“No one ever told me I could just be me/No one ever said to live your life free,” Frankie Simone sings on the title track of her brand-new debut EP, Love//Warrior. “If you’re gonna talk the talk, then you’d better walk the walk.”
The Puerto Rican pop sensation and semi-recent Portland transplant’s first release is glossy, radio-ready dance pop that never sounds sterile or over-produced. Instead, its five tracks stay grounded with booming rhythms, rallying hand-claps, and impassioned battle cries. Opening track “War Paint” speaks to Simone’s own experience of liberating herself from fear and insecurity, while “Blow My Mind” is an ode to her wife and backup dancer Che Che Luna. The EP’s standout is “Queer,” which contains the uncomplicated refrain, “It’s okay to be queer and proud.”
Although there are artists like Demi Lovato and Hayley Kiyoko (AKA “Lesbian Jesus”) representing the LGBTQIA community on the Billboard charts, it’s no secret that mainstream pop is overwhelmingly heteronormative. (Save for a few controversial examples that’ve been accused of fetishizing queer experiences, like Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” and Rita Ora’s recent single “Girls.”) Simone’s celebratory queer anthems sound like they could fill this void; they’re explosions of positivity with empowering lyrics and upbeat tempos meant for dancefloor catharsis.
On Love//Warrior, Frankie Simone doesn’t sound like she’s trying to start a war—she simply acknowledges that coming out can feel like walking onto the front lines. She then arms her fellow love warriors with the confidence they deserve, and demands acceptance as she charges onward.