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  • Lauren Nolan

Review: "Pep Talk" - Madeline Rhodes


Madeline Rhodes Pep Talk Cover Art

Singer, songwriter, and actor Madeline Rhodes just released her newest single, "Pep Talk," a pop song that is as catchy as it is thoughtful. "Pep Talk" recounts an experience that is all too relatable: being our worst inner critic. Within the song, Madeline uses vocal layering and volume adjusting to portray this inner monologue clashing with herself. The verses, slightly quieter, are filled with scathing negative self-talk like "I'm mediocre at my best / I'm insecure / I'm full of shit," before the chorus "get out of my head / I'm supposed to be / My own best friend" blasts in. It is masterful musical storytelling that tells an important message. For those struggling with low self-esteem or mental health-related issues that make them feel less than, "Pep Talk" is a reminder that they are not alone. The track, a third single for her highly anticipated upcoming EP "The Brothel," is bound to resonate with listeners everywhere.




"Pep Talk" contrasts the dark and introspective lyrics with an instrumental that is undeniable. Working with New York City producer Certain Self and engineer Zeno Pittarelli, the song is an up-tempo acoustic guitar-heavy banger. It's a blend of anthemic pop and 2000s R&B. What really shines through, however, is Madeline. As an established actor, Madeline knows how to put on a performance within the song. When she sings as her own inner critic, Madeline puts on such attitude before belting the chorus: "You call this a pep talk? / Well shut up I've had enough" so emphatically and filled with passion it is impossible not to want to sing along. With "Pep Talk," Madeline Rhodes once more proves her skills in writing pop hits that dig into emotionally resounding human ideas.


Madeline Rhodes has released music since 2018, originally under the stage name MuMu. As MuMu, Madeline debuted one of her most popular and acclaimed songs, “Free the Nip,” a feminist anthem about women’s autonomy over their bodies. Though her music is now released under her birth name, Madeline’s artistic goal remains the same: creating art that spreads a message and empowers listeners. Lyrical themes of mental and emotional health are common within her work. Madeline has performed at various Pride events and opened for similarly socially active artists like Todrick Hall or Pussy Riot. In 2020, the singer-songwriter wrote music for and started in the film Best Summer Ever, earning her mass critical acclaim. Media outlets like The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and even the hit Netflix series Big Mouth have all featured Madeline for her acting and musical achievements. Madeline Rhodes’ discography, including “Pep Talk,” is available on all streaming services now.


Written By Lauren Nolan



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