Holiday Playlist To Keep Your Christmas Day Merry & Bright

Bringing you 10 holiday songs for your uber-gay Christmas Day.

All of these artists are proudly LGBTQ and celebrated for their artistry in their respective genres.

1. George Michael (back in his Wham! days) delivered unto us this now-required listening holiday pop gem, “Last Christmas,” in 1986.

2. Out country hunk Ty Herndon takes the iconic “O Come All Ye Faithful” into African rhythm territory here, and it totes works.

3. It doesn’t get any more camp than this: the first true bear band, Bearforce1, with their holiday mashup, “Christmas is here!”

4. Two-time Out Music Award winner Matt Zarley covered Mariah Carey’s “Miss You Most At Christmastime” to spectacular result as part of his ‘UnCOVERED’ cover song series.

5. Award-winning cabaret star Ann Hampton Callaway offers this uber-jazzy “Jingle Bells.”

6. Before winning an Emmy Award as an insane murderer on American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Darren Criss’ “Blaine” was singing and dancing the holiday classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in high style with out actor Chris Colfer’s “Kurt” on GLEE.

7. Tony Award winner Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet) gives you a little bit gospel, a little bit rockabilly on his new cover of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

8. Elton John released his “Step Into Christmas” in 1973 and it raced all the way to #1 on the Billboard Christmas Singles chart that year.

9. Handsome out smooth jazz saxophonist Dave Koz shared this cover of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” on his 1997 release, December Makes Me Feel This Way.

10. Bright Light Bright Light gifted us with this synth-pop version of the classic “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

 

Bright Light Bright Light Takes You To ‘Fun City’

Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas)

Out musician and DJ Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light Bright Light) dropped his highly anticipated new album Fun City on Friday.

The Welsh-born artist recently chatted with The Advocate via Instagram Q&A about the new collection, which he calls a “celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.”

“It’s really important to me to use this record and this platform to raise awareness for causes and people that are very close to my heart,” he told The Advocate. “Throughout the album, you will see stories about queer history, queer people, and tying it in with organizations who are really important.”

The press is impressed:

“Offers its own buoyant beat to dance through pain and trouble.” – Rolling Stone

“Bright Light Bright Light has established himself as a purveyor of pulsing, electro-pop anthems that lean into glittery nostalgia.” – Huffington Post

“A much-needed dance escape.” – Billboard

Check out a few singles from the new collection, Fun City, below.

News Round-Up: September 11, 2020

Daniel Montoya (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: I am not mad at fitness guy Daniel Montoya (above) on a beach, just saying… #TGIF Follow him on Instagram here.

Attitude Magazine: Bright Light Bright Light, aka Rod Thomas, may be musically inspired by the LGBTQ+ community – but he hasn’t always felt like he fit in. In a new interview, the singer opens up about being left in the dark while trying to find his place in the LGBTQ+ world.

KIT212: Check out Kenneth’s round-up of LGBTQ publications like GLOSS Magazine featuring an interview with Emmy/Grammy/Tony winner Billy Porter (below).

Media Matters: Facebook is profiting from harmful anti-transgender political ads despite its hate speech policies.

Washington Post: Blood plasma looked like a promising COVID-19 treatment. Then Donald Trump got involved spawning confusion about the treatment and creating a political backlash that specialists say has stifled an expected spike in demand.

CBS News: An officer with the Oxford Police Department arrived to break up a house party over the weekend that violated capacity rules, which currently allow gatherings of no more than 10 people. But after scanning the ID of one of the students who lives in the house, he saw a note on his computer that the student tested positive for COVID-19 just one week prior. “How many other people have COVID?” the officer asked. “They all do,” the student replied.

Bright Light Bright Light Celebrates Gender Expression “It’s Alright, It’s OK”

Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas)

Recording artist Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas) serves up the perfect diversion for Hump Day with his new music video for “It’s Alright, It’s OK.”

The track, a collaboration with Canadian pop trio Caveboy, is a celebration of gender expression and empowerment.

“I was in the studio with Babydaddy of Scissor Sisters and we wanted to make something that would make us dance, and as we were building the sounds it started to remind me of Ghetto, a queer club in London that is long gone, but where Scissor Sisters songs were blasted in a tiny basement club where anyone and everyone under the LGBTQ+ umbrella used to go,” said Rod about the inspiration for the track.

He added, “It makes me feel so at home so I ended up writing the lyrics about identity, belonging, and the fight to free yourself from being put into a box.”

Did you come as a boy or a girl?
Or did you come as yourself, even better
If you want to be part of a world where your heart doesn’t hurt
Say the word and we’ll make it there together

The video stars gender-fluid drag performer and activist Glow Job coping with life in lockdown by getting all dolled up to stay home and live her best life complete with an apartment stripper pole and rooftop stage all to herself.

On Instagram, Glow shares the astounding news that she was hit by a motorcycle while riding her bike to a protest in July resulting in a broken leg and clavicle just weeks before the video shoot.

“Pole community, don’t judge too harshly,” jokes the queen decked out in regal red.

“But the song isn’t about what I am physically able to do, but how I am simply able to be,” added Glow Job. “Able to be me in whatever way that looks. What you are seeing is my life. That is my home. This is my expression.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I know I am not alone in feeling like this year has really put us through the wringer. One thing that gives me solace is that I really feel I am discovering the truth about a lot of things including myself these days. I was super honored to be asked to star in Bright Light Bright Light’s latest music video because the lyrics spoke to exactly how I was feeling about myself. Bright Light called me on July 9th to ask if I was interested. I listened to the song and immediately knew I HAD to be in this video! I popped my headphones in my ears and got on my bike to head to a protest all the while I started fantasizing about what the video would be like, and then BAM!!!!! I got hit by a motorcycle. I think I convinced Bright Light I was barely hurt and I would be good to go in 4 weeks time when the video was to be shot, even though I had just broke my leg and clavicle and had a huge 12” gash along my calf. I couldn’t move for the first 2 weeks and leaned on so many friends and family to get me through. But exactly 1 month later, I was able to shoot this video. Pole community, don’t judge too harshly, my leg and clavicle were technically still broken, and I discovered then and there how much I could do! But the song isn’t about what I am physically able to do, but how I am simply able to be. Able to be me in whatever way that looks. What you are seeing is my life. That is my home. This is my expression. I hope this song touches y’all the way it did me. I hope it encourages you to explore your self expression and gender identity. I hope you know we will get there together! I hope it also gets you to dance! 🙂 Thank you @brightlightx2 for including me on this album in this way! I am honored!! Thanks @tylerrayjensen for directing! Stying by me with some awesome leather work and harnesses by @jglifeboats . The good wigs styled by @shelby_late_queen – love my new Neon one! And thanks for @everybodyloveskaek for helping me on the day of the shoot, playing assistant, getting me in and out of outfits, and providing the support I needed. VIDEO LINK IN BIO 🎵: @brightlightx2 📹: @tylerrayjensen 👗: @queenglowjob 🐄: @jglifeboats . #musicvideo #genderfluid #nonbinary

A post shared by My Name Is Glow… Glow Job (@queenglowjob) on

“It’s Alright, It’s OK” is the latest single leading up to the September 18 release of Bright Light Bright Light’s new album, Fun City.

Thomas chose to record the vocals for Fun City on the empty dance floor of East Village gay club Bedlam as a way to channel the energy of the queer trailblazers that influenced him like Sylvester, Erasure, Scissor Sisters, and Hercules & Love Affair.

The new album explores the ways marginalized people “stay strong, focused and creative through times of social and political hardships.”

The collection includes collaborations with high profile artists including Andy Bell (of Erasure), Jake Shears (of Scissor Sisters), Justin Vivian Bond, Mark Gatiss, Niki Haris & Donna De Lory, and Sam Sparro.

Out Music: Bright Light Bright Light’s Latest Is Totally ‘Cool’

Bright Light Bright Light (Rod Thomas) & crew in ‘I Used To Be Cool’ (credit: Tyler Jensen)

 

Bright Light Bright Light serves up a bouncy, Fire Island beach-y synth-pop bop with the release of his latest song and video “I Used To Be Cool.”

A cheeky ode to cherishing your “15 minutes in the sun,” the music video for the new track is a campy homage to ’80s/’90s cinema, that feels one-part summer romance, one-part John Waters irreverence, and one-part classic MTV music video nostalgia.

(screen capture from ‘I Used To Be Cool’)

Fans of the 1980s will recognize tribute moments to Risky Business, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Desperately Seeking Susan and the music videos for “Magic” by The Cars and “Rock the Cradle” by Billy Idol.

The new video finds Bright Light Bright Light (aka LGBTQ pop star Rod Thomas) and two friends tending to the summer housework of a dreamy heartthrob. Not-so-subtle swooning, a saturated daydream sequence, and warm synths all add up to the perfect musical 80s homage for your July 4th holiday.

This is the third single from the artist’s upcoming album, titled Fun City, a collection of 80s-inspired dance-pop, as well as a musical love letter to the LGBTQ community.

According to Thomas, the vocals for Fun City were recorded on the empty dancefloor of East Village gay club Bedlam, a conscious decision made in an effort to channel the energy of the queer trailblazers that influenced him like Sylvester, Erasure, Scissor Sisters and Hercules & Love Affair.

The title of the album is a historical reference to a quote from NYC mayor John V. Lindsay who on his first day in office in 1966, amidst a crippling transit strike, said “I still think it’s a fun city.”

A Randy Report favorite for years, Bright Light Bright Light has been a staple of the international LGBTQ+ music scene for over a decade, having released three prior albums and touring as both a solo artist and as support alongside pop royalty like Elton John, Cher, Erasure, Ellie Goulding and Scissor Sisters.

Check out my previous coverage of Bright Light Bright Light here.

Out Music: Bright Light Bright Light & Jake Shears Are A Sweet “Sensation”

Bright Light Bright Light aka Rod Thomas (photo: Warren Giddarie)

Bright Light Bright Light has joined forces with Jake Shears (Scissors Sisters founder and global LGBTQ+ music trailblazer) on his high-octane new song “Sensation.”

Written initially about the euphoria of meeting someone (friend, lover, etc.) you instantly connect with while in a fractured and divided world, the song’s meaning feels amplified when viewed through the lens of the current health crisis.

The track is a sublime, upbeat bop with a disco-tastic beat and synthy horns that dare you not to bounce.

“For a song about connection and celebrating who you are, Jake was totally my top choice,” said BLBL (aka Rod Thomas) to FLOOD about the collaboration. “It was so much fun to do a proper duet and have a voice that reminded me to be myself on a song about celebrating your community.”

Shears echoed the enthusiasm: “Rod’s songwriting always blows me away, and getting to record with him is an absolute joy. ‘Sensation’ was just one of those songs, the first time I heard it, I was like— I flipping love this.”

“Sensation” is a cut from the forthcoming album Fun City, scheduled for release September 18, which will offer not only ’80s-inspired dance-pop, but will serve as a musical love letter to the LGBTQ+ community.

The album title is a clever reference to a quote said by NYC mayor John V. Lindsay who, on his first day in office in 1966 amidst a crippling transit strike, said: “I still think it’s a fun city.”

I recently wrote about the acclaimed first single from the upcoming collection, “This Was My House,” which was penned as a tribute to LGBTQ safe spaces. The evocative music video takes an unforgettable journey through NYC nightlife.

Paper Magazine wrote, “It’s not every day that we get a perfect disco song” while Rolling Stone praised its “buoyant beat to dance through pain and trouble.”

The vocals for Fun City were recorded on the empty dancefloor of East Village gay club Bedlam, a choice Bright Light Bright Light made as a way to channel the energy of the queer trailblazers that influenced him like Sylvester, Erasure, Scissor Sisters and Hercules & Love Affair.

What We’re Listening To This Week

New music to add to your playlists this week:

Randy Report favorite Niko reached out this week and shared two new remixes (that I really like).

Like many of us, plans and scheduled were shifted and rearranged due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but Niko is of a mind that maybe we could all use some music to bounce to.

“So, I decided to release two remixes that I’ve been sitting on, with the idea that these tracks can make someone dance… I think we all need a little escape during quarantine!”

The double single, RMXD, features a remixed “Maybe” by Detroit-based DJ Voyage, and “Sexual Tension” from Norwegian producer Middelthon.


Out artist Someya playfully explores the fine line between love and lust in her latest single, “Hung Up Over You.”

The mid-tempo bop finds a sweet balance of ambient groove and pensive, summer feels.

The gloomy-day bop also acts as a celebration of the San Jose songstress’s bisexuality, as Someya features her first on-screen female love interest in the “Hung Up Over You” music video.


Bright Light Bright Light (aka Welsh pop star Rod Thomas) is taking fans out for a virtual night on the town in New York City with the release of the video for his disco/house dance-tastic single, “This Was My House.”

Of the song, Paper Magazine said, “It’s not every day that we get a perfect disco song” while Rolling Stone praised its “buoyant beat to dance through pain and trouble.”

The song features Madonna backup duo Niki Harris and Donna De Lory and is an inspired slice of prideful pop that serves as an ode to LGBTQ safe spaces.

The video is an irreverently brilliant, campy look into the NYC LGBTQ+ nightlife scene, and features Bright Light Bright Light leading a merry march of party monsters into the subway system, through a dance club (Bedlam to be specific, which is also the location that the majority of the new album’s vocals were recorded in), and to the East Village rooftop of the apartment building he calls home.

News Round-Up: March 27, 2020

Ryan Worley (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Chippendales’ Ryan Worley (above) has the right idea for a Friday night. Man, this week kinda kicked my butt… How are you folks doing? Thinking best thoughts everyone’s way.

Fox News: Former Vice President Joe Biden bests President Donald Trump by nine points in a 2020 ballot test, in the first Fox News Poll since Biden became the de facto Democratic nominee. Notably, Biden has an eight-point edge in battleground states (48-40 percent). However, Biden’s advantage grows to 25 points, 57-32 percent, in close counties (where Hillary Clinton and Trump were within 10 points in 2016).

NewNowNext: Click over to read a deep dive into the many husbands of “Joe Exotic,” one of the stars of the bizarre docu-series Tiger King. I watched the first two episodes last night after seeing everyone talk about it. It’s quite the odd assortment of big cat ‘private zoo’ characters.

Out Music: Bounce into the weekend with this new cut from Bright Light Bright Light – “This Was My House,” a sugar-rush of dancefloor pop featuring Madonna’s longtime backing vocalist duo Niki Haris and Donna De Lory.

“The song is about how the safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community have been fractured of late with a palpable uprising of anti-LGBTQ+ and xenophobic rhetoric, which is scarily even more real now as these public spaces are closed for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the artist.

NY Daily News: New Yorkers should be prepared for the city to remain in “pause” due to coronavirus through May even as President Trump gives Americans “false hope” the country will reopen by Easter next month, Mayor de Blasio said Friday. “We have to be ready for that and I think it’s going to spread in the country,” de Blasio said when asked if the city would be closed through May. “This idea of Easter is, unfortunately, a false hope. It would be better for the president to be blunt with people that we’ve got a really tough battle ahead.”

KIT212: Kenneth rounds up the best of local gay rags in the U.S. and around the world including DNA Magazine featuring Nordic hottie Patrik Isoaho (below).

Twitter Round-Up: Weekend Edition

Some really fun stuff on Twitter lately, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites:

And then there was this exchange between woofy Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims and out recording artist Bright Light Bright Light that made my morning:

And while we’re on the subject of Bright Light Bright Light, check out his synth-pop version of the holiday classic, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” released in 2017.