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Fever by Carly Rae Jepsen: Great B-Sides

The b-side is largely a 20th century commodity – from around 2005, singles charts began to count digital downloads, and the physical single is now obsolete. But there are still 21st century equivalents to the b-side – for example I consider any song that only appears on a deluxe version of a modern album to be eligible.

In 2015, Canadian pop genius Carly Rae Jepsen, best known for the 2012 ear-worm ‘Call Me Maybe’, released the album Emotion. The album wasn’t a commercial success, but has since gained a cult following and critical acclaim; it’s currently ranked #12 on Rate Your Music for 2015, rarefied air for a pop album. Jepsen’s songs work because she’s so incessantly enthusiastic and sincere – there’s not a hint of cynicism in her music, just unabated joy or heartbreak. Because of this, her songs are able to soar, taking her listeners on a euphoric journey with her.

Jepsen wrote 250 songs for Emotion, and she simply had a surfeit of great material. In 2016, Jepsen released eight tracks left over from the sessions for Emotion as Emotion: Side B. The tracks on Emotion: Side B often matched the brilliance of the parent album, and it was hearing these outtakes on an in-flight playlist on an Australian runway that made me into a fan.

Almost all of the songs from Emotion: Side B are strong enough to be eligible for the great b-sides series – I could have easily picked the endearingly disjointed ‘Store’, which sounds like a few half-finished song fragments stitched together, or the upbeat ‘Body Language’, with the great line “I think we’re overthinking it”. But for me, the emotional core of this set of songs is ‘Fever’.

It’s been noted that Jepsen’s songs are rarely about active relationships, instead dealing in infatuation or in the aftermath. ‘Fever’ is a post relationship song, with Jepsen obsessing over a past love that she hasn’t yet released. It starts pensive and reflective, but it crashes into life with the dramatic triplets of the pre-chorus, and lifts even further with the bridge; “And my lights stay up, but your city sleeps” is a simple and effective metaphor for her unrequited love.

Jepsen’s recently released three singles from her upcoming record Dedication. This is my favourite of the three songs so far, another huge chorus with the euphoric lift that Jepsen specialises in:

[Verse 1]
Don’t tell me this is how it ends
I burn with fever that I caught from you
My breath was lost when you said “friends”
Well, that could work but I’m still hot for you

[Pre-Chorus]
So I stole your bike
And I rode all night
But I’m so damn scared
You don’t even care

[Chorus]
You wanna break my heart, alright
I caught your fever, I’ll be feeling it forever
You want a brand new start, alright
I caught your fever, I’ll be feeling it forever

[Verse 2]
I’ve still been sleeping at my friend’s
Dropped off your helmet and lock for me
I wrote some things I didn’t send
Three words to say that meant a lot to me

[Pre-Chorus]
So I rode your bike
To your house last night
And I’m so damn scared
‘Cause your car’s not there

[Chorus]
You wanna break my heart, alright
I caught your fever, I’ll be feeling it forever
You want a brand new start, alright
I caught your fever, I’ll be feeling it forever

[Refrain]
And my lights stay up, but your city sleeps
It’s a different world when you’re not here with me
Go on and break my heart tonight
I caught your fever, I’ll be feeling it forever

[Bridge]
Don’t break my heart tonight
Don’t break my heart tonight
Don’t break my heart tonight
Don’t break my heart tonight

[Chorus]
You wanna break my heart, alright
I caught your fever, I’ll be feeling it forever
You want a brand new start, alright
I caught your fever, I’ll be feeling it forever

[Refrain]
And my lights stay up, but your city sleeps
It’s a different world when you’re not here with me
Go on and break my heart tonight
I caught your fever, I’ll be feeling it forever

9 thoughts on “Fever by Carly Rae Jepsen: Great B-Sides Leave a comment

    • I think almost everything she’s released in the last five years is brilliant. ‘Run Away With Me’ is a fan favourite – my theory is that one day it will feature in a movie and be recognised as the classic it is.

      Like

  1. Aye, she’s really very good. I checked out Emotion and Side B when I explored her music on your recommendation and I enjoyed both a great deal. Fever should have been on Emotion. Easy.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah – I think it’s listed as Emotion Deluxe Edition on Spotify. I initially wondered whether it was the same material, but I learned that it wasn’t.

        I actually listened to Side B again during the commute this morning and I agree that it’s a great selection of songs.

        Liked by 1 person

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