By: Aaron Jackson
Remember in 2012 when that one stupid song (yeah that “annoying” one that went like “So call me maybe”) by this girl, Carly Rae Jepsen, was stuck in your head the entire summer? Because, oh boy, do I sure remember preaching to the same, obstinate crowd about the wonders of her full album, “Kiss,” Which (unfortunately), as of September 2015, has only sold 1 million copies. If that doesn’t make you feel bad, that’s what Taylor Swift’s last 3 albums sold in their first week.
Anyway enough of that, ladies, gentlemen and those who don’t identify as either, The “Rae-naissance” is in full throttle. Yup, that’s right, Carly, being the ethereal goddess that she is, hath decided to descend from the heavens and bless us with what Time, Billboard and Yours Truly have considered to be the best album of the year.
In August of 2015, Carly dropped the masterpiece that is E•MO•TION (Yes, with syllable circle thingies and all). Prior to its release, Carly and her crew promoted the album by having her perform on Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live. They also tried to (this can be left up to interpretation) recreate her prior “Call Me Maybe” buzz by getting the music video for her single “I Really Like You” to go viral; it did (sort of), since it has 100+ million views on YouTube as of now, but you think they’d learn from her “Call Me Maybe” days that viral videos don’t sell albums.
But does that stop Carly from creating Pop Perfection? No it does not. E•MO•TION as an album is obviously inspired by 80’s pop as it runs over a mixture of smooth synths and your basic everyday instruments. There’s a certain sense of familiarity with this that’s refreshing in this sea of artists always trying to do something new and knock our socks off. I find that to be one of Carly’s admirable traits: she’s just a really sweet girl who wants to make some fun music. That being said, the deluxe version runs for approximately 44 minutes and has 15 tracks to show for it.
Each song is honestly a religious experience; every track provides the listener with something new and doesn’t make you feel as if you’ve heard that track somewhere on the album before or as if it was just there for filler. I can honestly say that if I could, I would review every single song individually but for the sake of not wanting to bore you, I’m only going to touch on my favorites and my least favorites.
Starting off, we have the most critically acclaimed of the tracks from the album, this being “Run away with me.” It’s probably best known for the genius use of the sax in its opening. It has a superb production but the main strength of the song comes from Carly’s lyrics and vocals. It gives you memories of things that you probably didn’t experience, memories of going on this extravagant, adventure-filled journey with your significant other and holding them close forever. It’s a superbly constructed song and being the first of the 15 in the track listing, it really does set the pace for the rest of the record.
The next song and my personal favorite, is the title track. As usual, the production on this one is stellar – even more so than the other songs. But, as with “Run Away with Me,” this song’s appeal lies within Carly’s vocals. Unlike any other song here, if Carly were to be a color, she’d be a threatening purple as she tells her ex to be tormented by her; she’s especially sassy as she taunts him to wonder how she’s doing. This song makes me feel like I’m watching her perform onstage at 3 am in some exclusive nightclub downtown. It’s a surreal experience.
Now onto “Boy Problems,” the other standout song on the album. This song is such a bop (people still say that, trust me). It starts with Carly’s friend getting tired of their recent conversations that don’t seem to be getting any positive scores on the Bechdel test as Carly only complains about some guy she’s having trouble with, and her bestie gets fed up with her nonsense. Then queue Carly’s monologue of whether she should keep her lover or lose her friend. The song is one of the more campy ones. It feels like you’re been thrown into some cheesy 90’s tween movie — honestly, “Boy Problems” is the equivalent of hearing my BFF Becca drone on and on about how she doesn’t have a date for the Spring Formal while I nod at her understandingly, giving her “advice” through my braces.
Now onto some of the “weaker” songs (weaker in quotations because let’s be real here, these are only weak compared to the other songs here). First up is “LA Hallucinations.” Guess what? It’s a song about fame! Guess what else? It’s cheesy! Not good cheesy, like bad romcom trying too hard cheesy. However I don’t blame Carly because songs about fame in general are hard to write without coming off as pretentious. “Black Heart” is also a tad weak. Unlike “La Hallucinations,” this song’s weakness lies within its production (shocking, I know). It’s a more electronic-based song. Like its name, it tries a bit too hard to come across as mysterious and edgy, but it’s still a good listen.
Overall, EMOTION is a (as if you weren’t expecting to hear this already) a masterpiece that deserves every breath of praise that it gets.
If I have to give it a rating, it’s a perfect 10/10. Go out and buy this, trust me, you won’t regret it. In fact, you’ll be thanking me for turning your life around.