CARLY RAE JEPSEN
Her 2011 single ‘Call Me Maybe’ took the world by storm, and many times since she’s proved that it was no fluke
Those not in the know might consider singer Carly Rae Jepsen a one-hit wonder. Her 2011 single Call Me Maybe took the world by storm, grating and grinding against anyone with an anti-pop stance and elevating those who live for a joyful earworm, but that’s where the Jepsen experience began and ended for so many unfortunate fools. But Jeppo, as she’s fondly known to fans, is bigger than that song. She’s a modern-day pop genius. Allow me to enlighten you.
Finding a loyal audience in the single and the lonely, Jepsen’s songs are marinated in a bitter-sweet sadness and when she serves a chorus, she certainly doesn’t do it by halves. Her music is music to wail to, either through tears or whelps of ecstasy, and her new single, Party for One, celebrates singlehood and self-love with a not-so-subtle double entendre surrounded by swirling synths. It may have taken her a few years to find her place within a super-saturated pop market but now she has a cult following as the matriarch and the VBF for the single and the lonely.
The Canadian singer found her start on the fifth season of Canadian Idol in 2007, in which she came third, and while she had minor success in Canada with her debut album, Tug of War (2008), it wasn’t until the release of Call Me Maybe that she went global. Justin Bieber posted on Twitter that it was “possibly the catchiest song I’ve ever heard lol” in 2011, not long before he made a video with celebrity pals Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale and a few others bopping around a kitchen to the song.
By mid-2012 that song was everywhere, and her second album, Kiss, proved that her supposed one-hit wonder was no fluke. Alas, to overtake its success would be a huge undertaking, and in realising that she could never reach those insane levels again, Jepsen had the freedom to work on an alternative pop career.
Which brings us to 2015’s Emotion. Using dreamy synths, the occasional sax solo (the sax from Run Away With Me turned into one hell of a meme on Twitter) and all the poignancy of a beautiful 1980s ballad, Jepsen’s third album is one of the most underrated pop albums of the past five years. The video for lead single I Really Like You features Tom Hanks lip-syncing the entire song while carrying out a musical dance montage, proving that she has fans in high places.
That song’s chorus follows in the dangerously catchy vein of Call Me Maybe but it’s when Jepsen sings about unrequited desire and fantasies, like the heavenly yet agonising Your Type, that that sweet voice really kicks into action. Calling on super-cool pop producers such as Greg Kurstin, Mattman & Robin, Dev Hynes, Ariel Rechtshaid, Shellback and Rostam Batmanglij to assist, Emotion is music for pop nerds.
While most pop stars are pulling away from big pop bangers, releasing midtempo songs with close to no chorus , Jepsen knows how to send a chorus and a key change to outer space and back. Last year’s Cut to the Feeling is a song that has to be sung with a smile plastered across your face. New single Party of One is the first single from her upcoming fourth album and, as on Emotion, she finds the silver lining in heartbreak. A party of one is still a party, after all.
Finding a loyal audience in the single and the lonely, Jepsen’s songs are marinated in a bittersweet sadness, and when she serves a chorus, she certainly doesn’t do it by halves