Review: Emotion Side B by Carly Rae Jepsen

Emotion Side B by Carly Rae JepsenI returned to my review of Emotion, Carly Rae Jepsen’s last album, and I realized what difference perception makes. By the time that album went live we had little inkling of what the Canadian pop star – an unlikely one, considering how “Call Me Maybe” had shades of one hit wonder written all over it – had up her sleeve, apart perhaps from critics who were applauding her move towards the 80s pop. (I called it a frothy affair that ultimately felt empty.) A whole year later, Carly’s been anointed as the sort of pop star you don’t have to be ashamed of loving without being called uncool: her music you can mindlessly dance along to, the obvious cultural touchpoints that self-proclaimed tastemakers can agree on, perhaps how quiet she is compared to that other 80s-mining pop star. That informs how we now approach Emotion Side B, a collection of songs of the same vein as the mother record, but somehow did not make the cut. Now we’re approaching it as the cool pop record, and we’re supposed to see this as a brilliant pop delight. At the risk of sounding like a contrarian (then again, I embrace that), I’ll say this, again: it is a fun album. The whole thing’s frothy, light and easy to digest. Like the original Emotion, yes. Perhaps the shorter length (eight songs, roughly half an hour) meant things sounded fresher, and some tracks, like “Store” and “Higher”, are, admittedly, strong pop songs. [NB]3/5

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