Review of Chappell Roan's album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess | Ally Block
Chappell Roan knows she’s the moment. The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess is the perfect anecdote for the girls and the gays that want an album reflecting every aspect of the queer experience, both good and bad. Chappell is incredibly versatile and shows that she is a powerhouse when it comes to ballads and club bangers.
Rise and Fall has substance, and in the age of two-minute songs and four-track “albums,” it’s really refreshing to have an album that’s a full 14 tracks. The slow ballads are devastating and dreamy, and the ultra-pop songs are in your face, fun, and unashamed to go off the wall. It’s very clear in all aspects of this album that Chappell knows exactly who she is and what she wants you to know about her as an artist.
Songs like “Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl,” “Femininomenon,” and “Guilty Pleasure” all have those perfectly campy, exuberant sounds from queer pop moguls like Kylie Minogue and Elton John, making it clear that Chappell is an artist that’s done her research on what makes a staple queer pop song.
The ballads of Rise and Fall, however, have the biting self-awareness of Gen Z artists like Olivia Rodrigo, and are perfectly clued into the dating scene of the 21st century. “Casual” and “Kaleidoscope” cover the complexities of a situationship, and how queer breakups can be extra brutal. Chappell’s lyrics are detailed enough that you know it’s coming from real experience, but vague enough that anyone can relate to them.
Chappell doesn’t need to find her sound because, despite this being her first album, she’s found it and stuck to it. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times newspaper, Chappell connected current queer culture to punk culture, saying that “[the queer community] has no problem making art that’s almost obnoxiously gay,” which is reflected directly in this album.
Chappell Roan has already been deemed a queer pop star in the making by multiple publications and Elton John himself, but you didn’t need to tell her that. She already knows exactly who she is and where she’s going, and The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess is a clear sign of that.