It’s been one year since Carly Rae Jepsen dropped one of 2015’s best albums. Those who thought that the “Call Me Maybe” songstress was a one-trick-pony were sorely mistaken. E•MO•TION was an eclectic throwback to 80’s pop nirvana that showcased Jepsen’s sharp songwriting skills beyond just one infectious hook. On the contrary, the songs on this record do such an expert job at conveying feelings and snapshots of time that it’s impossible not to be transported.
E•MO•TION opens up with “Run Away With Me,” the song that launched a thousand memes. The blaring saxophone is absolutely unforgettable in its own right, but the titan-sized chorus is what truly makes this song irresistible. “Baby! Take me! To the! Feeling!/I’ll be your sinner in secret!/When the lights go out/Run away with me” Jepsen pleads, inviting you to sing along while simultaneously banging on the nearest surface.
“Run Away With Me” is only the first song on the album, and sets a pretty high bar for the rest of the LP to clear. Jepson doesn’t just clear that bar, but delivers countless pop gems that sound completely different from the last while remaining to sound cohesive in the context of the rest of the album. “Boy Problems” has a few traces of Phil Collins, the glittery production of “All That” echoes the song’s metaphor about a lighthouse in the middle of the sea (who else but Dev Hynes?) while “When I Needed You” has booming drums and a chorus to boot. And we haven’t even gotten to the bonus tracks yet! “I Didn’t Just Come Here To Dance” should be playing on loop at every club in the world *cue death drop*.
And yet, despite all of its shimmering brilliance, E•MO•TION didn’t come close to duplicating the success of “Call Me Maybe.” The album’s greatness got lost in the reports that Carly Rae was a one hit wonder, which is a shame because for all of “Call Me Maybe’s” infectiousness, it doesn’t hold a candle to anything on her follow up effort.
And so here we are exactly one year later. Jepsen has gifted us yet again with some leftovers that didn’t make it on E•MO•TION. Unsurprisingly, the eight B-sides sound fresher and sharper than a lot of the other pop releases this year. There’s “Body Language,” yet another Jepsen/Dev Hynes collaboration that quickly has become my favorite pop song of the year; these two make absolute magic together, while songs like “First Time,” “The One,” “Fever” and “Cry” all have the potential to become classics; they sound right at home with all the songs found on the standard issue while still managing to stand on their own. There were 250 songs cut in the making of the album, and I would honestly be satisfied with more B-side albums being released just so we could hear them all. It’s sort of crazy that a collection of songs that didn’t make the standard release is among the best albums of the year.
So E•MO•TION didn’t sell as much as Taylor Swift’s 1989, another pop album going for 80’s nostalgia that many unfairly used as the standard when discussing CRJ. While I found E•MO•TION to pull off the 80’s throwback a little bit better (you know, by actually sounding like 80’s music), when did E•MO•TION have to be a record breaking album to be considered a success? I would have loved to see songs like “Warm Blood” or “Run Away With Me” dominate the charts in the same way “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” did. But what E•MO•TION did do is prove that Carly Rae is far from the “one hit wonder” that everyone pegged her to be; there’s more to this singer/songwriter than the song people know her best for, and there’s nothing better than proving naysayers wrong. With news that her next studio album will be disco-inspired, I personally can’t wait to see what she does next. Until then, I’ll still be screaming the lyrics to “Run Away With Me” and dancing around my living room to “Body Language” every chance I get.
Happy birthday E•MO•TION.