It is being called by many entities pop album of the year. Emotion is LP number three for Canada’s pop superstar. Carly Rae Jepsen deserves much credit for being able to reinvent her sound on each album to date. Hopping from the measured folk beats of the Tug of War era to the catchy bops of the Curiosity EP and the sugary vibes of Kiss, she now dabbles in ambient pop inflections in new album Emotion. It has been called a tribute to the 80s which calls for comment. The 1980s witnessed a since-forgotten variety of styles. Consider that #1 hits of the decade included “Coward of the County” by Kenny Rogers, “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett, and “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz, all very different. Qualifying as a particular reference point from the decade for Emotion might be Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That”. Combine that with the work of a more contemporary artist, Robyn, and we have a fitting description of the new album.
We take a moment to straighten out the facts which the media never seems to get right despite supposed university journalism degrees obtained after shovelling over tens of thousands of dollars in tuition fees to be educated by others. To date, Carly Rae Jepsen has herself a total of eight top 40 hits, including two number one singles. She has one gold album and five gold singles, one of which went multiplatinum. She has three JUNO trophies, 13 million Facebook likes, and 11 million Twitter followers. Her route to these dizzying numbers was more daunting than a trek up the Grouse Grind.
CARLY’S MISSION SHOULD SHE CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT
Carly Rae Jepsen was a typical girl next door growing up in the Fraser River district municipality of Mission, British Columbia with a population of under 40,000, and she headed to the big city to pursue her dreams. In her early days of struggling to make it as an artist, Carly was living with a French Canadian girl, sleeping on a pull-out couch, and not making enough money as a coffee barista to pay the rent. When the pastry chef left for Norway to meet her internet love interest, Carly became the assistant baker, learning how to make cheesecake. She must have acquired quite a knack for it; Vancouver photographer Cameron Brown claims Carly Rae Jepsen makes the world’s best blueberry muffins. To make ends meet, she doubled as a bartender knowing virtually nothing about how to mix drinks. She could not figure out how on earth she passed the exam until the manager asked her out on a date.
Carly remembers her sister helping her put up posters around Vancouver to advertise an upcoming gig. She never got the mixture quite right for the homemade glue of milk and flour saying that it looked as though someone had vomited on the posters. A company volunteered to make stickers for her, but she still had to fold her own shirts on the merch table to sell at her gigs. She could not afford to hire someone to work the table and was worried the shirts might get stolen while she was performing. She was a beautiful, young woman getting heckled by drunken lechers in the crowd, trying to make her own way as a DIY singer-songwriter.
It was in the back of a rented van on a cold Canadian winter day while on tour with Hanson that Carly’s cell phone rang with a call from her management team. They told her Interscope Records was offering her a recording contract.
AN EMOTIONAL REVIEW
Carly’s instant global superstardom in 2012 put her in a position to summon any songwriter or producer she so desired to work on Emotion. Rather than filtering out all but CHR hit-makers, she also mustered those thriving on the cutting edge of pop. The result of all labours is an album that is very much Carly’s signature style deposited in a rich blend of retro, current, and future worlds and is as mainstream as it is alternative.
Opener “Run Away With Me” opens like a safari sunrise, switches on super catchy beats, and explodes into a kaleidoscopic chorus. Hooks flourish as in a fishermen’s convention on title-track “Emotion”. Upbeat “I Really Like You” was the lead single that struck gold certification. “All That” wafts a soft, romantic glow with Steve Miller accents and Simply Red grooves. “LA Hallucinations” provides us with a fun ride, in which Carly elbows “Buzzfeedbuzzards and TMZ crows” for spreading false rumours about her, before entering the dream world of perhaps our favourite track “Warm Blood” wherein we hear many voices of Carly. While bonus tracks often water down the overall ability of an album to engage, they prove essential in this case. “Black Heart” harnesses new wave currents, “I Didn’t Just Come Here To Dance” is a club anthem, and “Favourite Colour” gives us some glorious vocoder. Whether or not any of the album tracks end up whirring all over the radio airwaves, one thing is for certain. With Emotion, Carly Rae Jepsen has slayed. The new album touches down on Friday. iTunes