Sound Advice: Carly Rae Jepsen with Cardinox and Fairground Saints

Thursday • Madison Theater

click to enlarge Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen

Who would have thought back in 2012, when Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous “Call Me Maybe” reached No. 1 in 18 countries and she was touring arenas with Justin Bieber, that the Canadian Pop singer’s latest album, E•MO•TION, would become a critical favorite and that general audiences would relatively ignore it. Sure enough, E•MO•TION placed third in the Village Voice’s long-running Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, finishing ahead of releases by such critical heavyweights as Sleater-Kinney, Sufjan Stevens and Grimes.

While Jepsen says she’s surprised by the critical adoration, her main goal was to move away from focusing on modern-radio-/YouTube-baiting singles and craft a cohesive collection of songs — an actual “album.” She enlisted Indie Pop artists and producers like Tegan and Sara and ex-Vampire Weekend member turned solo artist Rostam Batmanglij in an effort to add a little grit to her gloss. The result is a dozen infectious songs that would sound right at home on 1980s Pop radio. Album opener “Run Away with Me” can be taken as a call to arms of sorts, its jaunty beat and crystalline up-front vocals urging listeners to return to an era when taut songcraft and earnest emotions made stars of everyone from Cyndi Lauper to Wilson Phillips.

And Jepsen is cool if that means playing smaller-scale clubs this time around.

“I’m loving it,” the singer recently told The Stranger. “I think it’s been like the tour of tours — the reason that it feels like we worked so hard to make an album that would be celebrated as an album rather than just, like, a song… It just feels like a big celebration.”

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