Final Rating: 7.1/10
Sick of the party. That’s what Carly Rae Jepsen says in the start of the song Run Away with Me. She broke the scene when she asked us to perhaps give her a ring (I refuse to mention the song name or say anything that sounds like it on principle that it’ll get lodged in your head when you read this). She’s beyond that, though. She’s tired of being in the club with a hope and a prayer. She’s full on making her own destiny now.
Like every modern artist under the sun, Jepsen has been pushed by her love of past eras, and her appreciation for 80’s pop has affected everything here; From sound to album art. Open up the booklet, and it looks like you’ve found a miniature multi-sleeved record cover. Her love of the past oozes out of this record. Rather than try to sound fully like Madonna, Jepsen has taken it down a notch when it comes to replicating this period. This results in a more upbeat version of an album Canadian chill pop starlet Lights may release. Her voice even curls the same way. If it weren’t for the deeper bass, I’d be convinced that this was a follow up to last years’ Little Machines.
Finding a common similarity means that the Jepsen we once knew is gone. It’s almost impossible to pin point where the two sides of her talent meet. If I told you she’d have a Foreigner quest for love when she first started, you may have laughed. Yet, here we have All That: A cross hatching of all things retro synth radio pop. All of E.MO.TION has a haze of goosebump-spreading chill distributed by the underlying layers of synths. Your Type looms with a filthy melody very much akin to Lady Gaga’s own time travel Do What U Want With My Body. You can make links with a good chunk of this album because of Jepsen’s love of her heros.
Then there are cuts like LA Hallucinations that are pleasantly catchy as all hell. There are a ton of songs here, and while nothing catastrophically fails, there are some stronger winners of Jepsen’s experiment than others. This is one. It’s as radio steady as anything else here, but you may find yourself torn between the drum beat, the tube-like backing melody and the balcony-high keys. With the lyrics talking about her time back in California, this song truly places you elsewhere. That is when E.MO.TION works the best.
This is a steady risk performed by a singer who was labeled by a successful single (again, I won’t mention it). E.MO.TION is guaranteed to stick out at moments for you but maybe not the entire time. Still, having Carly Rae Jepsen give you new moments to fixate on is a great sign. She has made the album many young girls wish they could have made back in their bedrooms when New Kids were still plastered on their walls. She made it once she made it. It’s an innocent and commendable effort with some successful moments. You have the bass churning Warm Blood, for instance, that shows a true attention to how a very poppy song can get away with evolving. With that in mind, I can only see her getting better at this rate. I know it’s a bit early to play fortune teller, but when it comes to her fate, I’ll try to call it, maybe?
I was so close.