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I’m obsessed with Reneé Rapp

Her lyricism is piercing and vulnerable, her melodies original and captivating and, on top of it all, I believe that she is the greatest vocalist of our generation— she is a vocal powerhouse with the potential to be as great as icons like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

Yet when I mention her to others, I’m met with one of two responses –  “I love her” or “I’ve never heard of her.” 

Three months have passed since the 23-year-old Charlotte native released her debut album, “Snow Angel.” Since its release in August, the album has become this year's biggest solo debut album for a female pop artist.

On Friday, Rapp released a deluxe version of the album featuring three new tracks and a remix of her song “Tummy Hurts.” Somehow,the deluxe version of “Snow Angel” managed to improve upon what I already considered to be one of the best albums of 2023. 

The first of the new tracks, “Messy,” explores Rapp's tendency to overthink when she is in a relationship. The song has a lot in common with the album’s opening track, “Talk Too Much." Both songs depict Rapp self-sabotaging and driving her partners away.

“Messy” features what I consider to be one of the trademarks of Rapp’s music: unhinged lyrics. 

“Half of all my exes regret me / but none of them will ever forget me,” she sings. 

Rapp's trend of unhinged lyrics also appears on “Tummy Hurts,” which she remixed for the deluxe album to feature Coco Jones. 

“I just want some recognition for having good tits and a big heart,” Rapp sang on the original “Tummy Hurts." 

The remix wasn’t as successful as the original in my eyes. Vocally, Rapp and Jones work together beautifully on this track, but Jones' verse sits awkwardly in the song, somewhere between singing and rapping. I just don't understand why "Tummy Hurts" needed a remix to begin with.  

Rapp starts to step away from tongue-in-cheek lyricism on “Swim,” which effortlessly blends sincerity with interesting, relatively upbeat production. “Swim” is reminiscent of the works of artists like Billie Eilish or Ariana Grande , but Rapp somehow falls both between and entirely outside of the two. 

She enters the realm of vulnerability on my favorite of the new tracks, “I Do.” As much as I love her dedication to irony and insincerity on other tracks, my favorite Reneé Rapp songs will always be her most unarmed.

What’s most striking to me about this track is its apparent references to “What Can I Do,” a song featured on Rapp’s 2022 EP, “Everything to Everyone."On both “I Do” and “What Can I Do,” Rapp describes the pain of being in love with someone who doesn’t – or can’t – love her back.

“You don’t see us like I do, / You don’t see us from my view,” Rapp sings on “I Do,” referencing the chorus of “What Can I Do,” on which she sings “'Cause I just wanna say it, but I’m scared if I do, / You ain't lookin' at me the way I look at you.” 

Rapp uses the verses of “I Do” to detail the ways in which she intimately knows her unrequited love, building a world for the listener to fall into and giving them ample opportunities to relate to her pain. 

“When we’re saying ‘I love you,’ / I mean it different than you do,” she sings. 

There is something so simple, and yet so pointed about this lyric that leaves me breathless every time I hear it. 

“I Do” is certainly a prime example of Rapp's vulnerability, but “Snow Angel Deluxe” truly has something for every audience.

Although she only has one EP and one album under her belt, she already has enough songs to fit every emotion. Whether you are obsessed with her — like me — or you have no idea who she is, if you're feeling angry, sad, happy, petty or even hopeless, know that Reneé Rapp has a song for you. 

@dthlifestyle | lifestyle@dailytarheel.com

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