NOW That’s What I Call Proud, a new compilation album from NOW That’s What I Call Music!, promises a tracklist of 16 of history’s gayest songs ever.
It’s kicking off with a strong start: the first track on the album is George Michael’s “Outside,” a song that put the British pop star’s controversial sex life front and center.“Outside” is a disco-infused song made for the dance floor, but its backstory is what makes the track truly special.
The track was Michael’s first release since his arrest for public lewdness on April 7, 1998, when an undercover cop baited Michael into exposing himself in a public restroom.Michael recalled the arrest in an MTV interview later that year. “I got followed into the restroom and then this cop — I didn’t know it was a cop, obviously — he started playing this game, which I think is called, ‘I’ll show you mine, you show me yours, and then when you show me yours, I’m going to nick you,'” he said.Just three days after his arrest, with his sexuality a hot topic for discussion, Michael officially came out of the closet in a CNN interview on April 10, 1998.“I feel stupid and I feel reckless and weak for having allowed my sexuality to be exposed this way, but I don’t feel any shame whatsoever.
And neither do I think I should,” Michael said.In October of that same year, he returned to music with “Outside.” Its message wasn’t subtle.