Recently, University Press Club writer Andrew Sondern ‘15, ina columnfor the organization’s blog The Ink, speculated that “teen-pop” superstar Carly Rae Jepsen might be the headliner at Princeton’s Spring Lawnparties in a few months. Based on information fromthe USG Social Committee’s Lawnparties teaser video, released on March 10, Sondern concluded that of the 11 artists fitting the headliner’s description, Jepsen seems to be by far the most likely choice based on popularity and budget constraints. Given that yours truly has been an unabashed Carly Rae Jepsen fanatic ever since her international debut Kiss in 2012, it seems appropriate to ride the wave of hype (or whatever I foolishly take to be the equivalent). While there’s still hope of her Lawnparties appearance, Intersections would like to present to you the best of Carly Rae Jepsen, from “Call Me Maybe” to songs that aren’t “Call Me Maybe.”
“Call Me Maybe”(Kiss, 2012)
I include “Call Me Maybe” in part because it’s the only song people actually know, but also because it’s still a near-perfect slice of teeny-bopper Pixy-Stix music. Despite a gruesome death-by-overplaying in the summer of 2012, the song still stands out as a quintessential summer jam, campy strings and rock-lite distorted guitar backing what is probably still one of the most ubiquitous choruses of the past few years. Jepsen and her producers have a knack for fitting her voice perfectly to an airtight instrumental track, and “Call Me Maybe” is one of the best marriages of disparate elements she’s created.
“This Kiss”(Kiss, 2012)
I find it odd that “This Kiss” typically plays second fiddle to “Call Me Maybe,” as in my opinion it’s far and away the best song on Kiss. It captures almost perfectly the euphoria of dancing maybe a little too close even though you know you shouldn’t, candy-coated synth hook and flat house beat creating one of the most happy-go-lucky preludes to cheating on the boo in recent memory. It’s also a phenomenal song because it winks slyly at those who would berate Jepsen for not “acting her age,” i.e. belying her late-twenties existence in making music “strictly for teenagers.” In one of her finest juxtapositions of innocent, moony-eyed teen-pop and something slightly less innocent, Jepsen teases making out with someone who’s got a “real sweet girl,” slipping in what I can kind of interpret as an embracing of the complexities of hormones and our Darwinian urges if I try hard enough. (If I sound like I’m being sarcastic, I kind of am, because as far as middle-fingers to public decency go, this is one of the tamest I’ve seen. It’s at the very least an interesting play, though.)
“I Really Like You”(Single, 2015)
A song one of my friends described perfectly as “the best song off of [Taylor Swift’s]1989,” “I Really Like You roared into a pop landscape shifting towards squeaky-clean, echoing song backbones with the fury of a thousand suns earlier this month. It’s just about as perfect as an end-of-winter pop song could be (something I’ll have to assume for the moment, given the mounds of snow around my Massachusetts house right now), with sugar-rushing synths cascading over one of the most starry-eyed choruses I can remember. Maybe it speaks to me because I’m just so done with winter, but I yearn for the day when I can play this song as I careen down the 405 with some friends (or whatever my east-coast equivalent is).
“Hurt So Good”(Kiss, 2012)
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAB1TQY8ipM]I particularly like “Hurt So Good” because it takes the glittery sheen and pre-teen wistfulness that are so central to Jepsen’s schtick and turns them up to eleven. The lyrics provide the clearest example of this, of course, with their absurdly high aw-shucks quotient and almost tangible early-years crush ethos. The kitsch doesn’t just stop there, though — you’ve got the blindingly-bright synths, the middle-school-dance beat, and the simplistic chord progression which screams “pop gold” at the top of its lungs. Its energy infusion is potent as hell, concentrated Jolly Rancher goo injected straight into the ears.
Other worthwhile songs:
“Bucket”(Tug of War, 2008)
“Turn Me Up”(Kiss, 2012)
“Tiny Little Bows”(Kiss, 2012)[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW09qpLaM54]