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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Reneé Rapp’s ‘Snow Angel’ is a masterful debut

The singer’s rising star is cemented with this new album.

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Reneé Rapp is pictured in New York on Dec. 13.

“I just want some recognition / For having good tits and a big heart,” Reneé Rapp sings in the best line of Tummy Hurts.” This song is just one of many hits on her debut album “Snow Angel (2023).

Rapp’s music was already enjoyable, but she truly earns deeper admiration with her new album. Her ability to release a seven-song EP in 2022 and a full 12-track album just one year later is wildly impressive. She seems to be on a song-writing streak!

“Snow Angel” differs from Rapp’s earlier work in that it exudes more confidence. With this album, it’s clear that Rapp has really come into herself as an artist. Her voice is strong, her lyrics flow and her range is incredible. The album feels cohesive; it begs to be played on a record player. For those who often shuffle albums, try and listen to “Snow Angel” in its original order. It has a beautiful, natural progression from groovy to sad to absolutely soul-crushing to light-hearted and back again.

Rapp starts out with “Talk Too Much,” a fun rock anthem that makes listeners want to jump out of their seats and scream along with Rapp as she sings Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, I think I talk too much!” She then launches into the very somber intro of “I Hate Boston.” The song misleads the listener at first, lulling them into thinking it’s a classic “young girl is sad about her ex” song. But Rapp brings an intensity that escalates the song to a head-banging number.

In “Poison Poison,” the catchiest track on the album, Rapp sings, “You get on my nerves / You’re so f---ing annoying, you could poison poison.” The contrast of harsh lyrics with a lullaby-esque chorus of “la-la-la-la”'s in the background demonstrates Rapp’s mastery of duality.

The title track is also a beautiful example of Rapp’s ability to convey conflicting emotions. “Snow Angel” begins as a delicate, haunting ballad, with harmonies on the phrase “If it kills me” in the post-chorus that are simultaneously beautiful and disturbing. In a heartbreaking line, “The seasons change, addiction’s strange,” Rapp alludes to her history with an eating disorder.

The second half of the album contains some of the best songs of the project. It’s a close call, but “Tummy Hurts,” “So What Now” and “Pretty Girls,” are all serious contenders for being the best track of the album. “Gemini Moon” gets an honorable mention due to Rapp’s beautiful and impressive voice. You’ll be singing the chorus of this song for days after listening.

There is only one song on this album that doesn’t quite work. While “I Wish” is a lovely song, it feels similar to other sad songs on the album. “I Hate Boston” and “Snow Angel” already cover the ground that “I Wish” is trying to tread.

In the album’s final song, Rapp does not hold back from sharing her raw emotions. “23” is incredibly relatable to any 20-something and is comparable to Taylor Swift’s “Fifteen” (2008) or Olivia Rodrigo’s “teenage dream” (2023) — all songs which comment on the emotions one grapples with at a specific age. With clever lines like, “I’m on fight or flight / And I still can’t fly,” and devastating ones like, “I hope that I’ll see 24,” Rapp bears her heart for listeners. With “23,” “Snow Angel” concludes on a very strong note.

Rapp’s music here feels like a combination of Olivia Rodrigo’s fiery lyricism and Billie Eilish’s complex mix of emotions. Rapp’s next release will be much anticipated, and listeners likely won’t have to wait long if her current release schedule is any indication.

Summary With a show-stopping debut album, Reneé Rapp confidently declares her place in the music industry. The songs in “Snow Angel” expertly portray the complexity of life in your twenties. Rapp’s debut is strong, fierce and electric, leaving listeners eager for more.
4.5 Stars