The Jaguar Journal

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The Jaguar Journal

The Jaguar Journal

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Chappell Roan

The brand new Pop-Artist who has the Girls, Gays, and Theys HOT TO GO

From Freddie Mercury to Lady Gaga, gay pop has been around for decades, much opposed to the claims that ex-Dance Moms star Jojo Siwa has made. After centuries of musical achievement, critics have been cynical of the recent decade of music, citing a lack of originality in content and bare performance on the live stage. While I don’t necessarily agree with this opinion, I do know one thing: Chappell Roan created an album that broke the boundaries of the barren landscape of music and led to a resurgence of gay pop, The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess.

Despite her recent popularity due to touring with fellow star Olivia Rodrigo and her growth from TikTok bop Casual and single Good Luck, Babe! Roan has been around for quite a few years in the industry. A majority of the songs on her debut album were released as singles in the three years prior. 

Pink Pony Club caught the ear of listeners as her third single leading up to the album. Roan brings the heat with smooth, melodic vocals and a synth production that continuously builds to create a perfect dance song. The lyrics feel similar to that of Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun and the song works to embrace the idea of opposing parental concern over club life. Though that might be the main feature of the song, many innuendoes are sprinkled throughout that reveal the gay nature of the song and Roan’s music as a whole.

Roan gained significant traction with her TikTok bop Casual after the release of the album, partially due to its raw, desire-heavy lyrics and its appeal to the LGBTQ+ audience on the app. Chappell Roan was instantly designated as the perfect gay icon for teens and young adults, as her music is openly queer without any heterosexual veil. 

Part of Roan’s popularity stems from her drag inspired makeup. Roan has also labeled herself as a drag queen. Despite the controversy that may surround a cisgender woman as a drag queen, the drag community has openly embraced Roan for both her creativity and her performance. The first track on the album, Femininomenon, is exactly what it sounds like. The song instills Roan as a feminine phenomenon, which as she says, is something that no man can perfect. The album has a few songs, such as Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl and HOT TO GO!, that focus on the love of a woman over the love of a man. Roan continues to write lyrics that put shame on men that break girls’ hearts for no good reason. 

Produced by Dan Nigro, who might be a familiar name to those who listen to Olivia Rodrigo and Conan Gray, The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess embraces the 80s Synth Pop sound that has been rising in popularity in the recent decade. Nigro takes the 80s sound and mixes it with modern club beats to create an atmosphere of summer nights, club lights, and city sights for the album. Naked In Manhattan begins with the sound of laser beams before picking up again as background noises during the chorus. Usually this would be a little jarring for a listener, but it works because Roan’s vocals carry the chorus perfectly. Roan’s mixed vocals allow for her voice to guide the production, preventing the intense synths from taking over the light lyrics.

The influence of 80’s and 90’s Synth Pop and New Wave music on a queer woman should come as no surprise at all. Synth Pop and New Wave music is and has always been very queer. New Wave and Synth Pop have always been attached at the hip, taking inspiration and initiative from one another and both are famous for their openly queer bands and artists. From the vocally supportive and androgynous bands like Eurythmics & Japan to the openly gay like Depeche Mode & Pet Shop Boys. Even SuperStars like David Bowie who was openly bisexual, switched genres from Synth Pop to rock and countless others. New Wave itself traces its origin from the Post-Punk musical era which took off when punk bands and post-punk bands began to experiment with synthesizers. These experimental bands were more often than not queer.

Chappell Roan is a welcome face in a big genre. Her vocals are refreshing and songs on her album bounce naturally from somber to exciting as listeners peruse her tracks. Initial criticisms of her music does hold some claim, as her music often can lack some of the nuance or ethereal longing that most Synth Pop carries. However Roan responded quickly with her single Good Luck, Babe! which perfectly encapsulates much of the ideas and themes of old Synth Pop mixed with her own sapphic twist.

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About the Contributors
Sadie Berry, Reporter
Sadie Berry Staff Reporter You have to say the whole name "Sadie Berry" every time
Cuauhtemoc Yanez
Cuauhtemoc "Temo" Yanez A&E Editor Uses reviews to validate interests.
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