Source: Screenshot/Chappell Roan/YouTube

Did Someone Say 'Gay Pop?' Look No Further than Chappell Roan

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Look out, JoJo Siwa: There's a more credible current exemplar of "gay pop" on the charts, and her name is Chappell Roan.

"The Missouri-born singer-songwriter and her mop of red hair have been inescapable on pretty much every social platform," notes the Daily Beast. "She's been opening for (and kissing) Olivia Rodrigo on the Guts World Tour," the site adds, before calling her "the chief marketing officer for gay pop."

"But, wait," the Daily Beast snarks, "didn't someone else just say they wanted that job?"

That would be Siwa, who walked back a misjudged declaration that she wanted to invent "gay pop" after she was roundly roasted for the remark – with the most piquant chiding coming in the form of a wordless, disappointed video posted by out and proud sister act Tegan and Sara.

@teganandsara #stitch with @billboard ♬ original sound - Tegan and Sara

Billboard, writing about Roan's hit single "Good Luck, Babe!" called the track "an oddball pop song versed in queer theory," and noted that Roan is "a rising lesbian pop star" who has breached "the 'gay famous' ceiling (as SNL puts it)" with her entree into "the Hot 100."

Roan's arrival seemed improbable not so long ago, Billboard noted, glancing at her having been "raised in a conservative Christian household" en route to detailing how she was "positioned as the next Lorde after a video of her 2017 single 'Die Young' went viral," only for a subsequent single to nearly derail her: "When 'Pink Pony Club' came out in April 2020, Atlantic didn't know what to do with an off-kilter gay club song in the middle of lockdown, and promptly dropped her," the music mag recalled.

But she was soon back with new material like the single "My Kink is Karma," with its sizzling (albeit hetero-leaning) video.

Eventually, her persistence paid off. The rest has been history in the making, and Roan's building momentum hasn't been slackened by the fact that she's openly LGBTQ+.

"Her lyrics were frank about her sexuality," Billboard recalled about her 2023 album "The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess," "particularly in a viral line from [the] song 'Red Wine Supernova': 'I heard you like magic? I got a Wand and a Rabbit!'"

While Siwa has stumbled in an attempt to launch a more "adult" phase of her career, Roan has effortlessly arrived. "In every possible way, she feels in tune with the moment," the Daily Beast gushed. The artist "has the strutty verve of Lady Gaga and the giggly, sung-from-the-chest vocals of Katy Perry," the site said.

"From her drag-inspired make-up, to her big wigs, to the lipstick on her teeth during a recent Tiny Desk Concert, this woman is oozing camp from her pores," the Beast declared, "and that's not even mentioning the time she gave herself a Penelope nose on an album cover."

Check out the video to Roan's "Good Luck, Babe!" below.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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