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Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest calls up more than pop single purgatory

“Emotion” is catchy and fun, but not without its adventurism

From the very first song on Carly Rae Jepsen’s album “Emotion,” it is clear the Canadian singer is far from a one-hit wonder. “Run Away With Me” starts the album off with exhilarating saxophone and builds in intensity as Jepsen declares her desire to “turn the world to gold.” This lyric captures the of the album perfectly: almost every song is golden, bright and happy to the point of carefree childishness. With “Emotion,” Jepsen proves that catchy love songs are always classic while showcasing her own evolution as a talented pop star.

Catchiness seems to be the main driving force throughout the album. The lead single, “I Really Like You,” pounds the word “really” 67 times in the chorus, as if Jepsen is afraid her lover won’t get the message. The song itself won’t win any awards for lyricism, but Jepsen isn’t attempting deep psychological thought — just fun flirtation. When she sings “it's like everything you say is a sweet revelation,” her voice is light and breathy — as if she’s simultaneously a child frolicking through a field of flowers and a woman with seduction on her mind.

The title song and “Gimmie Love” follow the same earworm strategy as the first two songs, but a sudden shift in mood occurs with the slow ballad, “All That.” The song possesses a dreamy atmosphere aided by a decelerated tempo and a few synthesized chimes. Even Jepsen’s usual flirtiness softens into pure innocence as she repeats simply, “I will be there, I will be your friend.” The sentiment that friendship and loyalty take precedence over lust in a relationship is a key message, and a rare one in today’s pop music: it was the same sentiment that made Rihanna’s “Umbrella” such a smash hit in 2007. Adopting the same themes as late-2000s Rihanna shows how much Jepsen is aware of her growing status in the pop realm.

The second half of the album is not as thrilling as the first, though there are two highlights: “Making the Most of the Night” and “Warm Blood.” The former is an 80’s-inspired dance track which Whitney Houston would have been proud to perform, while the latter forgoes Jepsen’s established pop formula in favor of a chilled-out, electronic flavor. “Warm Blood” might be Jepsen’s most interesting experiment, as her voice is noticeably warped and the title alone conjures dark imagery. It is interesting to see Jepsen push the boundaries of her music, but as “Emotion” proves, her usual formula does not show signs of growing old.

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