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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Track-By-Track: Carly Rae Jepsen - Kiss

Five years ago, I was watching the fifth season of Canadian Idol. That was Carly Rae Jepsen's year. I remember her as a quirky singer-songwriter type--not my personal preference when it comes to genre or style, but charismatic nonetheless. Who would have thought, half a decade later, that she would have reinvented herself as a pop princess and taken over the world with what has to be the most well-known pop song of the year? Now, she's released her first big pop album. No, not just "pop." It's bubblegum pop, through and through. So how does it rate?

1. Tiny Little Bows - Opens with a sample of Sam Cooke's Cupid, which is an oddly old-school choice, before bounding into a string-laden, intensely propulsive pop song. It's like Call Me Maybe part two. The verses are the standouts here. 9/10

2. This Kiss - The third single, and probably the most 80's inspired moment on the album. It's one of those top-down, drive-around-in-the-summer pop songs with a huge chorus and even better verses. Still, it doesn't quite have the same sticking power as her very best material. 9/10

3. Call Me Maybe - There's a reason this has been so huge around the world. Sure, it sounds a bit tired now, having been played to death (and then some) on the radio, tv and youtube, but think back to the months when it first came out and how refreshingly upbeat it was. Give it time, it'll sound great again. 10/10

4. Curiosity - This was one of my favorite tracks on her previous EP and, as a pop song, it's still amazing. But, it's getting downgraded in score for the hollow production revamp its been given on the album version. It sounded so much better with its warmer, slightly more organic sound. The production drains something, here. 9/10

5. Good Time (with Owl City) - I'm not a fan of Owl City. At all. So, it surprised me how much this single won me over in the end. I love the fuzzy synths in the background and the anthemic, wordless chorus. 9/10

6. More Than A Memory - This approaches Taylor Swift territory. It's still unbelievably glossy and poppy, and the chorus is instantly catchy, but it's a slight step down from the very strong opening segment of the album. 8/10

7. Turn Me Up - Now this is what I'm talking about! This is total, pop/dance bliss. The propulsive production and aggressive melody really makes this a standout, despite its boring title. 10/10

8. Hurt So Good - This is a little all over the place. It's got some great power keyboard riffs that are straight from the 80's, but it's a little frantic--particularly the chorus. 8/10

9. Beautiful (ft. Justin Bieber) - The only slower (and even then, its midtempo) track on the album. It's nothing special, but it serves as a much-needed breather from all the high energy bubblegum that preceded it. Of anything on the album, it sounds the most like her older stuff. 8/10

10. Tonight I'm Getting Over You - A big, contemporary club banger. I believe this is the next single in Canada, and I can see why. It's not the strongest track on the album, but it's one of the most current. 9/10

11. Guitar String / Wedding Ring - Despite the cringeworthy title, this is a definite standout. Impossibly catchy, it's got a lot of character for what's essentially a straightforward pop track. I love the dizzying synths in the chorus and the unexpected routes she leads the melody. 10/10

12. Your Heart Is A Muscle - This is pure 90's, lighters-in-the-air cheese. It's more organic sounding than most of the album, and a fitting closer as it's got that rallying, singalong quality to it. Very, very catchy. 9/10

Album Grade: 9.0/10
On the whole, a strong, strong pop album. There are also some wonderful bonus tracks on the deluxe editions. Won't review them here, but they're worth searching out.

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Blogger Myfizzypop said...

check out her duet with Andrew Allen - Where Did You Go. It's a real mid-tempo charmer :)

11:27 PM  

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