Halsey and Lauren Jauregui's "Strangers" deserves its own love letter

the voice and vision of a new generation
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Halsey and Lauren Jauregui's "Strangers" deserves its own love letter

June 2, 2017

Dear Halsey,

I was nervous reading about your new song with Lauren Jauregui on Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Strangers, being promoted as a "love song for the LGBTQ community." I thought this type of inclusion would mean what it usually does in the media: one line or verse barely addressing same-gender attraction.

Too often, queer girls like us are (intentionally) duped into thinking our love and experiences will be represented in mainstream entertainment. Studios and labels will allude to possible inclusion and artists will use vague language and references in order to bring in LGBTQ-identified audiences. (See: queerbaiting.)

Still, as your fan (and a GLAAD employee) I knew I had to listen. I thought, at least it is sung by two out & proud bisexual women… I’ll know they are singing about an experience I can relate to.

Immediately, I was hooked, because Strangers sounds as if it belongs on my favorite, go-to Spotify playlist, “Crying on the Dancefloor.” But Strangers isn’t just meant for house remixes, played in clubs for bumbling millennials and their incessant dancefloor jumping. Listeners won’t be able to miss how this hit single, by two of pop’s biggest up-and-comers, is about queer love, queer sex, and queer intimacy.  

Literally no one could miss how queer this song is. After the catchy, synth-fueled intro, you sing your opening verse:

“She doesn’t kiss me on the mouth anymore.

'Cause it's more intimate, than she thinks we should get

She doesn't look me in the eyes anymore

Too scared of what she'll see, somebody holding me.”

Okay...so I was wrong. Not queerbait. Very queer. Honestly, you could have sung the first verse on repeat for the whole song and I would have kept listening. I connected with your lyrics right away.

Better still, Strangers continues on to detail your and Lauren's experiences–conflicting, beautiful, and complicated–with your ex-girlfriends. (See: relatable.) From the very beginning, you assert your queer prowess and unapologetically share your story of queer love gone lost, gone good, gone sad. (See: very relatable.)

The fact that you chose Strangers to be a single and promoted it before the release of Hopeless Fountain Kingdom further signals your allegiance to representing queer love and working to share your story to all people regardless of identity.

It’s not just pop music – but it is pop music, and that’s what makes this album so groundbreaking. Kids across the world are going to dance and sing-scream the words that tell the story of you. And through you they will sing the story of so many of us whose stories are rarely told.

Halsey: we’re not lovers, we’re just strangers – but I had to tell you how much this song and album mean to me.

xo - Clare

the voice and vision of a new generation