I believe that no matter what preferences people proudly share with other music lovers, we all have that craving for something sweet every once and awhile. However, finding something that satisfies the sweet tooth is no easy task. Great honest-to-goodness pop doesn’t exactly come in spades, especially in the mainstream, but every year I find a pop record that just does everything right. Last year we had excellent releases from Paramore, Lorde, and newcomer Landry Cantrell, and in 2014 the world heard 1989. I want to highlight here a record from 2015 that is still criminally underappreciated; that is Carly Rae Jepsen’s third studio record, E.Mo.Tion.
For those who may not be familiar, Jepsen was the pop sensation responsible for “Call Me Maybe.” It was an over-enthusiastic bop of a song that honestly got a little too much hate at the time. Hearing it after the constant radio replay died down I’ve realized it’s a pretty great song. While Kiss wasn’t that strong of a record as a whole, people wrote off Jepsen far too early because its follow-up was one of the best pop records this half of the 2010s.
E.Mo.Tion dons an 80s cloak with its use of pulsating synths, grooving bass, and innocent love, all without ever feeling like a half-hearted rip-off of the time. The album excels most when it’s going straight for that smooth, neon coloured style, such as with the opening anthem “Run Away With Me” and the gorgeously peppy “Let’s Get Lost,” which features an excellent backing sax and an addictive chorus. The record takes a number of cues from classic disco artists as well, such as in the driving chorus of “Making The Most of the Night” and the sparkling ballad “All That.” Even the somewhat cheesy lead single, “I Really Like You,” (maybe another attempt to build on the success of “Call Me Maybe,” I can admit that) is so sweet and likeable that the only real complaint one could have is with its repetitive lyrics. That same criticism could be used against “Gimme Love” but again, it’s so incredibly catchy there’s almost no point in caring.
Speaking of lyrics, although E.Mo.Tion mostly plays with innocent love and down to earth crushes, one would miss the maturity on display here if they come to a conclusion too early. “Your Type,” for example, is a brilliant offering that finds Jepsen coming to terms with the unfortunate truth that she may not be the type of girl her crush likes, no matter how hard she wishes overwise. Admitting that a relationship simply isn’t meant to be, rather than tearing up and feeling depressed over it, is an excellent value. Similarly, “Boy Problems” is a realization that obsession over a break-up doesn’t exactly strengthen relationships elsewhere and that we should be happy with those who do love us as opposed to the one who no longer does.
I’m a sucker for well-done pop and E.Mo.Tion ticks all the right boxes. It’s catchy, mature at times yet still self-aware enough of its own nature that it never takes itself too seriously, and above all, it’s great fun. Check it out when you get the chance and don’t neglect Side B as well as it’s just as good.