The 20 Best Pride Albums of 2023: Staff Picks

The 20 Best Pride Albums of 2023: Staff Picks

Music

From major label pop albums to introspective indie projects, LGBTQ+ artists brought their artistic visions to life throughout 2023.

In a year where the album format proved to be massively popular despite industry predictions to the contrary, there was no singular way to produce a breakthrough LGBTQ+ album.

Some artists took an escapist approach to their work, sharing enormous pop records designed to help disengage from our reality and relish in joy and delight. Others centered their projects directly in the current moment, using genres like hip-hop, rock and folk to point out society’s problems and fight back against them. Others decided to focus their projects inward, studying their own emotional worlds and the ways they interact with others through world-class songwriting.

Whatever the approach, there’s no denying the out-and-out success LGBTQ+ artists achieved in 2023. Established names delivered long-awaited follow-ups that proved to be career-defining works, earning new heights on the charts. Newer acts pushed their way to the top, releasing debut albums that galvanized swaths of listeners into burgeoning fandoms.

Those successes came in stark contrast to the cultural context surrounding them. In the United States alone, over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were proposed throughout state legislatures, more than any other year on record. Bills targeted everything from gender-affirming care for minors, to drag performances in public spaces, to discussions of sexuality and gender in public schools. Crime statistics showed that hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community were on the rise. Brands were threatened with boycotts after opting for inclusive merchandise aimed at the community. In a year riddled with setbacks for LGBTQ+ people, queer and trans artists proved that success was still possible — often even probable — for the community.

So, after a year of wins for LGBTQ+ artists, the question remains; which albums stood out from the rest? Below, Billboard staff members pick their 20 favorite albums from LGBTQ+ artists in 2023.

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