CRJ’S BUBBLEGUM BATTLE CRY
Carly Rae Jepsen uses the power of pop to fight useless boys and bad times
Carly rae jepsen is one of our most underrated treasures — 10 years after the world fell in love with this girl in “Call Me Maybe,” she still hasn’t made a single weak record or failed move. The Loneliest
Time is her most emotionally adventurous music yet — highgloss post-bubblegum synth-pop that packs a serious punch.
Carly Rae just keeps dancing her way through the heartbreak, a relatable adult romantic with too many feelings but zero illusions.
The Loneliest Time has the shiny electro-perk sheen of her 2015 classic, Emotion, but more of the melancholy of 2019’s Dedicated. By now, she’s over every brand of bullshit, with hilariously blasé song titles like “Go Find
Yourself or Whatever” and “No Thinking Over the Weekend.”
Jepsen had a miserable time during the pandemic, and she’s not the type of celebrity to lie about that. She lost her beloved grandmother, the woman who first taught her the joys of wearing feather boas; travel restrictions meant she couldn’t travel to grieve with her family. So even the most delightfully frivolous pop kicks here feel powerfully cathartic.
“Beach House” is a deliciously nasty tour of serial monogamy in the era of dating-app addiction. She scrolls from one worthless boy to another: the one whose mom fixed the mood for their date, the one who begs to borrow money, the one who wants to har
vest her organs. She trips from “Boy number one” to “Boy number I can’t keep count anymore.”
She goes looking for romance out West, in the mellow California dreaming of “Joshua Tree” and “Western Wind.” She also hits the clubs, looking for emotional rescue in the dance-floor lust of “Bad Thing Twice.” The peak moment: “Shooting Star,” a Chic-style roller-disco groove where she chirps, “I might sleep with you tonight . . . just because I still believe in my New York City!”
She duets with Rufus Wainwright in “The Loneliest Time,” where she feels like she’s in a Shakespearean tragedy. She also gets hung up on a fickle lover in “Go Find Yourself or Whatever,” over moody sitar-style guitar from collaborator Rostam Batmanglij. But for all the broken romances on The Loneliest Time, it’s an uplifting experience. Carly might have endured a couple too many sad-girl summers. But she’s determined to throw herself a hell of a hot-girl autumn.