Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion – Released June 24, 2015
In 2012, Carly Rae Jepsen burst onto the scene with her now Diamond certified hit single “Call Me Maybe” which should have launched her into pop music stardom. And yet, it seems as though it did the opposite where instead of encouraging fans to listen to her other music, most people only regard her as the “Call Me Maybe” girl. Her second album, Kiss, that the song is featured on only reached number 5 on the Billboard albums chart and no other singles from the record reached the same success. A few years later, she came out with her third studio album, Emotion, which charted slightly worse and produced no singles that could match the magnitude of “Call Me Maybe”. There are so many artists out there who hold the title of “a one hit wonder” and there are others who move past that setback in their career. As much as I’ve thought about it, I can’t figure out why that is. But one thing I do know for sure is that I wish I gave this record a chance when it was first released because Carly Rae Jepsen should be better known than for just one song released ages ago.
Emotion is based around an 80’s pop feel, which, if we’re being real here, is one of the most overused and tired production techniques of modern music. At this point, as fun of a sound as that creates, it’s become too common and is almost expected in some cases. Coming from somebody who is an avid lover of 80’s music, I can even attest to the fact that most of the time these modern “throwback” songs never really sound authentic in any way. With that being said, even thought this record sounds like it was made forty years ago, it surprisingly doesn’t feel cliché. The 80’s influences are all there including lots of synthesizer, dance beats, prominent drumming, and funky guitar riffs but with this one, Carly Rae really made it her own with her distinct vocals and modern production. Each song is crafted to be its own standalone work but none of them deviate from this 80’s pop vibe to fit together to create one cohesive work of art. Jepsen was even the main writer on almost every single track, proving her contribution in a major way. The only downfall of the record can be found in the lack luster lyrics and a few bland tracks, yet, these are just a few small bumps in the road that don’t completely derail the entire project.
The track list opens up with the second single, “Run Away With Me”, which already sets the mood for this energetic dance-y vibe that most of the record is composed of. It features a saxophone tune right away, something I never would have expected and something that’s bound to keep the listener around for a few more songs. Along the same feel we have “Making The Most Of The Night” which is also compromised of a strong dance beat and fun, catchy instrumentals. The title track, “Emotion”, feels like a perfect summer song, and and then we’re hit with the lead single, “I Really Like You”, a good song but one almost worth skipping. To break up all the synth laden craziness, we also have some more relaxed tracks such as “Gimmie Love” and “All That” while “LA Hallucinations” and “Warm Blood” both have mid-tempo, psychedelic influences. These are possibly the most memorable songs on here but the closing track, “When I Needed You”, proves to be just as important, providing sing along moments to keep the project ringing in the listener’s mind. But wait: THERE’S MORE. We’re lucky enough to have three marvelous bonus tracks. “Favorite Colour” is another rare slow moment on here and reminds me of “Delicate” by Taylor Swift in theme and tone. “I Didn’t Just Come Here To Dance” is EDM/DJ inspired which became quite common around 2016, whereas “Black Heart” is simple and comprised with small synth blips. There are only a few songs that don’t contain much substance in terms of production, lyrics or general interest and those are unfortunately “Your Type”, “Boy Problems” and “Let’s Get Lost”. But hey, for a record compromising of fifteen tracks, that’s really not a bad thing.
I can’t help but think this record was way ahead of the game when it was released. So many aspects of it remind me of music that came shortly after it, and even though this might be considered by most to be a generic pop album, I believe this one has so much more to offer. It’s mature and exciting, bound to make even the biggest wallflowers get on the floor to dance. The production is almost perfect and every song is dynamic enough without becoming repetitive but still centralized around this 80’s theme to keep the project comprehensive. Sure, it has it’s problems with basic lyrics about relationships and certain songs just being bland but in reality, not all music has to be deep, meaningful or completely original. This is a modern pop record we all need, where it’s just down to earth fun without trying too hard to be relatable or inspirational. This album sparkles with all the best things popular music has to offer and I just hope one day, Carly Rae Jepsen will be known for more than just one hit song.