Circa 2020, as I was mindlessly scrolling through TikTok, my life was irreparably changed. The TikTok in question? A snippet of Chappell Roan’s “Pink Pony Club.” The 30-second clip I witnessed that day set me on a trajectory of falling in love with pop music all over again — all thanks to the next pop superstar.
With the high-camp visuals and extravagance of Lady Gaga, the intricate beats and lyricism of both Lorde and Lana Del Rey, and a siren call of a voice that mixes the two, Chappell Roan has all the fixings of becoming the next popstar to adoringly be called mother by the girls and gays of the world.
“Pink Pony Club,” the song that left me so enamored with Roan in the first place, was released in 2020 and produced by Dan Nigro, the producer of Olivia Rodrigo’s “SOUR.” “Pink Pony Club” is the best introduction to Roan’s music for the unfortunately uninitiated, as a synth-pop bop that begs for any listener to dance and sing along. No matter how many times I listen, the song still remains fresh with each new listen, offering deeper insight into the intricacies of its production. The song paints Roan as an aspiring go-go dancer and embraces the theme of chasing your dreams. Subtextually, the song is a celebration of queer culture, which tracks given that the song was inspired by Roan visiting The Abbey, a gay bar in West Hollywood. The song outlines the idea of going someplace to feel accepted — even without support from parental figures — which is yet another theme that many queer listeners can identify with.
“Pink Pony Club” is just the cherry on top of the decadent sundae of Roan’ discography. The singles from “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess,” serve as the perfect sampling of Roan’s style and range. The singles primarily are upbeat flirty and fun romps, incorporating synth pop and intricate beats.
My particular favorites of the singles include the deeply unserious “Femininomenon,” the hot girl bop to end all hot girl bops “Hot to Go,” the heartbreaking pop ballad “Casual,”, and the best upbeat fun and zany breakup track “My Kink is Karma.”
To refer to Roan simply as a singer is an injustice — down to the very last rhinestone, she is an artist with her own visual and musical aesthetic. Each music video, handmade outfit, and extravagant look all attest to this fact.
For her “Naked in North America Tour,” Roan shared a theme for every show with fans, suggesting outfits to wear and even posting makeup tutorials onto social media, all in addition to making her own outfits. The calculated visuals of her music videos and handmade outfits embrace camp, to the point where I know anytime Roan looks into the mirror she is looking camp in the eye.
In a time where pop has become oversaturated and underwhelming, Chappell Roan breathes new life into the genre. She returns pop music to being over the top, being fun, and being actually good. Most importantly, her music makes you want to dance and sing along while making you feel sexy. In a time where hot girl pop is scarce, Chappell Roan has come to give us what we so fervently thirst for.