In an era of pop music where everyone somehow received an anonymous memo that music has to sound like Young Metro produced it, one pop star shines above all: Carly Rae Jepsen.
Most readers will roll their eyes and say, “The ‘Call Me Maybe’ girl? Give me a break.” Those same readers are still listening to “Reputation.” Yes, even Taylor Swift, one of our most beloved radio stars, has joined the ranks of boring, over-produced artists such as Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Halsey, Maroon 5 and many more. Thankfully, Jepsen is cut from a different cloth.
Jepsen broke into the mainstream after her hit single, “Call Me Maybe,” caught fire and took the nation by storm. It’s a catchy, simplistic pop tune that will have you singing along after the first listen. Is it anything compared to her current material? Absolutely not. Although, it is a better track than any recent singles Ed Sheeran or Miley Cyrus have released. Jepsen’s major label debut, “Kiss,” is an enjoyable listen, but lacks the maturity that you would expect out of the then 27-year-old.
Thankfully, Jepsen was reborn like a phoenix, rising from the pop fountain of youth. She was led there by a group of musical fairies known as Dev Haynes, Rostam and Sia. Jepsen’s third record, “Emotion,” was one of the best albums of 2015. Critics, bloggers, music nerds and poptimists alike raved about Jepsen’s brilliance. Her subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) 80s influences, beautiful synths that cascade through each track, clever lyricism and excellent production all shine on what may have been one the best pop records in years.
After the “Emotion” craze slightly died down going into 2016, Jepsen did it again by releasing “Emotion: Side B,” a collection that was marvelous enough to have been on the record. Tracks like “Store” or “Higher” would have demolished the Billboard landscape if they had been given the chance. “Side B” was one of my absolute favorite EPs released in 2016.
Jepsen has been making waves, hinting at an upcoming record in 2018, which has been rumored for quite some time. In 2017, she released the single “Cut to the Feeling” for a movie called “Leap!” in which she played a role. The single was, of course, superior to anything on the charts at the moment, but wasn’t able break in. Jepsen was also featured on Charli XCX’s recent mixtape, which is a matchup like no other.
Carly Rae Jepsen is the quintessential pop star of this generation. She represents every facet of what superb pop music can be. The pop star’s ability to stay just under the radar, yet be able to obtain so much success in the music world, is quite impressive. In the months of January and February, Jepsen is opening for Katy Perry on her “Witness” tour. The tour just recently passed through Little Rock this past Friday, Jan. 12. Hopefully, we will be blessed with Jepsen’s own headlining North American tour in the upcoming months, promoting an exceptional new album.
Written by Zach Shappley