Hey, have you heard about Chappell Roan? Sorry, sorry, we know you were probably conscious at some point in the last six months, never mind. Her debut, The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, came out last year, but the world wasn’t quite ready for it at the time. Now, with the release of the song-of-the-year contender “Good Luck, Babe!” and a career-making performance at Governors Ball, her gloriously glittery gems are everywhere. (Just ask Jimmy Fallon, who admitted he googled her before she guested on The Tonight Show last week “just to see” what popped up. “Did you not know who I was before?” she hilariously quipped.)

No matter, everyone knows now. With her career exploding — perhaps a little too fast — her new fans have latched on hard. They’ve recently discovered that a pre-fame Chappell was an expert at covers, with one diehard on Reddit even compiling a list of over 50 videos. There, you’ll find a variety of renditions, from Rhianna (“Kiss It Better,” taking a note from Father John Misty) to Billy Joel (“Vienna,” pleasing 13 Going on 30 fans). 

Some songs she’s just covered once, while others she’s returned to several times. Take “Dreams” for instance. Do we mean “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac or “Dreams” by the Cranberries? Both, actually. Our Midwest Princess took a liking to the Stevie Nicks masterpiece in late 2017, performing it several times that fall. But by early 2018, she switched it up, tackling the early Nineties staple. Check out the clip below, where she performed it in March 2018 during an opening set for Declan McKenna. 

“Our generation is pissed, and it’s going to be so Nineties — like, ‘Fuck you. We’re going to stand up for what we actually care about,’” she told Rolling Stone in March. “We’re seeing behind the curtain… Our generation is really standing up for what we love and that represents itself in the music.”

But ah, the Seventies! While Roan was covering Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” on the road seven years ago, she dropped an official version on YouTube in 2020. Let’s examine that one. 

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So, which take on “Dreams” is better? Artists have been covering these songs for years — they’re classics for a reason. On the one hand, Chappell absolutely obliterates the Fleetwood Mac rendition. She perfectly grasps Nicks’ emotional fury and laments over a storm of lost love, which is difficult to achieve. But with the Cranberries, she takes on Dolores O’Riordan’s vocals like few could. The Irish icon died in 2018, so it makes the performance even more heart-shattering. 

Obviously, the answer is that we don’t need to choose. Chappell excels at covers because she applies her own campy talent to them. Instead of replicating songs and stripping them of their originality, she puts her own unique spin on them, à la Miley Cyrus and Kelly Clarkson. On top of that, she has her own steadily growing catalog, one that artists are doing their own covers of. It’s her year.



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