Carly Rae Jepsen is a legend. Say her name and your mind may have perceptions based on one of two possible assumptions: she is either the girl who wrote and sang Call Me Maybe, the inescapable hit of 2011/2012, or the girl who released the gay romance cannon of 2015 and the century, E-MO-TION.
I’ve been lucky enough to love Carly through both existences. I fell into the wormhole of Call Me Maybe which has sold over 18,000,000+ copies worldwide and was recently announced to be number 50 in Billboard’s All-Time Hot 100 list. Frankly, one-hit wonder status was the label she was quickly categorized under by many people; however, she released a genuinely fun and compelling pop album, KISS, and then did the unthinkable, outdid herself in every way with her follow-up album.
E-MO-TION was released in 2015 and was met with literal gay fanfare. It came and went without any real commercial attention; however, the album did amass critical acclaim and was listed in 27 highly publicized best-of lists in 2015. The album made her an indie darling and it is certainly plausible to question the reasoning behind the lack of commercial success considering the wealth of integrity E-MO-TION provided to the pop music canon.
That being said, I’ve been lucky enough to see here three different times since 2015’s pop-opus was released in three very different venues. The first was at Metro Chicago. A small general-admission venue that provided the atmosphere the crowd essentially needed “cool dance party”. The second was actually in 2017 when CRJ partnered with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to bring a different life to her pop masterpieces. Most recently, I had the chance to see her when I attended, alongside other CRJ fans, the Lollapalooza after party at Park West.
Carly Rae Jepsen is a bit of a conundrum. She has released three albums (if you count her debut Tug of War which was solely released in Canada) since being on Canadian Idol, but the three times I’ve seen her she’s simply mainly supported E-MO-TION. Each album is great in its own right. It makes me wonder if she faces the similar unease Mandy Moore has when reviewing her album catalogue prior to Wild Hope and Amanda Leigh. She didn’t want to write or release the saccharine pop music she was told to record, release and promote. I don’t think Carly has been subjected to that pop machine (or am I just unaware of an article or interview?) so it boggles me that songs like This Kiss, More Than a Memory, Your Heart is a Muscle and Tiny Little Bows don’t get the attention they deserve among her set lists. Frankly, they would fit right in.
Your Heart is a Muscle is a cousin to When I Needed You. This Kiss and Tiny Little Bows fit right in with Cut to the Feeling, Call Me Maybe and I Really Like You’s pop euphoria. But yet, no mention to those previous triumphs on her current set lists. In fact, she pays more attention to her E-MO-TION B-Side’s than she does to any of her previous catalogue, further amplifying the seemingly logical questioning of her disdain for KISS and other prior releases. I’ve provided the set list evidence below.
So Carly, essentially there are two questions you must answer after reading this opus:
- Do you dislike KISS and why don’t you promote it?
- When is new music coming out (we’re thirsty)?
Please continue to support our indie and critical darling, Carly Rae Jepsen.