Man on Man’s Songs to Be Gay To

Roddy Bottum and Joey Holman list 16 tracks that match the queer affection of their new debut record.

To say that Man on Man’s debut collection of songs is a celebration of queerness feels a bit like an understatement—the self-titled album from Faith No More’s Roddy Bottum and his boyfriend Joey Holman seems more inspired by unbridled queer love and confidence than it is fueled by the grungy corners of rock it pulls from. The pre-album single “1983” introduced the project as a familiarly mathy track that immediately takes on both upbeat instrumentals and an R-rated expression of love. Even the stoner-rock opener (“Stohner”) is a doe-eyed account of feeling “so right” with a partner by their side. The record is, simply put, a series of songs to be gay to.

With this intersection of queerness and music in mind, the duo of Bottum and Holman embraced “Songs to Be Gay To” as the theme of the playlist they assembled for us, compiling queer anthems from the likes of Frank Ocean, Syd, Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, and Hayley Williams. Catch up on the band’s new music—Man on Man dropped last Friday via Polyvinyl—here, and keep scrolling to read the duo’s thoughts on the songs included in the playlist below.

Gravy Train, “You Made Me Gay”
This song is audacious and bratty and full of spirit and sass. The first time I saw Gravy Train in San Francisco I couldn’t stop squealing.

Kele, “Smalltown Boy”

Kele is the singer of Bloc Party, and the new releases from his solo project are so beautiful. The sounds and moods he created in this song are distinctly Kele and quite perfect.

Serpentwithfeet, “Same Size Shoe”
From the awesome Deacon record, a song that speaks on the innocence of love and fellowship and passion.

Brendan Hendry, “Peter Pan Syndrome”

Not to put this song too much in the corner, but it’s reminiscent of nighttime in Bushwick during the summertime while being stoned at 2:00 a.m. with the AC window unit on full blast, and you’re drifting to sleep feeling the cool air on your dirty, sweaty skin from a night out with friends.  

Seth Bogart, “Boys Who Don’t Wanna Be Boys”

Seth writes and performs with conviction, I love his sense of pride.

Kehlani, “Bad News”

This record came out during the heat of the pandemic last year. We were in Los Angeles in anticipation of things to come. This song in particular made things feel normal and peaceful again, despite the lyrics and song title.

The Younger Lovers, “Easy Afternoon”

This song loops and swishes, it’s like Brontez doing a gay duet with Brontez.

Syd, “Know”

This song has so much meekness and control, reminiscent of Aaliyah. This song is for fans of really solid beats and synth atmosphere. Syd is such an incredibly gifted singer, has mastered creating and maintaining really strong vibes.

CRICKETS, “Elastic”

CRICKETS is the band I (Roddy) am in with JD and Michael O’Neil. We always imagined this song being performed at a queer festival with kids dancing as far as the eye could see.

Frank Ocean, “Nights”

Frank’s ability to create so many different song structures in one song, like Queen and Led Zeppelin, is his true genius.

Le Tigre, “Hot Topic”

I like this song cause it lists off cool inspirational voices in the world of queer players. In the spirit of our “It’s So Fun (To Be Gay)” video, it includes the community in an inclusive and empowering way that I admire.

Kelela, “Waitin’”

Kelela is a big influence in terms of how she does her vocal stacks. She’s the queen of lyrics and melody, and this song just makes everyone who listens to it feel happy. It’s reminiscent of feel-good ’90s Janet Jackson meets ’60s Motown.  

Liam Benzvi, “Opal”

Liam’s got it. His sense of melody and sophisticated instrumentation feels like Roxy Music if Bryan Ferry were gay.

Special Interest, “Young, Gifted, Black, In Leather”

The first time I (Joey) saw this band was at Brooklyn Bazaar (RIP) when they opened up for Limp Wrist.  The singer walked onto the stage with a giant disco ball and had the crowd in her hand for their entire set.  Both of their LPs are full of chaotic energy and queer as fuck.

Hayley Williams, “Pure Love”

Joey Howard is the co-writer on this song, and he played bass on a few tracks on our record. He’s an insanely talented songwriter and musician, and this song he did with Hayley feels just like the title.

Macy Rodman, “Vaseline”

I love Macy Rodman so much. I’ve seen her perform a million times, she’s a NY performer who’s got a real sexy swagger combined with a super funny sense of klutzy physical comedy. “Vaseline” embodies that combo in a real fun way.

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