‘Call Me Maybe‘ was one of those extraordinarily rare things: a pop song that was absolutely ubiquitous and inescapable and yet not universally hated, perhaps because it’s absolute pop perfection. Following that monster hit can be unnerving, but CRJ’s second album is a triumph of capitalist cynicism: more than two hundred songs were eventually whittled down to the 12 here that some boardroom somewhere decided were absolute best to further the ‘Carly Rae Jepson’ brand (collaborations with guaranteed hit makers such as Max Martin and Jack Antonoff were scrapped). And by God it works! Musically there isn’t a wrong step here, with every song being as perfect as the last (with one exception being slightly more perfect). The only problem lies with Carly herself, who is such a vacuum of personality that it’s near disastrous. What is Carly Rae Jepson? There have been absolutely no hints of any sort of personality behind those gorgeous big eyes (and no Carly, telling The Guardian you ‘spent an entire week vaping’ to get your voice ‘gritty’ for one track absolutely doesn’t count). Recently Katy Perry launched her comeback in a leopard print leotard shouting at tigers in the jungle, Rihanna played up her bad-girl image with ‘Bitch Betta Have My Money‘, Miley was dancing with bunnies and spelling ‘twerk’ out in alphabetti spaghetti, while Carly was… er… Carly was telling Tom Hanks that she really liked him. Even Charli XCX opens a song this year with ‘You have an ugly tattoo and fucking cheap perfume’, but you couldn’t imagine CRJ being even that interesting. ‘E•MO•TION’ is an absolutely amazing album, but if it came over the pub speakers I’d struggle to remember who sang it.
‘Fun’ Fact: Carly Rae Jepson is 30 years old, which is totally age-appropriate for me and it wouldn’t be at all weird if we were to get married and have lots of little babies together. If you’re reading this Carly why not lift that restraining order? Can’t we be adults about this?
Great, 12 tracks that aren’t as good as ‘Call Me Maybe‘, why bother? You’re so cynical! Opener ‘Run Away With Me‘ is at least as amazing as that albatross, as perfect a pop song as you’re likely to hear, it opens the album so impressively that most albums would struggle to follow it.