It’s been seven years since Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous “Call Me Maybe” dominated the Pop landscape, rocketing the Canadian singer from obscurity to worldwide adoration. She responded to her newfound fame by crafting 2015’s E•MO•TION, an album of infectious songs that reveled in her love of 1980s Pop radio. Curiously, it was a critical favorite but was mostly ignored by mainstream audiences despite the presence of album-opener “Run Away with Me,” an inescapably catchy call to arms that, via its jaunty beat and crystalline vocals, transports listeners to an era when taut songcraft and earnest emotions made stars of everyone from Madonna to Stacey Q.
E•MO•TION placed third in Village Voice’s long-running Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, and she even found herself playing a set at the taste-making Pitchfork Music Festival, the kind of turnabouts that seemed impossible a few years earlier.
Jepsen’s long-gestating follow-up, Dedicated, finally dropped this spring. She has described it as “an understated disco, living room dance party thing.” Sure enough, its 15 songs aren’t quite as club-friendly as those on E•MO•TION. Album opener “Julien” is less reliant on big, belted vocals and more concerned with layered sonic textures.
“There was something about it that had this maturity to it, but at the same time, it had this old-school old-fashionedness that I loved,” Jepsen said of “Julien” in a recent interview with Billboard. “I loved the subtlety of it.”
Dedicated’s closer, “Real Love,” is even less concerned with Pop formula, moving from a pensive opening to robust chorus and back again, along the way utilizing Jepsen’s understated vocals in a way that, like the rest of Dedicated, emphasizes emotion over bombast.
Jepsen performs at Bogart's this Friday, July 12.