LGBT 36 Songs You Never Realized Were About Bisexuality  

Michelle Nati
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List Rules Vote up the songs you never knew were bending the spectrum.

Sex and sexuality have always been central themes in pop music, but it's only recently that songs about being anywhere on the sexuality spectrum have come to be accepted as part of the lexicon.

Before the 2000s, although alternative lifestyles were becoming more and more accepted in everyday life, the music business and audiences still had a long way to go in embracing LGBTQ motifs. For most, coming out in the public eye was not easy and could mean the difference between platinum records and crickets. 

A hit song like Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" is pretty flagrant in its meaning, but you may not realize just how many other musicians were also breaking down doors — some more subversively than others — before Perry walked through with ease. While subliminal messaging is still somewhat the art of the song, there's relatively more freedom to express bisexuality through music that wasn't acceptable even a decade ago. 

When you listen closely to these songs, you may be surprised at the not-always-so-subtle lyrics you never realized were about bisexuality. You'll be surprised at some of songs and artists listed, but even if you don't love them all, you'll respect each and every one for having the courage to share themselves with the world. After all, the more vulnerable an artist is with their work, the more authentic the art, and these songs speak to the soul.

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Poker Face - Lady Gaga

Key Line: "No he can't read my poker face (She's got me like nobody)"

During a 2014 lounge session, Gaga revealed her intention behind "Poker Face." She said, "You know this song is actually about when I was making love to this guy that I was dating a long time ago. I was thinking about chicks every time we had sex, and I just didn't want him to figure it out because I felt so bad. But I don't anymore because I wrote a song about it."

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Girls & Boys - Blur

Key Line: "Girls who are boys, who like boys to be girls, Who do boys like they're girls, who do girls like they're boys."

While on holiday in Spain, Blur frontman Damon Albarn witnessed hookups of all kinds among fellow vacationers. He said, "All these blokes and all these girls meeting at the watering hole and then just copulating. There's no morality involved, I'm not saying it should or shouldn't happen." 

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Cool For The Summer - Demi Lovato

Key Line: "Don't be scared 'cause I'm your body type, Just something that we wanna try"

An anthem hearkening to top-down convertibles and muggy nights, the song acknowledges the trope that sexuality is looser and freer in the warmer months. Lovato said she hoped the song would "kind of bring attention to people's sexuality, taking away the stigma and the shame of wanting to try things."

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Medicine - Harry Styles

Key Line: "“The boys and the girls are here, I mess around with him, And I’m OK with it."

Fans believe that this as yet unreleased track by Styles — he first performed it in Paris on his world tour — is his way of admitting to the world that he identifies as bisexual... or at least, as created an anthem for others who identify as bi.

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Girls/Girls/Boys - Panic! At The Disco

Key Line: "And never did I think that I, Would be caught in the way you got me, But girls love girls and boys, And love is not a choice."

Frontman Brendon Urie said of the song, "I believe that you can’t control who you are. It’s something that I’ve experienced myself, that girls do love girls and boys... I have had similar experience with homosexuality, with bisexuality, and that’s something I feel comfortable talking about."

 

 

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Chanel - Frank Ocean

Key Line: "I see both sides like Chanel."

Frank Ocean's nod to the fashion house — he compared his bisexuality to Chanel's interlocking "C" logo in the track — was so well received that the brand responded in kind via Instagram, announcing, "We see both sides like Frank Ocean."

 

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Te Amo - Rihanna

Key Line: "Te amo, te amo, she says to me, I hear the pain in her voice, Then we danced underneath the candelabra, she takes the lead, That's when I saw it in her eyes, it's over, Then she said Te amo, then she put her hand around my waist."

Part of Rihanna's signature smolder is the sexuality she exudes toward both men and women in her music. "Te Amo" was hailed by many in the queer community after its 2010 release, particularly by lesbians who were thrilled with the sexy girl-on-girl action of the almost NSFW music video.

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The Sweet - AC/DC

Key Line: "She got girls, girls all over the world, She got men every now and then."

Pretty self explanatory lyrically — AC/DC itself is even a slang term for bisexual, though the direct correlation to the band's name is controversial

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Ain't Nobody Straight In L.A. - The Miracles

Key Line: "Most everyone is AC/DC, Bisexuals on a loving spree."

Yes, it's the same Miracles, the band Smokey Robinson once fronted (he was gone by the time they released this song). The song is a pretty courageous statement for 1975!

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Can You Forgive Her? - Pet Shop Boys

Key Line: "You drift into the strangest dreams, Of youthful follies and changing teams."

A man is embarrassed by his girlfriend's accusations of not being over the lost (male) love of his youth. 

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I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry

Key Line: "I kissed a girl just to try it, I hope my boyfriend don't mind it."

In 2017, Katy revealed she was, in fact, bisexual. “Truth be told, I did more than that (kissing)! But in 2008, when that song came out, I knew that it started a conversation that a lot of the world seemed curious enough to sing along to it.”

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Make Me Feel - Janelle Monae

Key Line: "It's like I'm powerful with a little bit of tender, An emotional, sexual bender."

Janelle Monae's androgynous vibes followed by her 2013 hit "Q.U.E.E.N" and its allusion to being attracted to other women cemented her squarely in the bisexual iconography. But her 2018 single, "Make Me Feel," was, as Vulture put it, "features bisexual lighting" and follows Monae's very direct flirtation with both men and women as she questions the impossibility of having to choose.

 

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Not Myself Tonight - Christina Aguilera

Key Line: "I'm kissing all the boys and girls."

Aguilera once said of her sexuality, "I love experimenting with my sexuality. If that means girls then so be it. It would be wrong to hide this side of my personality."

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Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - The Beatles

Key Line: "Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face"

An accident by Paul McCartney—he allegedly meant to say "Molly"— but after the go-ahead by the other Beatles, he decided to leave it in and up to the listener to decide on Desmond's sexual orientation.

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If U Seek Amy - Britney Spears

Key Line: "Love me, hate me, Say what you want about me, But all of the boys and all of the girls, Are begging to if you seek Amy."

Despite her hetero-pop presence, Britney Spears was part of the late-'90s emergence of bisexuality and "alternative" sexuality. After Spears and Madonna locked lips during the 2003 VMAs, ThinkProgress noted: "Her first husband... alleged that she was bisexual after their divorce, and Spears herself played with the idea in 'If U Seek Amy,' a song that let you see either a dirty pun, or her sexual interest in a woman, or both."

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I U She - Peaches

Key Line: "I don't have to make the choice, I like girls and I like boys."

Peaches just tells it like it is, celebrating all forms of sexuality consistently throughout her music. "I’m bisexual. I like women, I like men, I like combinations, and it’s all good to me."

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John, I'm Only Dancing - David Bowie

Key Line: "John, I'm only dancing, She turns me on, But I'm only dancing"

One of the earliest songs that had a notoriously bisexual vibe, the protagonist in "John, I'm Only Dancing" is in a relationship with the jealous John, who is worried about the girl who has captured his attention. However, it's all good because he's "only dancing."

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I Kissed A Girl - Jill Sobule

Key Line: "And I opened up and I told her 'bout Larry, And yesterday how he asked me to marry, And I'm not giving him an answer yet, I think I can do better!"

Hmm... we wonder who that could be! Sobule kisses a girl and finds out. Her tune has the the same title as Katy Perry's hit, but she recorded it in 1995. 
 

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Jet Boy, Jet Girl - Elton Motello

Key Line: "The other day what a surprise, I saw him with some other guys, God, he was dressed up with a girl around his neck, I could have cried with both my eyes, Ooh, he gave me head"

"Jet Boy, Jet Girl" is a '70s punk rock-era song about a brokenhearted teen whose older male lover leaves him for a girl... did someone say Call Me By Your Name?

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Fell In Love With A Girl - White Stripes

Key Line: "She turns and says, 'Are you alright?', I said, 'I must be fine 'cause my heart's still beating', Come and kiss me by the riverside, Bobby says it's fine, he don't consider it cheating."

Bobby doesn't "consider it cheating" because the person that holds the interest of the narrator is a woman. 

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Baby Blue - Joan Jett

Key Line: "Switch hitter, You know she plays the field/"

A "switch hitter" is slang for someone who's flexible with both guys and girls equally. While Jett has been notoriously unconventional and embracing of sexuality and the queer community in particular, she's not made an explicit statement about her own identity. Which may be the best way to establish new norms. 

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Carmen - Lana Del Rey

Key Line: "The boys, the girls, They all like Carmen, She gives them butterflies, bats her cartoon eyes."

Lana Del Rey is the queen of a languid sensuality who doesn't seem to differentiate between genders, and "Carmen" is one of the most overt acknowledgements of bisexuality — through the titular character who is chased by all the girls and boys.

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All The Girls Love Alice - Elton John

Key Line: "All the young girls love Alice, Tender young Alice, they say, If I give you my number, Will you promise to call me? Wait till my husband's away."

Alice is a 16-year-old sex worker who "gets seduced by the naughty ladies," according  to Elton John, but later pays a hefty price with her life. 

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Billy Brown - Mika

Key Line: "Oh, Billy Brown had lived an ordinary life, Two kids, a dog and then the cautionary wife, While it was all going accordingly to plan, Then Billy Brown fell in love with another man."

Later, Billy does leave his wife and kids (the lyrics make that pretty clear) and meets a "girly" in Mexico who tells him he's "a victim of the times.”
 

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This Charming Man - The Smiths

Key Line: "A jumped-up pantry boy, Who never knew his place, He said 'return the ring.'"

A punctured bike tire, the help of a "charming" man, flirtation and an engagement nobody really wants, and you basically have a bisexual rom com — the connection between these two strangers is too real. 

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Tonight's The Night - Janet Jackson

Key Line: "This is just between me and you... and you."

Janet's little twist on Rod Stewart's ode to deflowering instead focuses on a girl/girl/guy threesome

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Love Like Winter - AFI

Key Line: "I met my love before I was born. He wanted love, I taste of blood. He bit my lip, and drank my warmth, From years before, from years before. She exhales vanilla lace, I barely dreamt her, yesterday. Read the lines in the mirror through, The lipstick trace."

A mid-aughts rock jam that about the band dying one by one in blue lip-inducing forest (cooly reminiscent of The Revenant), leaving the lead singer chasing after a mysterious woman who kisses him just as he, too, sinks away. Yet the lyrics would have us all believe he's also pining after a man. 

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Androgynous - The Replacements

Key Line: "Same hair, revolution, Same build, evolution, Tomorrow who's gonna fuss."

Gender-fluid and gender bending — this song was Paul Westerberg's optimistic nod to a hopeful future in which societal rules no longer apply. 

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Johnny Are You Queer? - Josie Cotton

Key Line: "'Cause when I see you, Dancing with your friends, I can't help wondering, Where I stand."

The narrator is initially approached by Johnny for a date. He becomes her boyfriend, but his indifference toward her — and his desire to hang out with his guy friends — can only mean one thing. 

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Coming Clean - Green Day

Key Line: "Skeletons come to life in my closet, I found out what it takes to be a man."

Billy Jo Armstrong says he wrote the song when he was coming to terms with his sexuality in high school. "I think I’ve always been bisexual,” Armstrong said. “I mean, it’s something that I’ve always been interested in. 

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Rough Boys - Pete Townshend

Key Line: "Tough boys, Come over here, I wanna bite and kiss you."

Pete Townshend said of the song, "In a way it was a coming-out. That it was a real acknowledgment of the fact that I'd been surrounded by people that I really adored — and was actually sexually attracted to — who were men. And that the side of me that responded to those people was a passive side, a subordinate side." 

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Love Potion No. 9 - The Searchers

Key Line: "I didn't know if it was day or night, I started kissing everything in sight, But when I kissed a cop down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine, He broke my little bottle of Love Potion Number Nine.

A nomad's love potion (ecstasy?) causes the narrator to love with everyone he comes across. When he kisses a cop, the offended officer smashes the aphrodisiac. Controversial for 1964, it was a hit nevertheless. 

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Pretty Boys And Pretty Girls — Book Of Love

Key Line: "I just close my eyes and I dream about, Pretty boys and pretty girls."

The title of the song and most of the lyrics are pretty self explanatory. "Pretty Boys And Pretty Girls," released in 1988, is also one of the first songs to reference the AIDS epidemic and safe sex. 

 

 

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Bobby Brown Goes Down - Frank Zappa

Key Line: "Women's liberation, Came creepin' across the nation, I tell you people I was not ready, When I f*cked this d*ke by the name of Freddie."

Zappa wrote about misogynistic Bobby Brown who is is living the "American Dream" until the encounter above makes him question his sexuality, and he finds himself engaging in S&M and golden showers with his boss. And everyone's the better for it.

 

 

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The Middle - Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

Key Line: "Why don't you just meet me in the middle."

Not to split too many hairs here, but this anthem explicitly says "meet me in the middle." While a narrow hetero-subjectivity might point out that the song seems to be discussing a couple working out some differences through argument, there can also be ascertained a deeper level of dialogue happening through the characters' pleas for compromise. 

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Triad - David Crosby

Key Line: "You want to know how it will be, Me and her or you and me."

Another early record on the bisexuality theme, David Crosby wrote it with sex-fueled, free love climate of the '60s in mind. But bandmate Roger McGuinn hated the song, calling it a "freak-out orgy tune."