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The all-queer electropop trio make their return with a glorious sophomore album.

There are high expectations for MUNA’s ambitiously-titled new album Saves The World. After winning over critics and a legion of fans with self-produced debut album About U, which featured queer anthem (and their bi.est hit to date) I Know A Place, the Los Angeles-based band were hand-picked by Harry Styles to support him on his debut world tour, and have been on an upwards trajectory ever since. So when it came to recording their sophomore release, often a make-or-break moment for signed artists, the pressure was well and truly on.

“I think we knew that the stakes were high in regards to the expectation of what this record could be and what it could do for us as a band,” explains producer and guitarist Naomi. “We have really lovely fans who seem to like everything that we drop, but looking at the picture, I think we knew that we had to come into our own as artists and as a band.”

Through their career so far, MUNA have helped create a safe space for outsiders to escape to and relate – band members Katie, Josette and Naomi all identify as queer – earning them a loyal and passionate LGBTQ fanbase, which any pop artist knows is priceless. “Queer people are the best music fans in the world,” the band affirms.

From darkly cinematic opener Grow, through to stadium-ready anxiety anthem Navy Blue, and finishing off with the painfully honest It’s Gonna Be OK, Baby, the new album throbs with pulsating synths and bittersweet melodies that both sustain and elaborate on MUNA’s signature brand of emo-pop music. As the band prepares to release their second collection into the world, we joined them on a four-way conference call to discuss how shared queerness helps unify them as a band, providing authentic representation in pop, and whether or not Josette is a capitalist.

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NEW WAVE A new wave is taking over. A generation of queer identifying people are occupying mainstream spaces and using it to tell their unique story – often without limitations. And in this digital world, that equals power. From that, it develops into people like us having immediate access to content inclusive of entertainment shows, first-hand stories without your horrible corporate filer, and it be varied viewpoint. The types of stories that our friends have, but so often don’t tell. Stories that we all know exist but are hungry for more of. These stories that dive deeper into our collective history and existence to be available for everyone – and for mainstream platforms to be embracing the content on an unparalleled level – is a clear indication of progression. In this 499th issue of GAY TIMES, join us as we celebrate this new wave of visibility within many previously ignored spaces; and the people behind some of the success. JONATHAN VAN NESS Having spoken earlier in the year about their gender nonconforming identity and ready for world domination with his new book, a live world tour and a new season of Queer Eye, 2019 is the year of Jonathan Van Ness. In an exclusive conversation with Tom Rasmussen, the formidable grooming guru on the undeniable beauty of gender nonconforming people, why visibility for queer people on mainstream platforms is vital for our collective progression, and his smokey relationship with Netflix co-star Antoni Porowski. CHARLI XCX With the release of her incredible, self-titled third studio album on the horizon – which features a host of queer talent such as Pabllo Vittar, Christine and the Queens, Big Freedia, Brooke Candy and Kim Petras - Charli XCX continues to push the pop agenda forward, all while raising LGBTQ voices. For our new issue, Charli linked up with friend and fellow pop fave Troye Sivan to discuss the long-awaited album and why she wouldn't be here without support from the LGBTQ community.