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Carly Rae Jepsen: Five Favourite Songs

Carly Rae Jepsen initally reached popular consciousness in 2012, with the inescapable hit ‘Call Me Maybe’. It started as an acoustic song, but dressed up with some synth strings and endorsed by Justin Bieber, it was wildly successful. It showcased Jepsen as a bubblegum-pop girl-next-door, and made her Canadian Idol’s most famous graduate:

Jepsen returned with the grown-up but still filled with pop-hooks 2015 album Emotion. The album didn’t perform well enough commercially to displace Jepsen’s reputation as a one hit wonder, but it earned her unexpected support from critics and older music fans. With a fourth studio album hopefully due later this year, here are five of my favourite Carly Rae Jepsen songs:

Call Me Maybe

#5, 2012
While I prefer Jepsen’s more mature later work, her breakthrough hit is undeniably an infectious earworm, fuelled by the strings on the chorus, while the memorable video also helps. It also inspired a podcast, Switched On Pop, where a music professor and music major examine pop hits.


Boy Problems

#4, 2015
The danceable bass-line isn’t far from disco, and the introduction is perfectly low key yet dramatic. But it’s the vocal arrangement that makes this song work – the “nah nah nah nahs”. And is it just me, or does Jepsen gives out some Goblin King Bowie vibes with her mullet, sparkly outfit and occasional intense stares into the camera?


Fever

#3, 2016
‘Fever’ is taken from Jepsen’s 2016’s excellent out-takes EP Emotion: Side B. Filmmaker Max Landis wrote a 150 page essay on how Jepsen’s songs are all about longing and infatuation, and not about actual relationships, and ‘Fever’ is an excellent example of Jepsen’s modus operandi, the state of infatuation over a finished relationship. The build into the middle eight (“And my lights stay up/But your city sleeps”) is a thing of beauty.


When I Needed You

#2, 2015
There’s no music video for the closing kiss-off from 2015’s Emotion, so here’s a live version. It’s a sign of a great album when a hook-filled, infectious song is the closer, and the way that Jepsen enunciates ‘together, forever” is a great focal point.


 

Run Away With Me

#1, 2015
The opener from Emotion has earned a place in internet folklore with its seal and saxophone Vine, and would have been a better choice as a single than ‘I Really Like You’, which was a little too close to a ‘Call Me Maybe’ redux. The entire Emotion album has a 1980s vibe, but it’s pronounced here with the saxophone riff and cinematic feel.

12 thoughts on “Carly Rae Jepsen: Five Favourite Songs Leave a comment

  1. Emotion is a great album; I didn’t like her before that. If you like Emotion, I highly recommend Overpowered by Roisin Murphy; that album also has 80s synths / disco vibes in a similar vein.

    Like

  2. Agree about Fever, a wonderful melody and lyrics to match.

    Haven’t listened to her pre-2015 stuff. My rough top 5:
    Fever
    The One
    I Really Like You
    First Time
    Let’s Get Lost

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t like Kiss anywhere near as much – definitely pitched more at a radio pop demographic. Have you heard ‘Call Me Maybe’? I find that it makes ‘I Really Like You’ feel a bit like a retread, even though I really like parts of it.

      Like

  3. How could I avoid Call Me Maybe, it might be the catchiest pop song of the decade 😉 I guess you’re right about the similarity! I confess to fatigue with her hits, prefer the lesser known. Of the popular ones, I Really Like You I return to- so exuberant and the video w/ Tom Hanks is fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think I’ve heard any of her songs in the wild, apart from Call Me Maybe. It’s interesting having two small daughters as a barometer – they love Call Me Maybe and are completely uninterested in the Emotion material like ‘Boy Problems’. I don’t know how that works, as they both sound like hooky pop songs to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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