There are many reasons to officially canonise Saint Swift. But multinational Goliath-bothering aside, it’s her services to pop that need to be recognised, specifically the almighty kick up the arse 1989 gave to every other pop star out there, male or female. In this new, Swifto-XCX landscape, teen-skewed pop isn’t a dirty source of shame. And everyone from Adam Lambert to Carly Rae Jepsen is taking note of this fact, mainly by enlisting the right producers.
That’s not to say that Jepsen’s Emotion wouldn’t have existed had it not been for TayTay’s influence. But apart from Call Me Maybe, her first two albums were largely forgettable false starts that pandered to an audience that didn’t really know what it wanted at the time (and, by the sounds of it, neither did CRJ).
On this new album, everything has changed apart from Jepsen’s ability to create insidious earworm after insidious earworm. I Really Like You might well be up there for pop track of the year, a contender that takes the simplest of pop tropes and makes it appealing for practically everyone. And with input from quarters as varied as Sia, Ariel Rechtshaid, Dev Hynes, and Vampire Weekend‘s Rostam Batmanglij, it allows Jepsen to straddle a teenybop banger and heavier material without taking a breath.
So there’s a ridiculously catchy jam in the outstanding title track. There’s a magnificent, crystalline ballad on All That. There’s the 80s throwback of Let’s Get Lost. And there are huge, uplifting synth-driven bangers like Boy Problems and Making The Most Of The Night that leave an entire generation of pop pretenders eating Jepsen’s dust. Yep, genuinely that good.
If there’s a criticism here, it’s that Jepsen’s personality rarely shines through the way it did with Swift’s razor-sharp writing on 1989. Apart from the odd Buzzfeed or TMZ barb, there aren’t those same quotable one-liners that might lift her to a different level together. As it stands though, Emotion is quite possibly one of the finest albums of the year, evoking a whole range of sentiment but primarily one of absolute fangirl wetness.
Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen can be ordered here.