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Carly Rae Jepsen's 'The Loneliest Time': A Pop Gem That Keeps You Entertained

Photo by Andy Witchger on Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons (licensed under CC-BY-2.0)

Although it has been ten years since the release of her smash hit 'Call Me Maybe', Carly Rae Jepsen's career has been steady. Has she won any huge music awards? Unfortunately not; she hasn't been nominated for a Grammy since 'Call Me Maybe'. Is she the biggest pop figure in the industry right now? Probably not. However, her bubbly romantic lyrics, and catchy but also ambitious pop experimentation never let her audience down. Compared to her critically-acclaimed Emotion and Dedicated, her latest album The Loneliest Time is regrettably more unfocused. However, it retains a certain glittering charm, which proves why Jepsen stays relevant.

Jepsen found her signature 80s-synth-pop-driven style in 2015, with Emotion. Seven years later, it is amazing to see this style as still unshakeable. The album's opening tracks firmly reassure us of Jepsen's strong songwriting, kicking off with invigorating and overcoming ‘Surrender My Heart,’ followed by ‘Joshua Tree’ with its hefty and groovy bassline, and the pulsating breakup-banger ‘Talking To Yourself’.

In an interview with Crack Magazine where she discusses the project, Jepsen had said: "It excited me to have [...] moments of flirtation on the [new] album, but also broaden the spectrum of what the subject of a pop song was allowed to be". It is indeed clear to see that Jepsen has left her comfort zone with The Loneliest Time, where she makes the album more colorful than ever with brand-new pop experimentations. Whether you see it as wide-ranging or a loss of musical style, her experiments clearly create 'moments'. The album's highlight is definitely the 70s-disco-inspired title track, which glitteringly and splendidly concludes the album. Its sweet instrumentation and surprising, but perfectly fitting, feature of Rufus Wainwright adorns the song with an intergalactic and danceable mood. The track just prior to it, a tranquil, melancholic folk ballad called 'Go Find Yourself Or Whatever', is also a bold move for Jepsen — but she executes it well.

On the other hand, I must admit that some of her ambitious attempts do not fully pay off. Mid-album cuts 'Western Wind' and 'Beach House' too easily fit into the typical format of modern-day pop tunes, although the latter at least has fun and cynical lyrics to offset the melody. Worst of all, some of the sound mixing works against the record's favour, especially the robotic-sounding manipulation of Jepsen's vocals in ‘Shooting Star’, which ruins a track which would have otherwise been a stylish and groovy funk tune.

Jepsen has also looked back on the success of Call Me Maybe in an interview with Vogue Magazine: "I was slightly traumatised by the way ‘Call Me Maybe’ signalled me as a singles artist... And I was just so in the machine of it all that I didn’t really know how to poke my head out and gain some perspective on whether I liked where everything was heading". Despite her concern with taking on more artistic direction, she has continued to gather a massive cult following which motivates her to keep going — for better or for worse. As she puts it, "I have a desire to deliver for them [her fans] on all fronts because I feel like it’s my job to keep making them happy – and that pressure can kinda make a girl lose sleep at night". The boldness in the sound of The Loneliest Time has its pros and cons, however, the ambition it represents, and her visible drive to keep entertaining her fans, shows she isn't just a "singles artist", and hasn't been for over ten years.

The Loneliest Time was released on October 21, 2022.

To keep up with Carly Rae Jepsen, you can find her on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor


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