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FALL ARTS 2019: ALBUMS — ‘Judy’ soundtrack, Lana, Taylor and more

New record is first in four years from gay pop wunderkind Mika



2019 Albums, gay news, Washington Blade
Karen & The Sorrows, Michael Longoria, Mika and Tegan And Sara are among artists slated to release new albums this fall. (Photos by Leah James, courtesy Skollar PR, Julian Broad and Sire/Warner respectively)

To say that new album releases have started with a bang this fall would be an understatement. Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey have both just released highly anticipated albums. And there are several more to look forward to in the coming months.

Taylor Swift just released her seventh studio album, “Lover,” which was preceded by singles “Me!,” “You Need to Calm Down” and “Lover.” And it has been doing incredibly well on the charts, hitting the Billboard No. 1 spot. As many have remarked, Swift is becoming more politically outspoken and the new song “You Need to Calm Down” speaks directly about LGBT issues.

Longtime favorite Lana Del Rey came out with the new album “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” that has already become a subject of controversy with critics. It was preceded by a number of singles, including the popular “Venice Bitch.” It’s a formidable new album, in step with her best music.

Charli XCX’s new album “Charli” comes out today, her first full album since 2014’s “Sucker.” Preceded by six singles, it includes many of the hits that have made her popular on the dance floor, including the lead single “1999.”

Also today, singer-songwriter Paula Cole will release her ninth studio album entitled “Revolution.” In the lead-up, she has released the single “Go On.” And the Denver-based indie group The Lumineers is coming out with “III,” their first release since their 2016 “Cleopatra.”

On Sept. 20, American pop-rock group Blink-182 will release “NINE,” continuing the band’s comeback that started with the 2011 album “Neighborhoods.” Five singles have already been released from the new album, including “Blame It on My Youth,” “Generational Divide” and most recently “I Really Wish I Hated You.”

Kristin Chenoweth is set to release her new album “For The Girls” on Sept. 27, and there is much to look forward to. The album will feature a rendition of “I Will Always Love You” performed as a duet with Dolly Parton. The track “I’m A Woman” features both Jennifer Hudson and Reba McEntire, and “You Don’t Own Me” was recorded with Ariana Grande.

On the same day, Renée Zellweger will come out withsoundtrack for the new film “Judy,” the anticipated biopic about the life of Judy Garland. The soundtrack seems as though it will have no shortage of gems, including a duet with out singer Sam Smith on the song “Get Happy,” and a new rendition of the holiday classic “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” with gay songwriter/singer (and frequent Garland interpreter) Rufus Wainwright. 

Also on Sept. 27, the indie group Tegan and Sara are scheduled to release their ninth album entitled “Hey, I’m Just Like You.” The out twins have long been vocal supporters of LGBT rights. The new album will focus on their teen years and will be released in conjunction with their new memoir “High School.” In anticipation of the new album, they have released the lead single “I’ll Be Back Someday.”

On Oct. 4, multilingual pop artist Mika will release his fifth album “My Name Is Michael Holbrook.” The gay singer has had successful pop hits in several languages, including the French track “Elle Me Dit” from his third studio album. So far he has released the singles “Ice Cream,” which is heavy on theatrics in a way reminiscent of Jake Shears, and “Tiny Love.”

The queer country group Karen & the Sorrows is set to release the new album“Guaranteed Broken Heart” Oct. 11, with the title cut having been released as a single. The group joins an ever-growing number of out singers, songwriters and musicians in the country music scene.

On the same day, Michael Longoria, one of the original cast members of the musical “Jersey Boys,” will release his third solo album entitled “Like They Do In The Movies.” The aptly titled album is filled with classic songs from films like like “Wind Beneath My Wings” from the movie “Beaches,” “Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie” and “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic.”

Also anticipated sometime this fall is the new album “Courage” from Celine Dion, as well as the album “Sketchbook” from American Idol-winner Fantasia, who will be bringing her “Sketchbook Tour” to town in October.

On vinyl, look for Kim Petras’ “Turn Off the Light Vol, I” (Sept. 20), Goldfrapp’s “Black Cherry” (Sept. 27), Christina Aguilera’s eponymous first album on picture disc (Oct. 4), Freddie Mercury’s “Mr. Bad Guy,” “Never Boring” and “Barcelona” (Oct. 1), Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours in Concert: the Legendary Broadcasts” on limited edition clear vinyl (Oct. 18) and Cyndi Lauper’s 1998 release “Merry Christmas — Have a Nice Life” on colored vinyl (Nov. 1).


Music & Concerts

Musical icons and newer stars to rock D.C. this spring

Brandi Carlile, Bad Bunny, Nicki Minaj, and more headed our way



Brandi Carlile plays the Anthem this month.

Bands and solo artists of all different genres are visiting D.C. this spring. Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will team up to perform at the Wolf Trap in June, and girl in red will play at the Anthem in April. Some artists and bands aren’t paying a visit until the summer, like Janet Jackson and Usher, but there are still plenty of acts to see as the weather warms up. 


Brandi Carlile plays at the Anthem on March 21; Arlo Parks will perform at 9:30 Club on March 23; Girlschool will take the stage at Blackcat on March 28.


Nicki Minaj stops in D.C. at Capital One Arena as part of her North American tour on April 1; Bad Bunny plays at Capital One Arena on April 9 as part of his Most Wanted tour; girl in red performs at the Anthem on April 20 and 21; Brandy Clark plays at the Birchmere on April 25; Laufey comes to town to play at the Anthem on April 25 and 26. 


Belle and Sebastian play at the Anthem on May 2; Chastity Belt performs at Blackcat on May 4; Madeleine Peyroux stops at the Birchmere on May 5; The Decemberists play at the Anthem on May 10; the rock band Mannequin Pussy performs at the Atlantis on May 17 and 18; Hozier plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on May 17 as part of the Unreal Unearth tour. 


Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will sing soulful melodies at Wolf Trap on June 8; Joe Jackson performs at the Lincoln Theatre on June 10; the Pixies and Modest Mouse are teaming up to play at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 14; Maggie Rogers plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 16 as part of The Don’t Forget Me tour; Brittany Howard headlines the Out & About Festival at Wolf Trap on June 22; Sarah McLachlan plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 27; Alanis Morissette performs at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 29 and 30

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Music & Concerts

Grammys: Queer women and their sisters took down the house

Taylor Swift won Album of the Year



When the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked when there will be enough women on the Supreme Court, her answer was simple: Nine. She stated: “I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” RBG did not attend the Grammy’s last night, but her spirit sure did. Women, at long last, dominated, ruled and killed the night.

Cher, in song a decade ago, declared that “this is a woman’s world,” but there was little evidence that was true, Grammy, and entertainment awards, speaking. In 2018, the Grammys were heavily criticized for lack of female representation across all categories and organizers’ response was for women to “step up.”

Be careful what you wish for boys.

The biggest star of the 2024 Grammys was the collective power of women. They made history, they claimed legacy and they danced and lip sang to each other’s work. Standing victorious was Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA (the most nominated person of the year), Lainey Wilson, Karol G, boygenius, Kylie Minogue and Victoria Monét. Oh, yes, and powerhouse Taylor Swift, the superstar from whom Fox News cowers in fear, made history to become the first performer of any gender to win four Best Album of the Year trophies.

In the throng of these powerful women stand a number of both LGBTQ advocates and queer identifying artists. Cyrus has identified as pansexual, SZA has said lesbian rumors “ain’t wrong,” Phoebe Bridgers (winner of four trophies during the night, most of any artist) is lesbian, Monét is bi and Eilish likes women but doesn’t want to talk about it. Plus, ask any queer person about Swift or Minogue and you are likely to get a love-gush.

Women power was not just owned by the lady award winners. There were the ladies and then there were the Legends. The first Legend to appear was a surprise. Country singer Luke Combs has a cross-generational hit this year with a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” When originally released, the song was embraced as a lesbian anthem. When performing “Fast Car,” surprise, there was Chapman herself, singing the duet with Combs. The rendition was stunning, sentimental and historic.

Chapman, like many of the night’s female dignitaries, has not been public with her sexuality. Author Alice Walker has spoken of the two of them being lovers, however.

The legend among legends of the night, however, was the one and only Joni Mitchell. Not gay herself, she embodies the concept of an LGBTQ icon, and was accompanied by the very out Brandi Carlile on stage. On her website, Mitchell’s statement to the LGBTQ community reads, “The trick is if you listen to that music and you see me, you’re not getting anything out of it. If you listen to that music and you see yourself, it will probably make you cry and you’ll learn something about yourself and now you’re getting something out of it.”

Mitchell performed her longtime classic “Both Sides Now.” The emotion, insight and delivery from the now 80-year old artist, survivor of an aneurism, was nothing short of profound. (To fully appreciate the nuance time can bring, check out the YouTube video of a Swift lookalike Mitchell singing the same song to Mama Cass and Mary Travers in 1969.) In this latest rendition, Mitchell clearly had an impact on Meryl Streep who was sitting in the audience. Talk about the arc of female talent and power.

That arc extended from a today’s lady, Cyrus, to legend Celine Dion as well. Cyrus declared Dion as one of her icons and inspirations early in the evening. Dion appeared, graceful and looking healthy, to present the final, and historic, award of the night at the end of the show.

Legends did not even need to be living to have had an effect on the night. Tributes to Tina Turner and Sinead O’Conner by Oprah, Fantasia Barrino-Taylor and Annie Lennox respectively, proved that not even death could stop these women. As Lennox has musically and famously put it, “Sisters are doing it for themselves.”

Even the content of performances by today’s legends-in-the-making spoke to feminine power. Eilish was honored for, and performed “What Was I Made For?,” a haunting and searching song that speaks to the soul of womanhood and redefinition in today’s fight for gender rights and expression, while Dua Lipa laid down the gauntlet for mind blowing performance with her rendition of “Houdini” at the top of the show, Cyrus asserted the power of her anthem “Flowers” and pretty much stole the show.

Cyrus had not performed the song on television before, and only three times publicly. She declared in her intro that she was thrilled over the business numbers the song garnered, but she refused to let them define her. As she sang the hit, she scolded the audience, “you guys act like you don’t know the words to this song.” Soon the woman power of the room was singing along with her, from Swift to Oprah.

They can buy themselves flowers from now on. They don’t need anyone else. Cyrus made that point with the mic drop to cap all mic drops, “And I just won my first Grammy!” she declared as she danced off stage.

Even the squirmiest moment of the night still did not diminish the light of women power, and in fact, underscored it. During his acceptance of the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z had a bone to pick with the Grammy voters. He called out the irony that his wife Beyoncé had won more Grammys than any other human, but had never won the Best Album of the Year. Yeah, what’s with that?

But then, it brought additional context ultimately to the fact that the winner of the most Grammys individually … is a woman. And to the fact that the winner of the most Best Album of the Year awards … is a woman.

Hopefully this was the night that the Grammys “got it.” Women are the epicenter of The Creative Force.

Will the other entertainment awards get it soon as well? We can hope.

Most importantly, in a political world where women’s healthcare is under siege. Will the American voters get it?

A little known band named Little Mix put it this way in their 2019 song “A Woman’s World.”

“If you can’t see that it’s gotta change
Only want the body but not the brains
If you really think that’s the way it works
You ain’t lived in a woman’s world

Just look at how far that we’ve got
And don’t think that we’ll ever stop…”

From Grammy’s mouth to the world’s ear.

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Music & Concerts

Janet Jackson returning to D.C, Baltimore

‘Together Again Tour’ comes to Capital One Arena, CFG Bank Arena



Janet Jackson is coming back to D.C. this summer.

Pop icon Janet Jackson announced this week an extension of her 2023 “Together Again Tour.” A new leg of the tour will bring Jackson back to the area for two shows, one at D.C.’s Capital One Arena on Friday, July 12 and another at Baltimore’s CFG Bank Arena on Saturday, July 13.  

Tickets are on sale now via TicketMaster. LiveNation announced the 2023 leg of the tour consisted of 36 shows, each of which was sold out. The 2024 leg has 35 stops planned so far; R&B star Nelly will open for Jackson on the new leg. 

Jackson made the tour announcement Tuesday on social media: “Hey u guys! By popular demand, we’re bringing the Together Again Tour back to North America this summer with special guest Nelly! It’ll be so much fun!”

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