Much like the first snowfall of the year, the world blanketed in white marks both the end of the year and a canvas for what spring will offer in a few months. Renee Rapp’s debut LP “Snow Angel” does just that.
While Rapp’s music career is fairly new, she’s no stranger to the spotlight. Starring as Regina George in “Mean Girls” on Broadway in 2019 and Leighton Murray in “The Sex Lives of College Girls” since 2021, Rapp is used to feeling strong emotions.
Her 2022 EP “Everything to Everyone” featured chart toppers such as “Too Well,” “In the Kitchen” and “Colorado.” Rapp’s debut captured passionate love and growing up while trying to find the balance of it all. In her first full length album that dropped Friday, Rapp brings us back on an emotional roller coaster of heartbreak, pulling yourself through the pain and eventually healing from it.
“Talk Too Much” envelops us into Rapp’s world with a punch of angst-filled punk. With lyrics reminiscent of Olivia Rodrigo and a choral beat similar to the 1967 hit “Sunshine of Your Love,” it’s the perfect rock anthem. The song’s bridge is a phone conversation we’ve likely had or heard: anxiously asking for reassurance in a new relationship while unintentionally talking yourself out of happiness.
Another catchy anthem is “Poison Poison,” a song packed full of passive-aggressive digs at an ex-friend. The handclap tune is playground drama-esque with mature insults and describing how they were so toxic, they could ruin a deadly drink.
Taking a 180 from the first song, “I Hate Boston” is a piano ballad on how an ex ruined a city full of memories. While a catchy crooning song, it’s one of several other ballads capturing some of the greatest pains known to humans. “The Wedding Song” has touches of mellow 2000s pop on how someone will never hear how much they were loved after leaving Rapp’s life. “Snow Angel” is interspersed with guitar solos and feels the most personal as Rapp passionately belts out her sadness and not feeling worthy of connecting with others.
The best lyrical song on the album is “Tummy Hurts.” The simplicity of the childish title can throw off listeners, but the complex emotions of love take over through laid back tones. Rapp curses an ex for generations to come by saying “someone’s gonna hurt their little girl like their daddy hurt me.” The laid back tones contrast the melancholy, making for a splendid song.
The second half of Rapp’s album goes for gentler melodies similar to Jeremy Zucker and Frank Ocean. They eloquently describe the changes that come from growing up and figuring out not everyone has it figured out. “Pretty Girls” is a letter to Rapp since coming out as bisexual last year and adjusting to being hit on. “I Wish” is a tearful song about realizing your parents will eventually die one day and trying to come to terms with it. “Willow” takes a new twist on R&B by having a conversation with your younger self and giving your inner child advice.
Rapp’s album makes for a gentle yet powerful debut. To take the difficult moments of growth and adapt them into poetic lyrics to touch thousands is no easy feat, yet she does it gracefully. “Snow Angel” reinvents pop to be simultaneously warming and celebratory, just how the first snowfall should feel.
Write to Emma Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Header Photo: Renee Rapp is an American actress and singer, who rose to fame from her role as Regina George in the Broadway musical Mean Girls. (Photo courtesy of Renee Rapp)