Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen was, in this humble writer's opinion, one of the greatest albums ever made. And it would have been tough for anyone to match the giddy highs that album produced. On 2019's Dedicated, she more or less succeeds, creating an album just as suited to tidying your house, as it is to bouncing around with glee at a show.
Vinyl LP £17.50 £11.99 7767996
LP on Polydor.
10/10 Joe Hill 24th January 2020
People who dismissed Carly Rae Jepsen at the start of the decade as lame-ass bubblegum are probably scratching their heads as to why she’s still hanging around. None of the songs from this album cracked the US Hot 100, and the album itself didn’t even reach the top 10 in her native Canada. Does that mean she’s a has-been, or about to become a has-been? No. It frankly means that the pop charts, much like Western democracy, has a proud history of voting against its own best interests.
What does Carly Rae Jepsen have to do for you people?! 2015’s Emotion proved that she was a lot more than a one-hit wonder, but Dedicated doubles down on this promise. It’s not as pyrotechnic as her previous work, but what it lacks in whizz-bang pizazz, it makes up for with craft and primal joy. Lyrically, she’s self-aware but never cynical. On ‘Too Much’ she tries to make sense of why she turns to risk and excess during sad times; the bittersweet ‘Real Love’ finds her exhausted in a search for authentic connection, and on ‘Happy Not Knowing’ she turns down the object of her affection due to being too stressed out to handle it.
If these sound like sad songs, maybe some of them are, but they don’t feel like sad songs. It’s delivered with such verve that the result is a catharsis and a celebration. She’s one of the only people who can actually do justice to complex uncomfortable emotions without diluting the sugar-rush that only pop can provide. I sincerely hope she keeps this up. Even if we fail at everything we need to do in the next decade, can we at least make Carly Rae Jepsen into a bona-fide superstar? For Christ’s sake, Madonna never made an album this solid start to finish.
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