Clockwise from left: Siren; Sylvester; and Noel Niks / Photos via Instagram and Facebook

Songs for the Midwest Princesses

If you like Chappell Roan, you’ll love this playlist

Chappell Roan exploded into stardom this year after releasing The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, a sincere and bold exploration of queerness, femininity, and heartbreak. “HOT TO GO!,” “Red Wine Supernova,” and her most recent single, “Good Luck, Babe!” are upbeat, ‘80s-inspired tracks about sweet starts and bitter exes. Her voice is moving and elevates the album’s captivating pop melodies. Her Tiny Desk concert showcased her vocal abilities and iconic style. The lipstick on the teeth, the wig, and the glove/dress combo embody the album’s sympathetic synth-pop heroine.

She paid homage to the late drag queen and comedienne Divine in her latest Pride performance in Louisville, Kentucky. Chappell’s love of drag extends beyond her wardrobe. On tour, she books local drag performers to open her show. When she came to Atlanta, Drew Friday, Taylor Alxndr, and Cookie Dlite opened the show at Buckhead Theatre.

Chappell has said drag has had a major influence on her onstage character, but she doesn’t feel like she’s completed her evolution.

“I feel like another girl in the local drag competition. Like another girl on Drag Race. I don’t think I’m a judge yet,” she said in an interview with NME.

The album captures the highs and lows of developing an identity as a young queer person, and I can’t get enough. If you can’t either, here are some recommendations based on your favorite song from the album:

 

“Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl”

REIGN DANCE” by SIREN

Suppose your favorite Chappell tune is the playful denouncing of archaic dating rules set to a solid synth beat. You should tap into the hypnotic power of “Reign Dance” by Siren. The group is a Brooklyn-based, Black and brown trans music collective that released its first project, THE GREAT OFFERING: VENUS UNDERWATER, earlier this year. Asanni Armon, s.e.r, Demi Vee, PHARAOH RAPTURE, WHATSGOOD!, and SunChild became friends in 2016 before forming the powerhouse musical group. Of the album’s multigenre exploration, RAPTURE said in an interview with Them, “One of the things that we were all able to do was really prove that there’s no genre that Black queer people don’t have any business inside of, because we did create them all.”

 

“After Midnight”

“Dance (Disco Heat)” by Sylvester

For you, nothing beats a funky bass line that lets you lose yourself somewhere in the middle. As you might’ve guessed, “Dance (Disco Heat)” by Sylvester is as funky as it gets. Sylvester was an L.A.-based singer at the height of disco who played with gender, both in his singing voice and personal style. Known as the “Queen of Disco,” Sylvester’s early EDM tracks still earn royalties even decades after his passing, all of which go to two HIV/AIDS charities, Project Open Hand and the AIDS Emergency Fund.

 

“Feminomenon”

“Mini Heartbreaks” by Sudie

What if “Feminomenon” were rewritten by Grimes and sung by Kate Bush? That’s “Mini Heartbreaks” by Sudie. Atlanta-based and classically trained, Sudie releases her debut album, “Doldrums End,” on July 12, with an album release show at 529 in EAV on Friday, July 19. Tickets are available at bigtickets.com/events/529.

 

“Red Wine Supernova”

“Babe” by Naomi.

The iconic hook behind “Red Wine Supernova” has the same allure as the electro-pop track, “Babe,” by Naomi. The up-and-coming queer artist hails from Atlanta, but her ethereal vocals are otherworldly. Like Roan, Naomi.’s rich tone and unique vocal stylings take listeners on a journey through the first moments of an irresistible connection under the club lights.

 

“HOT TO GO!”

“Hands Up” by Noel Niks

As different as these songs may seem on the surface, “HOT TO GO!” and “Hands Up” by androgynous rapper Noel Niks are confidence anthems. Niks’ lyrical performance and commitment to cunt can be appreciated on his newest album, Boys Can Be Girls Too.

Listen to the full playlist:

  1. “REIGN DANCE” by SIREN
  2. “Deep in Vogue — Introducing Lourdes & Willie Ninja” by Malcolm McLaren & The Bootzilla Orchestra
  3. “Dance (Disco Heat)” by Sylvester
  4. “Fortune Teller” by Rett Madison
  5. “lily” by Kara Jackson
  6. “Mini Heartbreaks” by Sudie
  7. “Act of God” by Gossip
  8. “If It Wasn’t True” by Shamir
  9. “Babe” by Naomi.
  10. “Hands Up” by Noel Niks