Release Date: May 17, 2019
Record label: Interscope
Carly Rae Jepsen 's latest doubles down on one of her central messages as an artist - that no force is more potent than the emotions we feel. And while her third LP E•MO•TION certainly established this, on Dedicated, Jepsen's infatuation with the rush of human feeling soars to dizzying new heights. "He needs me. You know, not just physically.
After four years away, CRJ is back with another sparkling collection of lively and stylised pop tunes Carly Rae Jepsen's third album 'Emotion' was the perfect pop transformation. After years of being written off as a one-hit wonder due to the effervescent 'Call Me Maybe' being played, well, everywhere in 2012, the stellar collection of 80s-influenced hits which filled the Canadian’s 2015 record finally established her as a pop force to be reckoned with. Combining new wave and synth-pop influences with fizzing hooks and brilliantly relatable lyrics, it was a big middle finger up to her doubters.
Carly Rae Jepsen clearly didn't graduate in the same pop-superstar class as Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and the like. You might still have 'Call Me Maybe' in your head, but it's doubtful you can name any other tracks from that record. And while her follow up E.MO.TION proved a critical darling, it didn't quite crack the mainstream in the way, say, anything by the artists mentioned did.
Carly Rae Jepsen ties up bright, ribbony pop songs with the magnetism of a person who's a little too modest to be a pop star. She goes for the big feelings, and as a result, inspires near-rapturous devotion. Jepsen's most ardent fans feel called to defend her, to arm her with a sword, to catalyze the moment that will reveal her magic beyond doubt. With 2015's E•MO•TION, they nearly had it; I'll go one further and say that its follow-up, the overflow collection E•MO•TION Side B, is the better listen.
The Lowdown: Much can be said about which pop stars have gained the most streams, recruited the best producers and songwriters, and formed the catchiest of hooks, but there's only one pop star that needs a sword, and Carly Rae Jepsen deserves that mysterious sword, indeed. The synthpop songwriter went from third runner-up on Canadian Idol to a potential one-hit wonder to a cult and critical favorite over the course of the past 10 years. Kiss, the album that "Call Me Maybe" appears on was not as successful as Jepsen had hoped, so she took three years to release her third album, EMOTION, in 2015, drawing fewer sales, but more love and a loyal fan base for her smartly written, romantically driven set of perfect ’80s-inspired pop tracks.
emotion... Trying to argue that "Run Away With Me" is a perfect song is like trying to argue an object dropped from ten feet will fall to the ground: the claim is axiomatic, a truth so fundamental to the fabric of the universe that it hardly even bears mentioning. And yet, in the context of Dedicated, a brief reexamining seems appropriate. I was a college freshman when "Run Away With Me" came out.
In weighing today's pop stars, it's unfathomable to believe that Carly Rae Jepsen doesn't exactly fit in. This idea may have stemmed from the notion that her synth-pop borrows heavily from the eighties, though recontextualized with modern production techniques. So that argument doesn't hold water, given that her latest, Dedicated, has no shortage of glitzy, very 2019 sonic accouterments.
S he'll forever be synonymous with Call Me Maybe. But Carly Rae Jepsen's real trademark contrasts innocence - always gasping in awe at romance's potential - with a wolfish emotional intensity that suggests her lovers are mere conduits for sensation: "Take me! To the! Feeling!" as she once sang. On her cult 2015 album Emotion, Jepsen wielded lusty saxophone solos to convey that decadence, bombast that Dedicated swaps for confidently understated, dusky disco pop.
Nowadays it's hard to find a well-rounded pop album that isn't overcrowded with feigned features and mundane production - fortunately for Carly Rae Jepsen, she's pro at doing the exact opposite. Following the release of her 2015 album 'E•MO•TION' she pretty much solidified herself as a pop princess, and on 'Dedicated' she continues this winning streak, proving she's no fluke. Opener 'Julien' shows Carly at her strongest.