Carly Rae Jepsen – E-MO-TION
There are few artists that screamed “One Hit Wonder” quite as much as Carly Rae Jepsen did in the wake of her ubiquitous mega-hit, “Call Me Maybe”. Whether or not there were other good songs on her first album was beside the point; “Call Me Maybe” conquered the world in short order, and there was little that Jepsen could have done to prevent any followup from being a disappointment. It’s a story that has played out countless times before, starring any number of now-forgotten singers who graced the charts and the yearly dance compilations before fading into obscurity.
E-Mo-Tion isn’t a disappointment, per se. Lead single “I Really Like You” may not be the stratosphere dance-floor call that “Call Me Maybe” was, but it’s a perfectly good pop single. It’s the rest of the album, however, where Jepsen shines – by not shining much at all. Most of these songs – a solid collection of dance-pop bliss that draws from both the 80s and from contemporary club ideas – are made stronger by the fact that Jepsen blends herself into them, another player in the service of the beat. A more egocentric diva would have ruined these tracks, by mixing their voice to be twice as loud as anything else, by spewing melisma over everything, by trying too hard to be the newest club-ready Arethra Franklin. There is much more subtlety to Jepsen’s approach; this is a singer serving the dancefloor, rather than the other way around. In the battle of diva egos, Jepsen loses, but in doing so she makes the songs she’s singer all the stronger. In doing so she makes an honest-to-god record, as opposed to a showcase for her voice, and it’s a refreshing stance to take. Whether or not she tops “Call Me Maybe” is irrelevant, because E-Mo-Tion makes it sound like Carly Rae Jepsen is having fun regardless. What more can you ask for in pop music?