Carly Rae Jepsen: E•MO•TION (Interscope/School Boy) - Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Carly Rae Jepsen


Interscope/School Boy

Sep 07, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

During “LA Threshold,” the opening track to Los Angeles indie ensemble De Lux’s recent sophomore record Generation, vocalist Sean Guerin ponders the fluid predilections of modern tastemakers: “All these people, they hate pop…all these people, they seem to love it now.” While hardly earth shattering lyrics, it’s an on the nail reflection of the fickle pretentiousness that surrounds pop music. What presumably started out as irony, has today evolved as scores of bespectacled, beard adorning indie kids mull over the production value and artistic merit of throwaway pop jaunts.

Carly Rae Jepsen is one such beneficiary of this hip-pop movement. As creator of that song—that song being one of modern pop’s greatest moments, “Call Me Maybe”—her destiny was seemingly carved out: a one hit wonder, flash in the pan with very limited shelf life. But that’s not how things have mapped out. Today Jepsen is the pet project of a creative hipsterati that’s determined to prove pop is cooler than you, or I, could possibly ever imagine.

Which all seems to take the fun out of pop. It certainly takes the fun out of Jepsen’s new record E•MO•TION, which is a cloying mixture of souped up production and anodyne melodies that lack the eminent sparkle of her finest moment to date. The title track is a prime example of this malaise, distilling Chic-like guitar flutters into a beige sonic aesthetic that huffs and puffs to Jepsen’s ongoing relationship traumas.

It’s a similar story elsewhere. “Boy Problems” deploys a diffused French dancefloor rhythm that skips around like an ungainly schoolgirl; the stilted “Your Type” is equally flaccid, auto-tuned to the max and amiss of purpose. Perhaps tellingly, E•MO•TION works best during the three-minute killers of runaway melody and baited hooks that surge through singles “I Really Like You” and the irresistible Balearic stomp “Run Away With Me.”

That the pair are without question E•MO•TION‘s high spot pinpoints where the main issue lies. At its best, pop is a short, sharp burst of pure ebullience, but here Carly Rae Jepsen and her production team try overly hard to be clever. In the end, what’s left is a record that takes itself too seriously to be taken seriously by anyone else. (

Author rating: 4/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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September 11th 2015

This is an utterly ridiculous review for what has been called the best pop record of the year. To say that it’s not fun is absolutely ludicrous and impossible to understand for anyone who has heard the record. Calling Your Type “autotuned to the max” shows complete ignorance to what autotune even is, which strips the reviewer of all credibility.

The reviewer may think Jepsen is trying to be clever, but his piece sadly, is anything but clever. It is the epitome of what so many writers get wrong about music criticism. It shows little insight, no graciousness and a rather misplaced contempt for a “hip-pop” movement that is surely far more interesting than most other things going on with popular music right now.

This record takes itself too seriously, the reviewer says. If only he took his criticism seriously, like at all. This is an insult to anyone who cares about pop music. That he calls the streamlined I Really Like you a standout track on this near-flawless collection of bangers makes me wonder if he listened to the LP more than once, if that.

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December 16th 2015

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December 13th 2020

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