Monday, May 13, 2013

Kiss | Carly Rae Jepsen

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Last year, Canadian singer and song-writer Carly Rae Jepsen went from being a reality show contestant to a worldwide success, in what seemed like only a few minutes. Almost overnight, "Call Me Maybe" shot across the globe, and it seemed like everybody, both young and old, was in on the craze. The album that the song was lifted from, Kiss, was released just as the summer season was coming to a close, and I just now got around to listening to it. Judge me all you want for listening to it, but Jepsen is undeniably adorable and just as I had assumed, the album is just as bubbly and cute as she is.

From what I can tell from the small amounts of research that I've done on Jepsen, Kiss actually brought up a big change in Jepsen's production styles and main demographic. She was featured on Canadian Idol and released a debut album within her home country. By the time she hit big with "Call Me Maybe," and Kiss was being prepared for a worldwide release, she went from looking like this, to looking like how she does on the album cover for Kiss. With this album, I feel like Jepsen has now set herself up to ride off of the same fame that Taylor Swift has thrived on for years: Appealing to young children and 'tweens' by dressing and acting just like them and making squeaky clean tunes that parents will happily allow their children to listen to. I would never do it myself, especially since Justin Bieber is the only male to successful use this tactic as of late, but if Jepsen and Swift can use this tactic to pay the bills, the more power to them.

By judging the song by it's title, I didn't expect the opening track, "Tiny Little Bows," to be anything that sounded remotely catchy, but I was wrong. The song takes a lot of influence from pop music of the 1980s, and it seems that Jepsen is trying to channel Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Cindy Lauper, and (pre-Hard Candy) Madonna in the song. The song's lyrics don't really make much sense; I think she's trying to talk about love, but the lyrics end up being a big hot mess. The problem with the lyrics is that most of the original lines were ignored in the final mixing of the song, as I found out while trying to find a high quality version of "Tiny Little Bows" to listen to on YouTube. On the site, I found an acoustic rendition from Jepsen and the majority of the lyrics were different and, quite frankly, better. The acoustic cover included lyrics about Cupid and falling in love, while the final mix includes a bunch of random rubbish about New York and Paris with small fragments of the original lyrics left here and there. I'm not sure what stirred Jepsen to change the lyrics to things like "Dancing really high / And dancing really slow" and "Hey London / Call me if you think about it / Don't forget," but I really wish she would have left the original lyrics be, because they were a lot better. Regardless of the lyrical content, the song is pretty cute and I find myself humming it all the time.

As weird as it seems, I actually wasn't too keen on "Call Me Maybe" when I first heard it; it just seemed like a basic pop song. But after the second or third listen to it, that song was magically stuck in my head and wouldn't leave. By this point, I realized that I had fallen in love with the song. To be honest, I could walk around singing "Hey, I just met you / And this is crazy / But here's my number / So call me, maybe?" to myself all day and not tire of it. In actuality, there still isn't anything really special about it except for the fact that it's extremely catchy, but then again that's all that a song needs to be successful anymore. If a song's got just the right hook, it will shoot right up the charts, regardless of vocal talent or song-writing capabilities. Luckily for Jepsen, she's actually got all of that; I've watched her live performances on YouTube to find that she's actually got a very nice voice, and she writes her own lyrics. As a listener, this tells me that her emotions and thoughts were actually put into the lyrics rather than just being sung off of a piece of paper that was handed to her.

Kiss also includes Jepsen's collaboration with Owl City, "Good Time." The song was lifted as single from both Kiss and Owl City's fourth studio album, The Midsummer Station, sometime last year and met pretty big success. I've loved the song since it was first released because it's so carefree. Again, just like all of the other songs off of this album, "Good Time" isn't anything too meaningful or deep; It's just a simple, fun song with a cliche repetition of "oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh" that can be found in almost every single pop song known to man. (That doesn't really bother me, though. Even pop artists that are at the top of their game make use of this trick to fill up the empty space in their songs.) The song revealed how well the voices of Adam Young and Jepsen blend; they create a really nice sound when they're singing together in the chorus. I would actually enjoy another collaboration between the two soon considering how well "Good Time" turned out.

While listening to it in chronological order, I really enjoyed the album. But, after the seventh track of the album, it started to go stale. Songs like "Your Heart is a Muscle" and "Guitar String/Wedding Ring" were just boring. My least favorite song from Kiss also appears in the second half of the album: "Beautiful," which features Justin Bieber. The always-irritating Bieber is also listed as an executive producer of Kiss, so I'm surprised that the album turned out as well as it did, to be honest.

I like Jepsen on about the same level that I like artists like Katy Perry; she's got some really good pop tunes that I can sing along to and replay over and over again. Although her music may not have a lot of meaning, I can appreciate the fact that Jepsen's actually got the live vocal talent to back herself up. In fact, while singing live, she sounds better than about seventy-five percent of today's pop stars and she deserves more credit than she gets because of that.

Overall, I moderately enjoyed Kiss. This album definitely appeals mainly to girls that are still awaiting for their age to reach the double digits, which is why it might have under-performed when compared to the success of "Call Me Maybe," but most fans of pop music can find a song or two that they enjoy. If you're looking for some innocent and fun pop music, Kiss is right up your alley.

1 comment

  1. "Kiss" is so good! She might release this year but I really haven't heard much about it...


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