Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated album cover (photo:: )
Album reviews
Artist:
Carly Rae Jepsen
Album:
Dedicated
Release year:
2019
Label:
604, School Boy & Interscope Records
17 June 2019 / by Demar J. Grant (author)

Movements: Synth-pop, Disco, New Wave

Lane: Evelyn King, Donna Summer, Late Daft Punk

 

It's summer, summer, summertime, time to sit back and unwind. Finally, a chance to chill on the beach, watch the sunset and start that summer fling. Summer and love go together like cereal and milk; great on their own but together they're an all-time combo. 

Carly Rae Jepsen, Canadian pop princess, singer of that one song you loved then hated but now love again, has dropped her fourth studio album, Dedicated, the soundtrack to your summer fling.

Both Tyler, The Creator and Carly Rae Jepsen released albums on the same day about the same topic, love. And while Tyler's IGOR is a concept album that orbits the crumbling of a once relationship, Jepsen invokes the entire arc. Dedicated isn't necessarily a concept album but there's a natural progression and just like a summer fling it starts like a rush.

Synth-pop is Carly Rae Jepsen's sound and while it's refreshing to hear artists drastically evolve, it's fun to see them slowly expand their bag. Airily singing through flipping synths and simple drum patterns Jepsen creates her own disco party with a dedication, "Julien." Astoundingly, Carly Rae Jepsen can capture overwhelming rushing emotions and distill them down to three-minute pop songs with ultra sleek hooks. Emotions run raw and Jepsen's song writing reflects it, she keeps her lyrics direct by musing about her past:

I tried another to keep me satisfied
But all your colors are still dancing in my mind
More than just lovers, I
I'm forever haunted by our time

Carly Rae Jepsen skates the line of vanity and density. Every track serves as a vehicle to deliver a specific mindset by constructing narratives without getting lost in the weeds. Every song cashes out just quickly enough, giving Jepsen the chance to paint rooms without the need to dwell on details. She’s lovestruck as quickly as she's jealous as quickly as she's lovesick, every lyric when read is transparent.

And yet Dedicated's production serves as a mask for Carly Rae Jepsen's songs.

Every song features that 80's aesthetic with a synthetic, new wave gloss that's accessible regardless of the lyrics. While rapid synth stabs and big room production propels "Now That I Found You's" disco song structure; Paramorian bass riffs guise Jepsen jealously "Standing at your door, calling out your name" on "I'll Be Your Girl." Even "Want You In My Room" is a longing sex ballad shiny enough to get radio play despite it's cheeky chorus. And when the once electric relationship is falling apart "The Sound's" Kingdom Hearts keys and buzzing 808's keep the party alive.

Mourning the end of the summer is moronic and just like its relationships the summer is about living in the moment. Dedicated's retro soundscape builds a synthetic celebration that keeps going even though "I've got the feeling that the writing’s on the wall." When things are ending the last few moments are savoured, not solemn.

Every summer has songs that drive it. Dedicated is an album that personifies it. No matter how sullen or joyous Carly Rae Jepsen's disposition, Dedicated keeps sunning. Eventually every summer comes to an end, Dedicated simply celebrates that it happened.

 

Rating: 7.7/10


Fire: Julien, I'll Be Your Girl, The Sound, No Drug Like Me, Now that I found you

Ice: Automatically in Love

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The author

Demar J. Grant

aka Deminem, aka Lil Demi Vert, aka Demar like DeRozan, aka Demar J. Grant is a music journalist and critic at CJRU. Follow him @DemarJGrant

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