The follow-up to 2019’s “Dedicated” finds the pop artist flourishing artistically
Carly Rae Jepsen has had an interesting musical career to say the least. The Canadian pop star exploded into the mainstream with 2012’s “Call Me Maybe,” a relentlessly catchy track that was inescapable for years. After this viral success, Jepsen’s recent releases have been enjoyed primarily by a smaller, dedicated fanbase. These fans consistently praise her creativity and dedication to making authentic pop music rather than churning out chart-topping hits.
In an interview with Vogue, Jepsen said, “I feel like I actually have something to say now because I’ve lived some life. Now I can finally start writing the good stuff!” After listening to “The Loneliest Time,” it’s hard to argue with her assertion. Carly Rae Jepsen continues to produce some of the most engaging throwback jams in the pop scene today.
“Surrender My Heart” opens the album with emotional lines such as “So I’ve been tryin’ hard to open up, when I lost someone, it hit me rough” and “I paid to toughen up in therapy, she said to me, ‘Soften up.’” The song contrasts these lyrics with explosive energy. “I’m out here in the open, I wanna get closer, I’ll believe in you every night,” Jepsen loudly proclaims. She sounds motivated, excited and eager. The gorgeous instrumental surges back up her upbeat attitude.
The album’s third single, “Talking to Yourself,” hits all the right notes, using catchy vocal hooks and dance-worthy instrumental leads. Jepsen flourishes vocally over smooth guitars and drums that feel pulled straight from the 1980’s.
“Far Away” is a beautiful, airy track accentuated by suspended piano keys and distant horns. Simplistic synths surge with joy during a purely euphoric chorus. Like walking amongst the clouds, the lyrics add to the instrumental’s pure happiness. “Just tell me you need me side by side, the sweetest words of my whole life… I’d like to get to know you, let me kiss all of these tears coming down,” Jepsen sings.
The album temporarily suspends the energy with “Bends,” a stunning, bare track. A minimalistic synth instrumental provides an excellent backdrop for Jepsen’s breathy and light vocals. Emotion seeps through every moment of the song and highlights Jepsen’s immense vocal talent.
“Go Find Yourself or Whatever” takes this one step further, using simple organic guitar leads and light drums for an incredible vocal performance. “Maybe when my heart’s done breaking, then I could forgive what you tried,” Jepsen sings.
“Shooting Star” is the album’s strangest song, yet exciting and uplifting. The warped vocals feel out of place but perfect at the same time, melding with the wavy instrumental to create an exciting groove. The track is relentlessly blissful and marks an absolute highlight for the project.
The album closes with “The Loneliest Time,” and to call it a breathtaking finale would not do it justice. The duet with Rufus Wainwright feels like the auditory equivalent of ending the project with a show-stopping firework display. It’s hard to find a song in recent memory that feels this celebratory. Strings, synths, keys, drums, and magnificent vocals all come together for a phenomenal closer that feels nostalgic, radiant, and above all else, truly magical.
Carly Rae Jepsen continues to prove herself as a force to be reckoned with in the modern music sphere. “The Loneliest Time” contains some of the most exciting pop tracks of the year. While the track list does have the occasional dud such as “Western Wind” or “So Nice,” the highs outshine the lows on an album that pushes pop into exciting new horizons. Anybody looking for something fresh and exciting should check it out immediately.
Carly Rae Jepsen – The Loneliest Time: 8.0/10