College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

Title Art by ADHL
“Eva's World” Page 25
Title Art by ADHL
“Eva's World” Page 24
Title Art by ADHL
“Eva's World” Page 25
Title Art by ADHL
“Eva's World” Page 24

The Rise of a Midwest Pop Star: “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” Review

Chappell Roan is the name on everyone’s lips this pride month. And with the impeccable debut album, it’s easy to see why.
The Rise of a Midwest Pop Star: “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” Review

In the midst of a potential ban from the American government, TikTok faced another culture-changing impact: the release of Chappell Roan’s new single on April 5.

The song took the app by storm and nearly broke into the top 20 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The attention from social media as well as incoming attention from her opening during Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS tour, made Roan’s popularity skyrocket; so much so that Roan was invited to perform at the Governor’s Ball on June 9 and at the White House (the latter of which she turned down, stating she wouldn’t perform until there was “liberty, justice and freedom for all.”) After seeing her all over my FYP, I decided to see what her deal was and listened to her album, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess.”

Even though this is her first studio album, released in September 2023, it’s a smashing debut. The worst thing about it is that I was introduced to it nearly a year after it came out. Roan demonstrates she not only has the energy but also the talent to become a pop star along the same lines as Gaga or Katy Perry. Although, comparing the three pop singers feels shallow and inarticulate to how incredibly unique Roan’s music feels in the overall pop landscape

Among the smash hits, my personal favorites are “Red Wine Supernova,” “Picture You,” “HOT TO GO!” and “Naked in Manhatten.” Each of these songs are a brilliant display of Roan’s powerhouse vocals and her stellar ability to emotionally connect with the audience. Truthfully, a few songs don’t do justice to Roan’s unadulterated talent, but these four are the crème de la crème of the whole shebang. 

“HOT TO GO!” in particular stands out. This is one of four songs of Roan’s that is all over TikTok, and it’s not hard to figure out why. This song is catchy, well-written and shows off Roan’s incredible voice. It’s also nice to have a song that so casually celebrates being gay as opposed to lamenting a failed love or how ostracizing being queer can be. Roan is comfortable with her sexuality, and it shows in this song. 

Despite the queer text in the song, this song is very approachable and open for anyone to enjoy. The fact that it has turned into one of the queer anthems of the summer is just a bonus on top of it. The YMCA-like dance that Roan incorporated into her shows makes the song an all-around good time. Also, it’s got those pseudo-’80s pop vibes, and it’s hard to hate that. 

One of those other trendy TikTok songs is “Femininomenon,” which is also the first song on the album. Overall, it’s a solid song, with a catchy beat and a unique high energy that comes with Roan’s pop style. But it falls a little flat when compared to powerhouses like “Red Wine Supernova” or “HOT TO GO!”  When it comes on, I groove to it, but I hardly ever seek it out. It’s one of those songs that do well on TikTok because there are specific parts that sound good out of context but fall a little flat in context, such as “Unholy” by Sam Smith. Much like “Unholy,” “Femininomenon” has a catchy chorus that can hold your attention for the 30-second clip that shows up on TikTok but the actual song is lackluster and underwhelming. 

With “Femininomenon” falling towards the middling part of the album, the songs that have to beg for my attention are “California” and “Guilty Pleasure.” “California” is a slow ballad that feels very run-of-the-mill and lacks a lot of Roan’s incredible vocals, but her expressiveness is what still draws me back to the song every time. It’s by no means a bad song, but it’s not the strongest and sticks out against a slew of other musical powerhouses. 

Same with “Guilty Pleasure.” It’s hit or miss for me. Sometimes I vibe with it and its catchy beat and easy-to-hum melody. But other times, it feels bland and somehow both too long and too short. The repetitive lyrics make it feel longer than it is and the lack of a bridge hurts the song a lot. But despite it all, I still somehow find myself back for a relisten every once in a while. 

With a debut like this, it’s hard to not imagine Roan going for the stars. Even the songs that fall short for me still have their moment to shine; I still come back to those songs time and time again. This album is well-rounded, emotional and loaded with songs for everyone experiencing any emotion. After listening to her for a few weeks, this album has quickly become one of my go-tos. If you’re looking for something to break through the cicada noise, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” is one of the best ways you can do that.

 

10/10

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