sun 26/03/2017

CD: Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION

CD: Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION

One hit wonder's second coming

There are big chunks of this record that sound as though they’ve been machine-assembled on a production line
Carly Rae Jepsen: moments of pure pop joy, shame about the rest of it

Complaining about pop music sounding manufactured is something that, in these postmodern monoculture days, “serious” music fans are all supposed to be past by now. Certainly, since its US release last month, those who are paid to know better have been practically frothing at the mouth over the long-awaited third album by a third-placed 2007 Canadian Pop Idol contestant whose irresistible “Call Me Maybe” was the soundtrack to your summer a few years back. But while E•MO•TION crackles and fizzes in places with moments of pure pop joy, there are big chunks of this record that sound as though they’ve been machine-assembled on a production line. From the 1980s. With Belinda Carlisle in place of a foreman.

But hey, it’s 2015! Nobody needs to approach an album as a coherent unit anyway! Instead, proceed to your music software of choice and pick and mix to your heart’s content. “I Really Like You” first, obviously: it’s the one with the Tom Hanks lip-synch video and the chorus that sticks in your head; about as perfect an encapsulation as those giddy first few weeks of a crush as it’s possible to set to music. “Run Away With Me” is the album’s first track, but more so for its stand-to-attention synthetic saxophone opening than for its place in our sequence: it’s a rush of blood to the head, a damn-the-consequences slice of all-consuming electropop. And “Boy Problems” might give our heroine a crappy ending - although it’s more about the breakdown of a friendship than a relationship - but it boasts a perfect Carly Rae Jepsen hook and a sound so dated (somewhere between gameshow theme and one of those terrible karaoke videos where a couple in legwarmers and his-n-hers poodle cuts gaze into each other’s eyes, then storm for the car) that you kind of have to go with it.

“Let’s Get Lost” shoots for a similar vibe, but with a melody and vocal so light they can barely keep on their feet, while “Your Type” should be the album’s big, emotive centrepiece but instead end up like Taylor Swift’s 1989 would have if she hadn’t read all those self-help books beforehand. I could blame my disconnect on Jepsen’s terrible diction - it took three goes to figure out that the chap in “When I Needed You” wasn’t actually coming to her “in jeans at night” - but I think there’s too much going on here, and not all of it’s good.

Overleaf: hear standout track "Run Away With Me"



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