Artists may wear their heart on their sleeve, and for Carly Rae Jepsen, it’s no different. A cutesy and bubbly Canadian singer-songwriter, and a somewhat under-the-radar Pop star, Jepsen’s talents should not be overlooked. In fact, they should be celebrated as she continues to put her heart on the table and lay it all on the line with her new album Dedicated, set for release on Friday, May 17th via Interscope Records.
Looking back, Jepsen’s passion for music began early on in school, where she would star in productions such as Annie, Grease, and The Wiz. This would continue throughout her teenage years into adulthood, where she continued on at the Canadian College of Performing Arts. Eventually she led herself to Canadian Idol, where she placed third with notable attention gained. Fast forward over a decade later, Jepsen has captured the hearts of millions worldwide, was featured in Fox’s live presentation of Grease, and never waivers from her positive spirit all while doing so.
In over a decade from her first release, Tug Of War, in 2008, Jepsen’s messages full of love, equality, and self-love awareness have become a distinct marker for the artist. She soared into the limelight in 2012 with multi-platinum selling hit “Call Me Maybe” and earned herself Grammy nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song Of The Year. Furthermore, she continued to reign on the Billboard Top 40 with “Good Time” featuring Owl City and “I Really Like You.” Now evolving even more, with an album as good, versatiled and charming as Dedicated, there is no doubt Jepsen will continue her legacy in a positive way.
Offering 15 songs in total, starting at the end, the closing track, “Party For One,” was the first taste of the new music with a release late last year. A feel-good anthem all about self-love and respect, which should come first before any relationship, it offers a perfect bookend to Dedicated following the teeter-tottering between being emotionally distraught, or picking up the pieces and dusting off your shoulders. Then there are “Now That I Found You” and “No Drug Like Me,” which were released earlier this year, giving listeners a distinct insight for what was to come.
However, nothing has prepared listeners for likes of songs such as “Happy Not Knowing” and “The Sound,” both which are catchy as hell. “Happy Not Knowing” radiates straight to the bones with a coarse bass line and Jepsen’s bubbly vocals where she describes just wanting to leave things as is and go with the flow. Then, “The Sound” takes on a more mysterious approach as piano and whistles create an underwater, dream-like state as Jepsen nearly claims defeat in a relationship. Musically simple, the melody is captivating, and the relation of being let down holds true.
All this in mind, the compilation of feel-good songs on Dedicated is nothing foreign to Jepsen; similar to older tracks such “Bucket” and “Cut To The Feeling.” With a rewind motion, the summertime/first love vibes return for “Automatically In Love” as Jepsen dreams of unapologetically falling in love quickly and deeply. The same message remains with the jazzy “Feels Right” as she lives with no regrets. Instead, Jepsen does not question nor worry what is to come in this relationship; when it feels right, it feels right.
Swimming through a combination of gritty and pampered synths, xylophones, and tambourines, Jepsen continues with the 80’s blend from her 2015 record E•MO•TION. From jealous bouts in “I’ll Be Your Girl” to innocent confessions in “Real Love,” she takes her battered and bruised heart and refines herself. If there is one thing about Carly Rae Jepsen, it is that she has always been sure of herself and never afraid to let her twinkle shine through. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Dedicated 4.5 out of 5 stars.