Tag: Carly Rae Jepsen
They say you should never meet your idols, that you’ll only be disappointed. We had this possibility in mind going into our first interview with Carly Rae Jepsen, the pop star who inspired us to start our podcast Switched on Pop when Nate taught “Call Me Maybe” as a case study in music theory. Six years later and hundreds of pleading emails later, the time had come to meet the muse and unpack her latest offering, Dedicated Side B. In the course of composing her last two albums, E•MO•TION and Dedicated, Jepsen wrote over 200 songs. Many of her favorite works didn’t make it on either final album, so she’s started a tradition of releasing “Side B” records on the one-year anniversary of her last release. Her newest collection of unreleased music fluidly crosses decades of musical history and spans a vast emotional range. We spoke with Jepsen over Zoom about how she curated her latest B-Side release from a massive body of work. Would this beatific figure, once described by poet Hanif Abdurraqib and the “most honest pop musician working,” live up to her reputation? Listen to find out.
A few interesting points to come out of the analysis of Jepsen’s song was the way in which Jack Antonoff creates a safe space in the studio to explore different and diverse ideas. This reminds me of. Also, the connection between the music and lyrics, especially the unual diminished chord in the pre-chorus that has always caught me.
In the second part of the program, Jepsen discusess how writing is more than a job and how she is always collecting ideas. This is how she wrote 200 songs for Delicate. She explains that she has ‘albums buried in the backyard’ which sometimes come out if she needs particular parts. This is reminiscent of Tom Waits (as recounted by Thom Yorke) who talks about leaving songs in the shed to mature:
There’s a Tom Waits quote about songwriting, he says he’ll have loads of little ideas and stuff, he’ll leave them in his shed at the bottom of the garden, which is his studio, and he shuts the door, and it’s like they’re little kids and they all breed and when he comes back there’s loads of them… certain things have really flourished and certain things have died. You know, we could go and do it all tomorrow, but… when you write a song, certain songs you just forget about and certain songs increasingly take on a significance and just don’t go away, and I think that’s the most important stage, really, because I think anyone can just rattle ’em off. But it’s what ends up meaning something to you.
She also explains how she decides which songs make the album and which don’t, creating charts which plot theme and feel of songs. She describes this as a ‘beautiful crazy mind’.
Perhaps Dedicated Side B benefits from the absence of all that pressure. These 12 tracks are once again leftovers from Jepsen’s album sessions, a pool of material supposedly more than 200 songs deep. Yet track for track they’re at least as good as the original Dedicated offerings, if not better, and they hang together much more naturally. When you’ve spent almost half a decade choosing between dozens upon dozens of songs, your judgment can become clouded. We must now consider the possibility that Jepsen simply chose the wrong songs last year because this collection of outtakes is easily her most satisfying release since E•MO•TION.
On her fourth album, the Canadian pop star is doing what she does best, calibrating lovesick or lovelorn synthpop that’s neither too hot nor too cold—and sometimes, regrettably, only lukewarm.
Place between Robyn and Taylor Swift.