Revisiting Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Emotion”

By: Patricia Kusumaningtyas |

Let’s go back to 2015: Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Left Shark is all over the internet, people were debating over the blue/white dress, Adele released her first song in ages, everyone was laughing over Drake’s moves in the Hotline Bling video, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You” was overplayed on the radio. “I Really Like You” is just one out of Jepsen’s songs in her 2015 album, Emotion—a very overlooked and underappreciated work of modern pop. Emotion was a smooth departure from her extremely saccharine sophomore album, Kiss, and displays a variety of feelings and experiences that are very personal and very public at the same time.

Emotion’s biggest characteristic is that all of its songs are influenced by old school 1980s music, much to the likes of Madonna and Prince. This gives the album a lift in its spirits and highlights its lyrics nicely. The song starts with the instantly recognizable synth solo of “Run Away With Me,” a spirited album starter that sets the tone for the rest of the songs—as Jepsen sings “take me to the feeling,” we are becoming surer that Jepsen is going to embrace hers and show us, listeners, a piece of her experience in the album. Radio-friendly pop songs follow the single, including “Boy Problems,” Jepsen’s take on love advice and a subtle anthem for female friendship. The album then takes a sharp thematic turn on “Your Type”: a song with a musical landscape that feels expansive and all-encompassing. In the song’s bridge, we hear Jepsen spouting lyrics that seemed spontaneous, showing the intensity of her feelings.

A quick break from the personal and a rush to the popular, “LA Hallucinations” is Jepsen’s own rumination on fame, media, and the paparazzi. She ties it up with mentioning how it could salve one’s personal problems through the lyrics, “There’s a little black hole in my golden cup so

/ You pour and I’ll say stop.” “When I Needed You” ends the regular edition of Emotion; even though the song’s beats are joyous, its lyrics are full of frustration and confusion towards a significant other’s absence—showing that Jepsen’s emotions are not just saccharine, sugar-coated pop.

The deluxe edition ends with “Favorite Colour,” with Jepsen employing a vocal reverb technique similar to Taylor Swift’s “Delicate.” After the blood rushing through her veins, the arguments spitting on her mouth, and the whirlwind of feelings throughout the album, Jepsen takes us back to what makes it all beautiful. Emotion is an album worth revisiting and reflects upon the human condition in a way that only a few great pop albums can achieve.

Favorite track: Your Type

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