Carly Rae Jepsen
EMOTION SIDE B EP Review
Released August 26, 2016
Genre: Synthpop, Dancepop, Synthfunk, New Wave
Following last year’s spectacular E•MO•TION, Carly Rae Jepsen has shared a companion EP of B- Sides continuing to show that she is making the catchiest, smoothest, and smartest bubblegum pop in mainstream music. It goes to show that crafting mature and tastefully crafted pop songs under a mainstream label is !possible!, if you simply go about it the right way. Once again, the collection of pop songs of the summer belongs to Jepsen.
In this collection of throwaways, Jepsen’s synthpop tendencies are still here with even more admirable arrangements and catchy hooks to drive us through this short collection. Jepsen’s vocals are clean, lush, and evocative displaying a great display of range despite the short amount of time given for these tracks. Whatever preconceptions you may have of Jepsen (I am still in support of how decent “Call Me Maybe” is by pop music standards), her music now is something you shouldn’t miss.
The EP opens with “First Time” a synth funk party of sharp hooks and a danceable vibe, which is then followed by the New Wave-y “Higher”, where cowbells and jumpy drums complement Jepsen’s sultry vocals. The chorus, which comes quicker than you’ll expect, is absolutely enthralling and ridiculously groovy. Jepsen’s production remains sharp and rigid while leaving room for some groove and organix textures amongst the synth infested chords progressions. “Fever” slows things down a bit, but not for long as Jepsen raises the roof with a hook similar to Céline Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”; Jepsen’s chorus is nothing short of beautiful, covering the same themes of E•MO•TION with similar punch and sweetness.
“Body Language” is a hidden gem and a shocking throwaway considering how perfect it is for the aesthetic of E•MO•TION. It’s commanding percussion and subtle yet sharp synths could easily take the place of one of the weaker tracks, making Jepsen’s 2015 record all the more pristine. On ‘Cry” Jepsen takes a page from synth pop colleague La Roux, and crafts the similar “wall of moody synths” and “reverberated vocals”. It’s not bad, but it does little to distract from the next track ‘Store” which has, without a doubt, one of the laziest hooks to come from Jepsen in the past two years. Despite it’s rote and decent instrumentation, its chorus is rather bland and uninspired and is apt for a throwaway.
For an EP of throwaways, Jepsen has proved to be one of the underrated pop acts in today’s music. If she were to take away the weak tracks of E•MO•TION, and substitute them for the best tracks on EMOTION SIDE B, we may have had one of the best pop records this decade has to offer. For now, Jepsen remains as one of the best and brilliant pop acts in recent memory, and one people should be playing more attention to.
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: First Time, Higher, Fever, Body Language
LEAST FAV TRACK: Store