Reneé Rapp’s debut album “Snow Angel,” released Aug. 18, 2023, is a deep dive into the up-and-coming pop artist’s emotions and experiences. With shimmery pop songs, R&B influenced tracks and powerful ballads, Rapp lets listeners in on the most vulnerable side of her.
Rapp’s career took off in 2018 when she won Best Performance by an Actress at the National High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards. She then made her Broadway debut in June 2019 as Regina George in “Mean Girls” and landed the role of Leighton Murray in Mindy Kaling’s Max series “The Sex Lives of College Girls” in 2020.
Rapp made her pop music debut with her EP “Everything to Everyone,” which was released on Nov. 11, 2022. In July 2023, she announced that she was leaving “The Sex Lives of College Girls” to pursue her music career and released “Snow Angel” a month later.
Rapp has recently been going viral for her comedic, unfiltered interviews for the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical “Mean Girls.” She is unapologetically herself, and her music reflects that.
The album opens with “Talk Too Much,” in which Rapp describes a relationship she self-sabotaged by overthinking and making up reasons to leave: “I'm here again, talkin' myself out of/My own happiness/I'll make it up 'til I quit.” This kind of self-awareness also comes across in the songs “Gemini Moon” and “Messy.”
Rapp also notices her relationship faults in the songs “Gemini Moon” and “Messy.” In “Gemini Moon,” she blames the moon for causing her to mistreat her partner: “I could blame the Gemini moon/But really, I should just be better to you.”
“Messy” is on the deluxe version of the album, which was released on Nov. 17, 2023. Just like in the song “Talk Too Much,” Rapp overthinks and makes up scenarios where her partner does not actually like her. She tells her partner, “Half of all my exes rеgret me/But none of thеm will ever forget me/Loving me gets really messy.”
Rapp’s unhinged lyricism comes across in the songs “Poison Poison” and “Tummy Hurts,” in which she talks about the relationships that have wronged her.
“Poison Poison” is a punchy song in which Rapp describes the betrayal of her ex-friend: “You get on my nerves/You’re so very annoying/You could poison poison.” In an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music, Rapp said that she was proud of the song, but “just because I put something in a song that is my feeling, doesn’t mean I’m proud of that feeling.”
In “Tummy Hurts,” Rapp talks about an ex-partner who fell in love with someone else. She predicts that they will raise their children to be “monsters like their mother and their father” and that their future daughter will get her heart broken like Renee’s ex broke hers: “Eventually, 2043/Someone's gonna hurt their little girl like their daddy hurt me.”
The other standouts are the two ballads “I Hate Boston” and “Snow Angel” in which Rapp’s powerhouse vocals shine. They both start off with soft vocals that turn more powerful as the songs go on. “I Hate Boston” is a track Rapp wrote about growing to resent a city that her ex lives in: “How’d you make me hate Boston?/It’s not its fault that you don’t love me.”
Rapp wrote the title track “Snow Angel” about a traumatic experience she went through when she was hanging around the wrong people. The ballad is chilling as she sings, "I'll make it through the winter if it kills me/I can make it faster if I hurry/I'll angel in the snow until I'm worthy."
The record “Snow Angel” is like a breath of fresh air, as Rapp beautifully captures the best and worst parts of herself. With a debut album as successful as this one, Rapp is an artist to look out for.