Carly Rae Jepsen

beiser

Well-known member
probably deserves a thread. I know @Corpsey is a fan. Thinking about the transcendental appeal here, the figure of Carly as a non-person more than a stand-in—if you look at pictures of her from between her different eras, you'll notice that she doesn't even look like the same person. We don't need to discuss the overwrought (mediocre, overdetermined) Max Landis music crit mini-site but there's something to the idea that she's relentlessly specific in approaching romance as borderline, tense, nausea-inducing. A hyperobject one never touches.
 

suspended

Well-known member

"A hyperobject one never touches." I like that.

Her origins/trajectory are really crazy. "Call Me Maybe" had zero cred in any scenes that considered themselves tasteful; it was a step above Hannah Black or Double Take—who I went to high school with, actually. It was written as a "folk song"? Can you imagine how bad that track is as a folk song? It was produced by Josh Ramsay which, have you ever heard of Josh Ramsay? No.

That said, I know nothing at all about her trajectory, except that somewhere in early college the hippest weirdos on campus—androgynous, 90s trenchcoats & sunglasses, hates indie music, makes hyperpop, you know the type—all got obsessed with Emotion, and she's become a total counterculture icon in the right scenes since. How this transformation went down is one of the great unwritten pop music tales of the '10s.
 

suspended

Well-known member

I feel like this track came after the target demos for PC Music and CJR had started overlapping, but I could be wrong.

Always felt like it could use about a 10% speed boost, but that's how I heard it first, maybe I imprinted.
 

suspended

Well-known member
That said, I know nothing at all about her trajectory, except that somewhere in early college the hippest weirdos on campus—androgynous, 90s trenchcoats & sunglasses, hates indie music, makes hyperpop, you know the type—all got obsessed with Emotion, and she's become a total counterculture icon in the right scenes since.
I should've guessed it was the gays:
Landis said:
Friend after friend entreated me to listen to the album. “It’s the best pop album of the year!” “It’s better than 1989!” “Max, you love pop YOU WILL LOVE THIS YAAAASSSS!” The girls and the gays had spoken. I had to at least try. I bought EMOTION on iTunes. And oh god did I love it. I loved it SO MUCH. Every song on the entire album felt like a single to me. I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t a breakaway success. I, like my gay friends before me, became near goddamn Evangelical about Carly Rae Jepsen, constantly tweeting praise towards the album and recommending it to anyone who talked to me for more than two minutes in the Fall of 2015.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
not a hardcore fan or anything but I like her, got into her early last year after hearing some of the Dedicated singles at the gym

I think of her as basically an American (I know she's Canadian) Robyn, i.e. simultaneously pop proper and art-pop

which makes sense since she cites Robyn as a big influence

I also didn't follow her trajectory - I really wasn't paying attention to pop or the monoculture ca "Call Me Maybe"

but my impression is that she was miscast as a teenybopper idol cos her big break was via Bieber

whereas she always was more of art-pop weirdo, albeit one with great natural pop instincts

and if you look at who else she cites as influences/contemporaries it's full of art/pop types - Sky Ferreira, Solange, Sinead O'Connor


 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
Dedicated has some cool tracks - it very much puts me in mind of certain strands of 80s pop - quiet storm, Jam + Lewis

it also me reminds of what were talking about in the Linebaugh thread - 80s outre genre-ambiguous, often Balearic-tinged female fronted pop

i.e. Antena, Linda di Franco, a trillion one-off records

which is almost exclusively a Euro tradition - the one Robyn is operating in (as well as that other great Euro tradition, Moroder-Italo-Eurodance)

but a North American take on that, which is where Jam + Lewis etc come in, those lush mid-80s Alexander O'Neal tunes that @craner loves

another person you could cite that we were recently talking - and in re PC Music - about is Sophie

Sophie at her most pop being kind of a more avant-pop, post-hardcore continuum take on some of the things Carly Rae is referencing
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I should've guessed it was the gays
yeah a friend of mine has seen her live a bunch of times and he told me the audience is alwasy heavily tilted toward gay men

which is another great pop tradition ofc, the relation of slightly outre female pop figures and a gay male audience

like a modern Dusty Springfield, 2010s blue-eyed soul
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
this is what I'm talking about with the 80s vibe

an updated take on high-budget, high production values mid-late 80s nexus of pop, R+B, Balearic

like it doesn't sound a million miles away from the last 2 minutes of "In the Air Tonight" when the drums kick in, after the famous drum roll
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
I knew she was gaining cred but never bothered to look until this song became a meme- the spaced out synth horn accompanying some inane visual. Don't really like the song, but thats a great sound. Her stuff is solid, but its from a place of distanced appreciation for me, dont think I've ever actually put it on just to listen to outside of the rare curious look. But I can really only stomach this stuff in small doses. Charli xcx is worth a mention too. a matched pair those two, probably the most appropriate comparison.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
It's funny it's never even occurred to me to listen to the lyrics of her songs. I don't think I could point her out in a lineup. But there are about five or six songs I really really really really really really quite like.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I'm sure Call Me Maybe is nails on a chalkboard for a lot of people but for me it's like a drug that's so powerful it makes me laugh at it and myself. But more like a sugary snack than an acid tab obviously.

It's machine engineered to carpet bomb your brain with dopamine. In that sense I can see what third means by it being fascistic. Totalitarianistically happy.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
It occurs to me that I've got a major sweet tooth when it comes to food so maybe that maps to a sweet tooth in music.
 

boxedjoy

Well-known member
I like a fair bit of Robyn and I love a fair bit of Jeppo, but I think the cult of fandom/standom that surrounds them is disproportionate and easy to explain.

I think both of them represent a return to an imagined ideal of pure pop that's seperate from what actual pop music looks like in the 2010s and today. A lot of contemporary pop music sounds over-compressed and brash, deliberately futuristic and abrasive. Lyrics about clubs and drinks and self-mythologising. Whereas Jeppo and Robyn hark back to a time when pop dealt with love and romance and a different kind of sexuality. You could picture them on a Saturday morning kids' TV show from 20 years ago in a way you couldn't picture eg Lady Gaga or Drake doing it.

Also the artists' own narratives allow for a certain projection of coolness. Jeppo is 35. She's not an 18 yr old in sportswear being marketed as cool and edgy: the vibe is more of a hipper, idiosyncratic listener, a figure whose own age and sensibilities feel more relatable. Manic pixie dream girl as pop star.

Both of these factors allow acts like Jeppo and Robyn a level of credibility - they're not like other pop music, this is the stuff that it's OK to like. This isn't to say that they exist in a seperate listening universe from Top 40 pop, nor exclusively to the world of chic anti-fashion coolness. But it allows them a respectability that you don't find awarded to Ariana Grande or whoever.

Which is really sad, because

a) a lot of pop music is in really great health just now - Tove Styrke, Tove Lo, Charli XCX, Annie, Taylor Swift etc, all releasing music lately that's really good but not afforded the same broadsheet column ink

b) Robyn's biggest songs are all "Dancing On My Own" photocopies

c) Jeppo's quality control isn't there - there's some incredible stuff in her catalogue but half of E.Mo.Tion and a lot of Dedicated is anaemic, wishy-washy stuff that doesn't reach the heights of Run Away With Me or Call Me Maybe. Dedicated was a massive disappointment considering how much I loved the first two albums.
 

boxedjoy

Well-known member
I went to see Jeppo in Manchester in Feb before lockdown and it was easily 80% gays and 20% girls who were brought by the gays. We travelled down from Scotland by train and spent the journey getting very drunk which helped but it was a fantastic gig - the cult of fandom around her meant that everyone there was devoted and there's not much like being in a crowd when they're loving every minute of it. There were big acapella singalongs, balloon releases, glitter and confetti everywhere, such a joyous and celebratory atmosphere. I would easily put in my all-time top five.

Also a treat was mistaking the sinks in the toilets for one of those long urinals and being told that I was pissing in the wrong place, and then it not being a big deal because security were distracted by the boys having a threesome in the cubicle nearby.
 

boxedjoy

Well-known member
actually the closest analogue to Jeppo's position in pop music is Janelle Monae's position in r&b - big name and support with people who like the genre but haven't engaged with it on its own terms properly for a significant and relevant period of time
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
@boxedjoy can you make a short but good playlist of the best modern pop that you allude to in point 1) of the post above? Spotify or YouTube.

The only pop music I've listened to lately has been Dua Lipa's last album.
 
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