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Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated (Album Review)

Friday, 24 May 2019 Written by Huw Baines

There aren’t many straight-up pop stars who also become cult heroes. If anything, those two states exist in complete opposition to one another. But Carly Rae Jepsen has long stood beyond the reach of received wisdom.

In 2011, four years after innocuously finishing third on Canadian Idol, she hit upon chart dynamite with the undeniable Call Me Maybe. The single went Diamond in the US, shifting over 10 million combined streaming and sales units. As a solo artist she hasn’t been close to the Billboard top 10 since but, equally, it’s hard to think of many pop artists who are as widely admired as she is outside of the true megastars of this world.

‘Emotion’ has much to answer for in that regard. Her 2015 LP—a whip smart, gushingly romantic collection that remains the savvy poptimist’s weapon of choice—is foundational to that appeal.

Its finest moments, Run Away With Me or Your Type, are perfect, rose-hued examples of smart hit single writing, with the caveat that they weren’t hits.

‘Dedicated’ is the next step in Jepsen’s evolution. If ‘Emotion’ was something of a surprise in its consistent excellence, then album four carries a potentially soul-crushing weight of expectation on its shoulders. Pity the artist who must deliver bright, breezy, competent work with an army of pop nerds at their door demanding a hit of euphoria right now, dammit.

What is remarkable is how easily Jepsen deflects the glare. In the main these songs are the work of a sophisticate: almost flawlessly melodic, cleverly assembled and delivered as though the record’s title is a challenge. And if 15 tracks is a few too many, regardless of the fact that there isn’t a total dud among them, then they are at least dispatched in well below an hour.

At its best, ‘Dedicated’ is a complete delight. Want You in My Room is the sort of song that makes you marvel at its construction as hook upon hook is added to the mix without spoiling its sleek appearance. Similarly, the way I’ll Be Your Girl explodes from No Doubt b-side into monster love song is quite a feat of engineering.

The glue here is Jepsen herself. Her voice—often hushed, spontaneously powerful—conveys an unselfconscious commitment to the material that helps even its rote moments to clamber beyond their limitations. Her adlibs make the opener Julien sing, while the momentary delay she places on “you” during the chorus of Now That I Found You shifts the whole song an inch or so outside of Jess Glynne territory.

There are times when the ceaseless pursuit of the next big chorus renders the nuts and bolts of ‘Dedicated’ a little clinical, even if the delivery is anything but, and for that reason ‘Emotion’ will remain the favourite for a good many of Jepsen’s devoted fans. Few, though, will dispute that its follow up only adds to her outsider legend.

Carly Rae Jepsen Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed May 29 2019 - LONDON XOYO

Click here to compare & buy Carly Rae Jepsen Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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