Carly Rae Jepsen – E·MO·TION

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Carly Rae Jepsen's third album may not be a pop materpiece, but Matt Hacke says it's not unbearable and actually holds a few pretty good tracks.

A certain PearShaped committee member once told me he downloaded Carly Rae Jepsen’s first album because, after hearing Call Me Maybe, he though it could well be a goldmine of pop bangers which would slip under everyone else’s radar. Needless to say it wasn’t quite as good as he thought it would be, and Jepsen has correspondently never been quite as big on either side of the Atlantic as some of her contemporaries. The cutesy shtick of her and her sporadic collaborator Owl City is a hard thing to sell against more cynically marketed pop acts and cookie cutter boy bands. Therefore, whilst Jepsen has always been wafting about the zeitgeist, she has rarely been given a great degree of attention.

After his gaff, the aforementioned PearShaped writer didn’t want to review Carly’s second album, Emotion, so I was left with this gargantuan eighteen-track sophomore effort (seventeen if you don’t count an absolutely dire remix at the end, which, like my budding wisdom teeth should be wrenched out as quickly as possible before causing any more pain). As for the rest however, I must say I was pleasantly surprised as a decent standard is maintained throughout, and whilst it will neither open a floodgate of Carlymania, nor sweep international award ceremonies, Emotion isn’t a struggle to get through.

The album is firmly and comfortably placed in the pop by numbers paradigms, and throughout the chord changes are expected, as are the generic ebb and flow of verse-chorus-bridge, and so on. Content-wise, Carly covers a lot of bases; this is hardly a confessional or a concept album, and I was unsurprised that much of it was recorded in a shiny studio in LA, rather than a break-up fuelled woodland utopia à la Bon Iver. Seeing as I have no driver’s license and live in a village in which buses come every two hours, I had problems identifying with the continual tropes of travel in Emotion, whether that be taking the wrong road in Let’s Get Lost or the nighttime wanderings in Making The Most Of The Night. This hardly has the nuance of the great American grease monkey, Bruce Springsteen, or even indeed that of the late night motoring of Style by Taylor Swift, but it’s nice that these themes give the album some sense of coherence, without which Emotion would be a bit of a mess.

Not coincidently, my favourite tracks where those which really went to town on this imagery, such as opener, Run Away With Me, or Let’s Get Lost. With the exception of I Really Like You, which is a downright quality piece of embarrassing music to have on your iPod, the tracks that don’t have a preoccupation with geography have a tendency to be a bit dodgy. I Didn’t Just Come Here To Dance is a bit cringe-worthy, with the title being part of a far longer chat-up line which is profoundly clunky and naff.

Overall, because of its lack of adventure and the fact it’s difficult to get such pop wrong, its hard to vehemently dislike Emotion – and if you take it as it is, its an alright effort. There are enough good tracks on this album to save it from being a dud, although if the singles don’t perform in the charts, you could well find it (slightly undeservedly in my opinion) in the bargain bin next year.

Rating: 2.5/5