Review : Carly Rae Jepsen - Kiss
IdolatorCarly Rae Jepsen wasn’t the likeliest candidate to save pop music, but with “Call Me Maybe”, the Canadian Idol runner-up invigorated charts gone ponderous with the self-pity of Gotye and a seemingly endless string of Flo Rida club bangers. Even with Justin Bieber‘s invaluable stamp of approval (and management courtesy of the Biebs’ career mastermind Scooter Braun), the runaway success of “Call Me Maybe” had a meritocratic bent — there was no resisting those strings. Jepsen may not be the most charismatic songbird to top the charts, and she doesn’t have Ke$ha‘s glitter-crusted zaniness, Katy Perry‘s lusty populism, Taylor Swift‘s endless well of heartache or Adele‘s vocal chops. She doesn’t need them: She has really good songs.
Kiss, out September 18, follows Jepsen’s 2011 EP Curiosity and delivers nicely on the promise of “Call Me Maybe,” and then some. That song’s breezy charm and the hit-by-numbers Owl City collab “Good Time” notwithstanding, Kiss is fresh and timely. Even if its curious chasteness seems more befitting a squeaky-clean Disney triple threat than the 27-year-old woman that Jepsen actually is, there’s something refreshing about hearing romance explored without the obligatory come-hither lyricism that serve as a prerequisite for contemporary pop tarts....full text
PopmattersBe glad that Carly Rae Jepsen isn’t reinterpreting the Great American Songbook, because for a while there, it seemed like she was going to do just that.
Back when Jepsen auditioned for Canadian Idol (her parents supporting her love of music from a very young age), she came off as sweet and charming, blessed with a voice that was expressive, warm, and very inviting. Although she made it to the Top 3, she was eliminated after she delivered a bland, tone-deaf interpretation of Janis Ian’s signature tune “At Seventeen”, although luckily enough for her, she generated enough public interest with her performances that it wasn’t long before she was picked up by a label, and in 2008, her debut album Tug of War was released. The album was a sparse bit of adult contemporary pop that wouldn’t be too far out of Colbie Callait’s wheelhouse. The lead single? A fairly decent take on John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders”. Then, after the somewhat bolder pop of the album’s title track was shipped to radio, her third single, “Bucket”, quixotically incorporated the old standard “There’s a Hole in My Bucket”, which when coupled with its modern AC-radio intentions, made for an odd pairing, to say the least (although, in its defense, it wasn’t as facepalm-terrible as JoJo’s wretched sampling of Africa’s “Toto”).
Thank goodness for “Call Me Maybe”.
With Jepsen’s sophomore album Kiss released this week, “Call Me Maybe” is actually a full year old, showing just how long it can take before certain songs catch on (feel free to ask Foster the People about how long it took before “Pumped Up Kicks” actually took off). Initially, Jepsen’s success was limited to Canada, but it wasn’t until Justin Bieber & friends released a goofy homemade music video of the track that it began to really pick up steam. It is, after all, an absolutely flawless pop single: those synth orchestra stabs in the chorus making the song sound like nothing on the radio right now, the melody sweet, the sentiment simple, the whole thing instantly hummable and readily available for numerous interpretations. Although its intentions were modest, the song would soon achieve the level of ubiquity that is shared by only the rarest of cultural game-changers, bumping shoulders with the likes of Cee-Lo Green’s “Fuck You” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone”. Oh, and let’s not forget about every single internet parody video of the song ever (for our money, we think this Dark Knight Rises one might be the best)....full text
PopcrushCarly Rae Jepsen isn’t a one tricky pony. She’s a two-to-three trick pony, if her debut U.S. album, ‘Kiss,’ is indication; and if she strays too far from what she knows, it doesn’t end that well. But when her regular two or three tricks are so good, you don’t mind hearing them over and over again… at least not at first.
The lesson here? Jepsen is more than capable of writing and performing perfect pop confections, but don’t try to make her a dancing queen. It sounds disingenuous and doesn’t let the girl shine. However, Jepsen’s talents, while notable, will feel good in the moment (like too much candy), but ultimately leave you wanting something a little more substantial later on to really satisfy you.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re pretty sure we got a few cavities listening to all of this sugary pop perfection.
1. ‘Tiny Little Bows’
The album’s opener, ‘Tiny Little Bows’ isn’t about wrapping paper or hair ribbons, but rather about the bows of the archery sort — specifically, Cupid’s. Though you’ll be singing along against your will after hearing it, the song has a somewhat irritating, repetitive verse, but the hook is, as Jepsen will prove typical of her tracks, insanely catchy. The melody is pretty similar to ‘Call Me Maybe,’ but with more electronic touches than her breakout pop ditty....full text
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