, that Middle-School Angst Cigarette Pack of Badlands, Crybaby, Blue Neighbourhood, and Blurryface mashed-up , or the riff that sounds like an extension of the guitar from “1950.” Maybe it’s the brief crinkles of psychedelia, the sonic equivalent of a daydream’s streak, or the all-too-familiar pining for the seemingly impossible (“Up in my mind, we’re together”). Whatever the source of queer magic though, the sunlight shines through the guitar strings, the skin grows warm in blushes, and love wins, even if it takes a bit longer: “I’m…something you don’t know you want.”