Thursday, April 7, 2016

An Open Letter to Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen, experienced tune architect and holder of the key to lifelong happiness through music.
photo copyright Interscope Records

Carly Rae Jepsen, we have to talk.

I just need to get a few things off my chest. I have some confessions, some apologies, and some praises I need to get out in the open so I can breathe easy again. To do this, I’ve decided to make a few major categories of conversation. It’s like our own little kiki, just the two of us. Except this is an open letter and everyone can see it. And you probably will never read this. That’s okay, let’s just do this.

“Call Me Maybe”

Well, let’s talk about the start of the worldwide career of indiscriminate phone number distributor Carly Rae Jepsen. A hit on the caliber of “Call Me Maybe” is a blessing and a curse; you became a household name, but only with that song’s title attached to it. It’s just not fair, CRJ. Although the song is great, we both know you’ve done better. But unfortunately, most of the world’s general population doesn’t know that – with the exception of Japan, apparently, but we’ll talk about them later. What an ignorant bunch the rest of the world is. They're really missing out on the wonderful world of Leonard Cohen-enjoying, Bruce Springsteen-listening, Van Morrison-appreciating pop banger maestro Carly Rae Jepsen.

Kiss, the international debut album we all didn’t appreciate in 2012

We just didn’t take it seriously. To be fair, we were just coming off of “Call Me Maybe,” a golden pick-up song mistaken as novelty that was shoved into our ear holes three times every waking hour of every day for like six months. Moreover, the pop music stan population had just become obsessed with Lana Del Rey and Marina and the Diamonds. We had heard your voice on a loop for months and were a bit distracted by American daddies in the pale moonlight and home-wrecking, heartbreaking primadonna girls. There was just a lot going on, you know? We had no time to put Carly Rae Jepsen, the cultural opposite of Rita Ora, into our schedules.

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of discounting both the breakthrough hit and the album upon first listen. As time progressed, though, I began to see the light, just like many other people. So on behalf of everybody, I apologize, because Kiss is packed with bops. For real, albums artist Carly Rae Jepsen, you delivered so many bops on that thing. “Tiny Little Bows,” “Hurt So Good,” “Curiosity,” “Turn Me Up,” “Guitar String / Wedding Ring,” “Drive.” All bops. They reaffirm your well-deserved title of Carly Rae Jepsen, Pop Music CEO.

The free concert I didn’t attend in 2012

Chances are that you don’t remember this, but you played a free gig at the Ohio amusement park Cedar Point in the eye of the “Call Me Maybe” storm. Guess who lives thirty minutes from said amusement park, has a season pass, and didn’t take advantage of the free concert starring Carly Rae Jepsen, the Millennial pop deity who walks among us but exists simultaneously as a spirit that flows through all humanity.

That’s right. It was me. In retrospect, I hate myself for missing what would have been the event of my lifetime. The video that lives online still taunts me to this day, for I am not in the front row, yearning to come face-to-face with Carly Rae Jepsen, the single-headed organism and largely harmless banger magnate, as she hosts a sing-along of her number one smash at one of my favorite places to spend time in the lukewarm Ohio summers.

“Beautiful” and the Biebs

Okay, so you collaborated on a not-so-stellar track with Justin Bieber at a time when it was not cool to do so. Just so you know, you’re forgiven; everybody makes mistakes, even Carly Rae Jepsen, the Canadian. He did, after all, help jumpstart your international pop career, so I suppose you owed him one. But you know what’s cool nowadays? Collaborating with Justin Bieber. Ask Diplo and Skrillex. So look at you, you trendsetter; every cloud has a silver lining. You should know that already, though, seeing that you are Carly Rae Jepsen, the only source of light in a world otherwise shrouded in darkness.


So we’ve established that Kiss is a lot better than we all gave it credit for back in 2012, yes? Even still, E•MO•TION is undoubtedly on the next level. Where did this come from, Carly ‘Epitome Of All That Is Right In The World’ Rae Jepsen? How did you disappear for two years and come back with a body of work that became the pop album of the year without the sales of the typical pop album of the year candidate?

It bleeds its '80s influences, so immersed in the time period that it could camouflage itself as a multi-platinum effort of an authentic '80s teen-pop titan. And those lyrics, oh my gosh. You can feel the warm blood (feels good, I can't control it anymore) pumping through those heartfelt lines as sadness-in-her-voice pop behemoth Carly Rae Jepsen masterfully delivers them.

With E•MO•TION, you one-upped Taylor Swift, who named her album after the last year of the decade that inspired the both of you. (That one’s gutsy. She’s a powerful woman who wants to keep her throne. I’m surprised her team didn't break into the studio and delete the master files of your album before you could release it.) You won over the critics who normally despise all that is good and holy in pop music. You even got decent scores from Pitchfork and Anthony Fantano, that self-righteous YouTube lad who automatically discounts most major-label female artists. That’s some pop witchcraft that only critically vindicated tune alchemist Carly Rae Jepsen is capable of conjuring.

The 231 songs we didn’t get from the E•MO•TION sessions

You said you had 250 songs for the album. All bonus tracks and new tracks on the Japanese remix album included, you’ve given us 19. That’s just not enough, Carly Rae ‘Of Light’ Jepsen. There has to be more gold sitting in that pile of 231 tracks. Okay, there may be a few duds in there, but I’m sure there are enough tracks to throw together a six-disc E•MO•TION repack titled MAS•TER•PIECE. (I’ve been dreaming of this for a while and have thought it through, if you can’t tell.) Don’t let your label tell you it’s not feasible, either; look at Ellie Goulding, releasing two-disc deluxe edition albums and 500-track album repacks every other year. This MAS•TER•PIECE proposal really isn’t that extreme in comparison.

That scrapped indie-pop album between Kiss and E•MO•TION

Alright, what kind of indie-pop are we talking here? Like folksy guitar stuff or just great pop stuff that would never break onto radio airwaves? Whether you've noticed or not, larger than life pop is kind of in your wheelhouse and you’re clearly slaying it. But non-amateurish songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen’s one-night stand with banging indie-pop à la Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence alternative rock experiment could be quite the experience.

“Run Away With Me”

Say what you want, but this song is the pop song of the century. All other opinions are incorrect. I want that saxophone solo to blare in the stadium as I walk across the stage to get my college degree next year, to play me down the aisle at my gay wedding a decade from now, and to soundtrack my casket’s decent six feet below the Earth many decades from now.

Actually, scratch that last part. I want it played at my funeral, where the saxophone will shake me alive from the grips of death for a 4-minute, 11-second dance extravaganza with my loved ones. I will drop dead once again as the final echoes of “ME” fade away. That is, unless someone hits replay. So what if I’m supposed to have an appointment with death? I can miss it for a second round of “Run Away With Me” by away-running force of nature Carly Rae Jepsen.

And as you’ve taken note, star of stage, screen and seven-second loop Carly Rae Jepsen, the song has also somehow turned into the meme of the century, which is completely okay by me. The ones that include someone getting nailed by a vehicle as the chorus hits are the ones I relate to the most; that’s honestly how I feel when I’m listening to it myself.

Record sales and radio hits

Both of your international albums haven’t done so hot commercially here in the United States and “I Really Like You” just didn't stick with American radio listeners, but you know what? Don’t even fret. You're Canadian Idol-losing strength of the human spirit prover Carly Rae Jepsen. You don't need to sell millions of records and be used and abused by Top 40 stations again for validation.

In a way, you’ve crossed over to viral fame, in the same vein as the two artists that cock-blocked you from our attention after your first hit in 2012, and for such an artist, you’re doing just fine. Even without a radio hit in the States, you have still garnered a fair amount of views on YouTube, retained a loyal cult following, and generated enough buzz to embark on a tour run here. Radio hits are overrated, anyway, especially when you have an incredibly solid album to stand behind. 


Goodness gracious, the Japanese really love you, don’t they? From what I’ve gathered, you and Avril Lavigne are all the rage over there. And you love them right back, Japan-favoring bonus track and remix album distributor Carly Rae Jepsen. So it looks like Japan is the country for me. I’m packing a bag (while everyone’s sleepin’, sleepin’) once I’m done writing this. The move will be worth it; I belong with my people, in a land that appreciates you as much as the United States doesn’t. All for you, Carly Rae Jepsen, the singer so good they named her three times. Or 72 times, but who’s counting?

In closing, anyone reading this who is not song-singing certified human Carly Rae Jepsen, go buy E•MO•TION today. And Kiss, too, if you'd like. Or at the very least, download “Run Away With Me” from iTunes. Or at the very, very least, watch the homemade, Instagram-chic video for “Run Away With Me.”

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