Chappell Roan poses in a beauty pageant outfit on the cover of her album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess.
(Amusement / Island)

Wanna Get Into Chappell Roan? Start With These 10 Songs

What’s not to love about Chappell Roan? At only 26, Roan is a rising star in the pop music scene, most recently opening for Olivia Rodrigo on her international Guts tour. Roan combines a knockout voice, exquisitely-written songs, and a joyful celebration of drag and queer culture into her signature style.

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If you haven’t gotten into Chappell Roan yet, now’s your chance! Here are ten of her best songs to start you off. They’re ranked by my own personal preference, but really, all these songs are great. Happy listening!

10. “HOT TO GO!”

“HOT TO GO!” should come with a warning: within minutes of hearing it for the first time, you’ll be bouncing around shouting “H-O-T-T-O-G-O!” until your throat’s raw. In fact, there’s your warning. You’ve been warned.

9. “My Kink is Karma”

“My King is Karma” is just a solid, dance-able, sing-able pop song, with faint traces of Taylor Swift. I dare you to listen to it without dancing at least a little.

8. “California”

Roan grew up in Missouri, and coming to California to join the queer scene comes up multiple times in her songs (see also “Pink Pony Club” below). However, “California” shows that that kind of transformation isn’t always simple.

7. “Naked in Manhattan”

“Naked in Manhattan” captures the most exciting parts of young love—especially young queer love. Who can forget that moment when you and your crush are “an inch away from more than just friends”?

6. “Kaleidoscope”

In the heartfelt ballad “Kaleidoscope,” Roan shows off her range as a vocalist, with soft and sultry musings on how hard it is to let a lover go.

5. “Pink Pony Club”

If you only listen to the chorus of “Pink Pony Club,” it might sound like your standard-issue pop song about going out clubbing. When you realize the song is actually about leaving behind everything familiar and finding your place within queer culture, though, it’ll take on a whole new emotional resonance.

4. “Casual”

“Casual” gets at the heart of what can make unrequited love so hard: not the ironic catharsis of a messy, dramatic breakup, but the feeling that you have to tamp down your feelings while someone’s taking advantage of you. Why are you so heartbroken? You two are just casual, that’s all. No biggie.

3. “After Midnight”

“After Midnight” is as sexy and stylish as a song can get. I’d pay a hundred bucks to be in a club dancing to it right now, but alas, I’ll have to settle for my air pods.

2. “Die Young”

Incredibly, Roan wrote “Die Young” when she was only 17 years old, uploading it to YouTube after coming up with it at a summer camp for the arts. This song is a gorgeously rendered meditation on choosing whether to give up or keep fighting.

1. “Red Wine Supernova”

Maybe I’m biased because “Red Wine Supernova” was the first Chappell Roan song I ever heard, but for me, her work doesn’t get any better than this. “Red Wine Supernova” is the perfect blend of Sapphic joy and addictive pop music. If you’re not shouting along with this song’s call and response verses, then I just don’t know what to do with you.


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Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>