Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Chappell Roan Brings Sapphic Swooning, ’80s Energy With Her Newest Single ‘Good Luck, Babe!’


Whenever someone says “I hate to say it, but I told you so,” you know they didn’t actually hate to say it. If anything, they relish it. Chappell Roan exemplifies this feeling in her latest single “Good Luck, Babe!”, a poppy, ’80s-esque song about saying goodbye to a lover who cannot accept themselves enough to be with who they love.

Although her debut album only came out last year, Roan, with her campy aesthetics, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and soulful voice, has been growing a dedicated fanbase on TikTok for several years. Her 2023 debut album, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” marked the first time she received more mainstream recognition, leading to her serving as the opener for Olivia Rodrigo’s 2024 GUTS Tour.

Aesthetic is central to both Roan’s stage persona and her music. On stage, she sports an array of different extravagant costumes, ranging from poofy wedding gowns to short skirts with fishnets to neon pink numbers covered in glitter and tassels. She hones in on the concept of “camp” — that which is considered in poor taste or excessive — and relishes in it. 

Roan’s songs are explicit and expressive, exposing her emotional vulnerability while also not shying away from a sex joke or two. She is also very open about her queer identity, with many of her songs detailing her experiences of self-discovery. And these experiences are not solemn and closeted tales of stolen glances, but rather loud and proud pop songs sung with the same confidence as a classic Taylor Swift breakup song. 

Her latest single, “Good Luck, Babe!” falls nicely into this category. Roan sings from the perspective of a woman whose female lover has scorned her, refusing to acknowledge her love for Roan’s character and instead trying to hide her queerness and feelings by dating other men. Rather than facing this experience with dejection, Roan instead reaffirms the validity of her love before casting away her lover, who refuses to accept who they are.

As previously stated, “Good Luck, Babe!” has the air of a classic Swift breakup anthem, but with a sapphic twist. Many of Roan’s influences appear to come from earlier eras, though, with the track having a distinctly ’80s sound to it, particularly reminiscent of female pop artists like Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper

Her instrumentals pair light and airy strings with a distinct pop synth, creating a mood both romantic and fun, modern and classic. Given the omnipresence of ’80s influence in contemporary pop music, the instrumentals add a sense of timelessness to the song which, while discussing a more contemporary topic of queer love, cements it as a sure favorite for fans of the genre.

Beyond just the instrumentation, though, Roan’s stunning vocals further amplify the ’80s ambiance of the track. She sings in a tone both sentimental and mocking, sarcastic yet sincere, creating a sense of relatability for the frustration she feels in her relationship. Her vocals throughout the track are bold and bombastic, as she skillfully varies quiet and loud moments in a way that makes the softer ones seem intimate and the louder ones feel like they would fill up a room. These contrasts are seen particularly well during the song’s bridge, the sure highlight of the song, in which she finally belts out “I told you so!” to her former lover, perfectly hitting a spectacular high note.

Roan is more than just her aesthetics; she brings a talent and relatability that were desperately needed to the pop genre. Although she is just at the beginning of her career, this single marks a great start for her next album, marking her as a midwest princess on the rise.

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