On Our Radar: Xana’s steamy “Better Kind of Best Friend” is for the sapphic gaze

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      Back in the bad old days of ’90s cable TV, there was a phenomenon known as the Lesbian Kiss Episode. 

      A leading lady would meet a one-episode character, share a smooch, and then never speak of it again. While this was a ploy to titillate viewers with some non-threatening homo-eroticism in the service of big, juicy ratings and has since largely fallen out of favour, it’s a reminder that for a long time, the way women love women has largely been governed by the male gaze. 

      That’s part of why queer femme pop stars reclaiming their sexuality has been so refreshing over the past few years. Be it Chappell Roan’s ruthlessly honest “Casual”, lesbian Jesus Hayley Kiyoko skewed takes on teen movie tropes like “Curious”, or genderfluid rapper Ashnikko delivering the braggadocious “Slumber Party”, girls who love girls are embracing music videos as a place to tell horny stories through their own lens. 

      Vancouver’s own rising star Xana is staking out her own place in the pantheon with new single “Better Kind of Best Friend,” the lead single off her upcoming sophomore album The Sex Was Good Until It Wasn’t

      The action seemingly takes place in some kind of mist-filled fantasy forest, interspersed with shots of Xana and her lover in a dreamy boudoir as Xana muses that she’s “found her treasure”. 

      The hip-hop-infused beat present at the beginning of the track morphs into the background as the chorus kicks off, bringing in more fuzzy guitar and drums as the steam ratchets up. “I don't die for my women anymore/No, I kill for 'em,” Xana purrs, as two glittery bodies twist and writhe together, swapping between devourer and the devoured. 

      And then things get darker into the bridge, as more girls in maximalist lingerie turn up—some of whom even appeared in Xana’s previous music videos. Is it an orgy? A bacchanalia? A sexy coven summoning an elder god through saucy fruit consumption? It doesn’t matter, as a sick riff soundtracks the sudden introduction of red-drenched lighting and leads into a final act that goes back to the track’s dirty club roots.

      In a release accompanying the video, Xana explains, “I wanted to write a song that felt shameless and celebratory of sexual pleasure and queer romance. The lyrics are seductive and brazen, and they navigate the intricate dance between submission and dominance, displaying a willingness to do anything to please your lover.” To which we can only say: yes, ma'am!

      Visually, it’s like if the Yellowjackets girls had access to burlesque gear. Which, in itself, is a show sapphics have really sunk their teeth into. It’s a fun reminder that queer people have never wanted to kiss the straight main girl on a TV show: we’ve always wanted to do weird shit in the woods.