I’m preface by saying that I did not come into this album as a Carly Rae Jepsen fan, and as such cannot commit on how her latest album compares to her prior work. Like the rest of the general population, I was swept away by “Call Me Maybe” hysteria, however many summers ago that was, but that and “I Really Like You” were my only encounters with her music. “I Really Like You” was enough to make me interested in this album, and after someone at Billboard mentioned how it was already being called the best Pop album of 2015 I suddenly was very interested what sounded like an album with some good pop music.
Simply put, I was not disappointed by what I heard. “Emotion” is overflowing with amazing upbeat and catchy pop gems. The meaning behind most you can easily surmise by listening to Jepsen’s two major hits (so far) “Call Me Maybe” and “I Really Like You”; songs like “Run Away With Me”, “Emotion”, and “Your Type” are all great love songs I’ve come to like as much as “I Really Like You”
Some might use the standard pop criticism against this album; that modern pop songs sacrifice good lyrics and meaning for a good hook and beat. I don’t see that here and feel like Jepsen (who has writing credits on all the songs here) did a good job of making this album smarter than what is usually expected of the genre. And as Spencer Kornhaber put it over at The Atlantic, “Carly Rae Jepsen isn’t likely to inspire any graduate-level seminars on the poetry in her pop. But she should get credit for being more thoughtful than most.”
They are also some songs that stand out as diverting from the “Call Me Maybe” mold; one good example is “All That”, which is a slower love ballad that has a lot more lyrical depth. Now, while I’m not a huge fan of the song I do think it is noteworthy for being where Jepsen tries something different and I’d say succeeds.
Another interesting song is “Boy Problems”, where Jepsen’s been bringing down her friend with her relationship woes and then wisely chooses friendship over romance (What’s worse/losing a lover or losing your best friend?”). The chorus also hints that sometimes in life being in a relationship (and having it end badly) isn’t the most important thing in the world (“I think I broke up with my boyfriend today/and I don’t really care/I’ve got worst problems”)
Then there is “LA Hallucinations”, which is about a girl coming to L.A. with her lover only to let the city and fame come between them, “We said we’d always be the same/but we lost each other in the game.” She seems to eventually realize her mistake and try and make things right, “So take me into your arms again/and shake me from LA hallucinations”. Personally, I like songs about rejecting fame to get back to what’s really important, so I’m a big fan of this one.
All that being said, just like on her last album there are a few places on the album, where things get a real sensual and messages get a bit mixed. A good example being “I Really Like You” where despite being pretty sure that this isn’t the right guy for her, she still let’s things get physical between them (Late night watching television/but how’d we get in this position/it’s way too soon I know this isn’t love). At the end of the day, I guess, most of the edgy material here isn’t too objectionable as Jepsen doesn’t go too deep into details.
Track Highlights: “Run Away with Me”, “Emotion”, “I Really Like You”, “Boy Problems”, “Your Type”
To be honest, I do like this album; I like this kind of love centered pop, I like Jepsen’s sound and some of the lyrics here are really good. As I said at the beginning, I’ve never heard Jepsen’s prior work, but I think now I might have to now. Will we be hearing all these great readymade hits on our radios in the coming months? Maybe, although considering we are talking about a tragically underrated artist maybe not. But I digress; I’ll give “Emotion” three stars out of five, a good album, consider giving it a listen.