Madeline Rhodes’ ‘Pep Talk’: A candid exploration of self-doubt and empowerment

This punchy pop tune features ruminating verses whose lyrics lament this inner struggle: “got no reason to complain, criticizing, paralyzing, go outside and stop your whining, no one’s listening anyway.”
12 June 2024
Photo by Ramon Frias @ward8studios

Budding solo artist Madeline Rhodes has been carving out an intriguing niche for herself in the music world and continues to do so with her infectious new single, Pep Talk.

The third single from her upcoming full-length LP The Brothel, Pep Talk offers a revealing and relatable glimpse into the artist’s inner dialogue, marked by self-criticism and doubt. Like much of Madeline’s music, Pep Talk contrasts themes of mental illness, self-loathing, and addiction with irresistibly catchy melodies, creating a distinct and refreshing experience for listeners. 

This punchy pop tune features ruminating verses whose lyrics lament this inner struggle: “got no reason to complain, criticizing, paralyzing, go outside and stop your whining, no one’s listening anyway.”

Photo by Ramon Frias @ward8studios

The song then bursts into a cathartic, anthemic chorus that berates the inner critic, telling it: “shut up, I’ve heard enough, I’m supposed to be my own best friend”.

Pep Talk’s punchy upbeat tempo combined with ethereal production and Rhodes’ gutsy vocals combine for an addictive experience, with moments that sound somewhat reminiscent of pop maven Robyn. 

The song’s liberating message counteracts the all-too-familiar toxic positivity that beleaguers many, inviting listeners to confront their inner saboteurs and strive to be their own best friends.  Pep Talk was produced by Certain Self, the moniker of NYC-based producer, songwriter, and engineer Zeno Pittarelli. 

Growing up on New York City’s Upper West Side, Madeline Rhodes draws deeply from her youth as a self-described “boroughbred,” raised solely by women. Her background in musical theater and her journey through personal struggles have shaped her songwriting, turning it into a powerful tool for healing and liberation.

Photo by Ramon Frias @ward8studios

In June 2018, Madeline introduced herself to the music world as MuMu, debuting with the bold single Free the Nip, a feminist anthem challenging female body censorship. The music video went viral, garnering nearly 2 million views on YouTube. The song became a highlight at Pride events and festivals, where she opened for notable artists like Pussy Riot and Todrick Hall, and it was also featured in Netflix’s popular animated series, Big Mouth (S6:E2)

In 2020, Madeline partnered with Zeno Mountain Farm on the innovative musical film Best Summer Ever. As head songwriter and lead antagonist, she received critical acclaim from prestigious publications such as The New York Times, Variety, IndieWire, and The Hollywood Reporter. The film premiered online at the SXSW festival and was an official selection in 2021, winning special jury and screenwriting awards.

With these achievements under her belt and this must-listen latest offering, we can’t wait to hear what Madeline Rhodes does next.

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