Chappell Roan is a ‘Feminomenon’ on ‘Midwest Princess’

Chappell Roan takes a new look at midwestern royalty (NETTWERK RECORDS/PROVIDED)

With nine tracks previously released and five new tracks, Chappell Roan has released her debut album, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess.” Roan, the persona of Missouri-born Kayleigh Rose, released the songs on this album from April 3, 2020, to Sept. 22, 2023. 

The album opens with “Femininomenon,” an upbeat tale of bouncing back after a failed online relationship. The song includes a back-and-forth to be used during live performances, something Roan says she was inspired to include from a Queen performance, per an interview with Teen Vogue. It was originally released on Aug. 12, 2022.

Track two, “Red Wine Supernova” is a sensual bop that Roan wrote to capture, “the magic of having feelings for another girl,” per an interview with the Brooklyn Vegan. The music video for the song includes a love story between Roan and a magician. The magician teaches Roan a number of magic tricks, introducing her to a whole new world. The song was first released May 17, 2023.

“After Midnight” is the first track on the album to be first released with the release of the album. Another upbeat tune, this song speaks to desire and longing for a good time in the middle of the night. The song is a catchy, lighthearted bop. 

The first ballad on the album comes with track four, “Coffee.” Roan sings about her ex, someone who might not have treated her as she deserved, but who she wants to see again. Unfortunately, she can only meet them for coffee; anywhere else will lead to a night at their place. Roan is breaking the cycle of going back to her ex, a move that is both underrated and underrepresented. 

“Casual” is one of the most popular songs on the album, with over seven million streams on Spotify and a music video that has received 253,074 views as of writing. It is a blend of autobiographical writing and fictionalized accounts of a relationship that wasn’t defined as anything more than casual. It was released on Oct. 28, 2022. 

“Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl” is another track that debuted with the release of the full album. It is a fun, high energy song about deciding some people don’t meet the standards for a romantic relationship that one wants. Roan is done, she says, with “all these hyper mega bummer boys like you.” Instead, she’s interested in a, “super graphic ultra modern girl like me.”

The next song on “Midwest Princess” is a song about, quite simply, being hot! It was released on Aug. 11, 2023. Roan says on tour while performing this song, that she “wanted to be a cheerleader in high school, but [she] just never felt like [she] was that kind of girl.” The song has an accompanying dance for the chorus, which Roan is eager to teach anyone, from fans to locals to her own grandparents. 

Track 8 on the album, released May. 6, 2022, is titled “My Kink Is Karma.” Roan’s relationship has ended and she is completely over her ex, but she continues to keep up with him, not because she cares, but because her kink is watching them “ruin [their] life”. The artist said in an interview with Into More, “I was just sitting in the session and I was like, ‘Ah, it feels so nice that my ex is doing horrible!’”

“Picture You” is another of the five tracks released with the album on Sept. 22, 2023. It’s a slow, sensual song about wondering whether the object of your desire reciprocates your feelings. 

“Kaleidoscope” is next, the only self-written song on the album. Roan referred to it as her favorite song before it came out on March 31, 2023. The song’s narrator laments about a relationship they have with someone who was once a friend and is now more. It’s a sad song, a ballad about the confusion of loving someone but not knowing where you stand. 

The oldest and most popular song on the album is “Pink Pony Club,” which was released Apr. 3, 2020. The song is based on Roan’s first trip to the West Hollywood gay bar The Abbey when she was 21. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Roan said that the real pink pony club is at her live shows. Roan commonly has local drag queens as the opening acts and much of her music is focused on celebrating the queer community. 

“Naked in Manhattan” is a celebration of first times; specifically, finding one’s self in a relationship they’ve never tried before. Full of cultural references – specifically 2001’s Mulholland Drive and Mean Girls’ Regina George – it’s a pop song about growing up and becoming. The song was initially released Feb. 18, 2022.

To understand the next song, 2020’s “California”, one must understand that in 2020, Roan was dropped from her record label, the same year USA Today called “Pink Pony Club” a top ten song of the year. “California” is Roan – maybe more as Kayleigh – mourning her home of Missouri, saying, “come get me out of California” and “I miss the seasons in Missouri.” 

The closing track of “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” was released with the full album, a fitting end to the debut. It starts out as a slower song, but it’s an upbeat sensual track about longing. Like other songs on the album, Roan refers to herself as a “good girl” doing “bad things” for engaging in desire. 

For both new fans, and those who have been following Roan since 2020, this album encapsulates all the things people love about her music. She is both silly and somber, desiring and desirable, longing and lusting. With her own headlining tour through the rest of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, as well as plans to open for Olivia Rodrigo during the GUTS tour, Roan’s star continues to shine brighter with every move she makes. 

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