Some may think Carly Rae Jepsen is somewhat of a nuisance after hearing 'Call Me Maybe' incessantly for all of 2012. The nonstop playing of the song may have stopped quite a few people from listening to the album which it came from, which is a real tragedy.
Carly Rae Jepsen is one of the strongest pop artists out there. Her latest album E•MO•TION (and E•MO•TION Side B) were truly a feat of pop music. The bright pop textures and loving words really have a super infectious quality to them, not to mention how strong her sense of melody and sensibility is. All in all, Carly Rae Jepsen's talents are exemplified in her last record, but we could've already seen her potential in her previous record. Carly Rae Jepsen's Kiss showed her pop prowess all the way back in 2012.
Kiss is more than your standard synthpop tracks. Jepsen has a way of making each track has a distinct sweetness that makes it impossible to not groove to. The first taste of music comes in 'Tiny Little Blows,' a very sweet song that brings the album in on a relatively gentle note. More sweetness can be found later on in the record on tracks like 'More Than A Memory,' another love song just like 'Tiny.' The entire record is centered around the idea of love (the title is Kiss after all), so there's no escaping that. Luckily you won't be too bothered by that precedent.
Any pop album around love has to have some cheesy things going on. Kiss is no different. It's the cheesy moments that are actually the lowpoints of the record. 'Beautiful' featuring Justin Bieber is a really cheesy song, with nice harmonies between the Canadian singers but not much content lyric-wise. 'Guitar String/Wedding Ring' is another song with a pretty mushy story, but the way it's told and it's overall sound definitely make it a sweetly cheesy song.
There are many songs on Kiss that are very energetic to give the album lots of momentum. 'This Kiss' is a great song, with big choruses and a fantastic chord progression. 'Curiosity' is another high-energy track with its sweet synthpop vibe and huge melodies. Another one of the record's big singles 'Good Time' with Owl City has a big pump up attitude about it. Even 'Call Me Maybe' sounds pretty good after not being drilled into our ears 24/7. The melodies of 'Hurt So Good' are super infectious, the synths pounding brightly.
There aren't many down moments on the record. The questionable moments lie in some of the more standard tracks. 'Your Heart Is A Muscle' is a good song, but it's entire premise just baffles me. Yes, the heart is a muscle. That is a fact. 'Turn Me Up' is the only song that's clearly a step behind the others. It just feels really out of character for Jepsen and stands out awkwardly on the record. "I've given up, I'm going out tonight / Turn me up, turn me on / I'll turn me up, I'll turn me on" just doesn't sound right coming from her.
Carly Rae Jepsen is one of the indisputable queens of the pop world, and its a shame she often gets overlooked. Her latest record showed her at her best, but all the keys for success were already present in 2012 with Kiss. Her pop prowess was flaunted with great appeal and a great sound, not devoid of flaw but definitely full of passion. It's been awhile since we've gotten a new album from her, and we can't wait for it to come.
Favorite Tracks: This Kiss, Curiosity, Hurt So Good
Least Favorite Tracks: Turn Me Up, Beautiful, Your Heart Is A Muscle
Rating: 79 / 100
Buy or listen to Kiss here: