Rae Jepsen Looks To Shed Her One-Hit Wonder Status With ‘Kiss’
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
This week marked the release of Carly Rae Jepsen’s second and undoubtedly most well-known album, Kiss. The 26-year-old singer/songwriter, having already made a name for herself in her home country due to her third-place Canadian Idol finish, hit it big in the United States with her early summer release of “Call Me Maybe,” which today boasts more than 260 million views on the artist’s YouTube page. She gained fame through endorsements by fellow Canadian Justin Bieber on Twitter. Jepsen’s album is exactly what I expected from her—a collection of upbeat, catchy songs made for dancing and having fun.
“Tiny Little Bows,” the first song on Kiss, has a 1970s essence to it, with a soulful voice singing “Cupid, draw back your bow” throughout the song and a Madonna-esque vocal tone. It started the album out on a unique note that doesn’t continue.
This album certainly lacks depth. It doesn’t build off of “Call Me Maybe,” but falls uniformly into the same pattern. Most of the songs blend into one another, with similar beats, lyrics, and synthesizer melodies in the background.
The lyrics on Jepsen’s album imply that her life takes place on a dance floor. The album’s title track, “This Kiss,” talks about a meeting on the dance floor, and her two painfully similar breakup anthems prescribe dancing as a cure to any heartbreak. The first, “Turn Me Up,” proclaims, “I’ve given up / I’m going out tonight,” while “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” says, “I’ll keep dancing till the morning with somebody new / Tonight I’m getting over you.” The repetition of ideas in “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” is redeemed by a deep dubstep beat in the chorus, which is sure to make some stellar dance remixes.
I was surprised to see that the album features two duets. The first is the radio hit “Good Time” featuring the techno pop group Owl City. The techno beats and catchy “Woah oh oh oh oh” are sure to be stuck in your head for hours on end. The lyrics, however, leave something to be desired, with 21 total repetitions of the phrase “It’s always a good time.” The second duet is “Beautiful,” a love song between Carly Rae and Bieber. I mistook the beginning of this song for “Hey There Delilah,” but the poppy back beat soon came in over the upbeat guitar strumming. The lyrics echoed One Direction in another overused sentiment, “What makes you so beautiful / Is you don’t know how beautiful you are / To me.” Halfway through the song, Bieber’s silky sweet vocals come in talking about perfection and other halves, adding to the song’s saccharine tone. The most touching part of the song comes when the back beat drops and the two sing over a faint guitar strum, their voices blending in perfect Canadian harmony.
The biggest hit on Kiss is undeniably “Call Me Maybe.” Though it’s something I groan to hear now, almost six months after it became popular in the U.S., even I can’t deny my addiction to it during its heyday. What makes it so catchy is somewhat of a mystery. The simplicity of the lyrics makes it easy to sing along to, it has a message that is popular at any party, and the strings in the background add a unique and dynamic element to the song. Although “Call Me Maybe” may be the most popular song thus far from the album, my favorite track was “Hurts So Good.” Its up-and-down vocal pattern reminded me of something from the Spice Girls era, and I couldn’t stop humming it after hearing it once.
I must admit that Jepsen’s album had me tapping my toe throughout a gloomy afternoon of doing homework, and transported me from the Rat to the dance floor, even if my head was spinning with poppy melodies afterwards.
The success or failure of Kiss will prove whether Jepsen will join the ranks of other female pop stars, or will fade into the oblivion of one-hit wonders.