Album Review: “The Loneliest Moment”

Carly Rae Jepsen goes beyond her bubblegum-pop roots on “The Loneliest Time,” but inconsistent sound hampers the album as a whole.

It’s been 10 years since Carly Rae Jepsen’s second hit album ‘Kiss’ propelled the Canadian artist into the consciousness of all Gen Z and Gen Z pop fans. She had already had a hit moderate in his musical career before “Kiss”, ranking third on “Canadian Idol” in 2007, but it was her single “Call Me Maybe” that made her a pop phenomenon. In the decade since Jepsen’s big break, she’s had a fair number of chart-toppers (including one lip-synched by Tom Hanks), but for those who haven’t followed her career, it may be surprising that she has just released her sixth studio album. That’s right – Jepsen has kept herself busy over the years, churning out a steady output of bubblegum and dance-pop tracks. His latest project, “The Loneliest Time,” offers everything a CRJ fan could want: whimsical musings on relationships, danceable beats, and a dreamy, candy-coated aesthetic that makes some songs feel like they’re pulled. straight from a sunny summer. love love movie.

Of course, it’s not quite the same from Jepsen. The new album shows the princess of pop pushing her sonic boundaries and delivering more than a few surprises along the way. One of the most important is the title track, “The Loneliest Time”, featuring fellow Canadian artist Rufus Wainwright. Despite what its name suggests, it’s not a gloomy, sprawling song. Rather, it’s an upbeat, disco-inspired track about wanting to rekindle an unfinished romance after having had “the loneliest time” post-breakup. Jepsen and Wainwright’s vocals are an unexpected combination, but the duo is surprisingly seamless. The instrumental flourish between their harmonies gives the song an infectious energy in the style of the 70s disco classics you hear at the rink. It’s easily the best track on the album – and certainly the funniest.

Disco influence is woven into a few other tracks, but bubblegum, dance and synth-pop reign supreme. Jepsen draws on influences from decades to make the album’s 13 tracks stand out from his earlier work. The album’s opener “Surrender My Heart” channels the 80s, even featuring a very “In The Air Tonight” drum moment before jumping into its catchy chorus. The synth-infused songs “So Nice” and “Joshua Tree” sound similar. “Sideways” and “Far Away” take on a bit more R&B flavor, with the older track showcasing that scintillating sound that 2000s artists of that genre loved to abuse. The single “Western Wind” is reminiscent of Jepsen’s folk-inspired debut album, while the cheeky track “Go Find Yourself or Whatever” could pass for an acoustic cafe track. Despite the variety of influences, however, many tracks fail to go from interesting to remarkable. Jepsen deserves props for trying out different sounds, but his reluctance to go beyond a surface-level homage leaves the decade bubbling feeling immemorial.

On the album’s strongest tracks, the pop veteran reminds us of the power of her lyricism to creatively convey familiar feelings (like the ever-iconic verse of “Call Me Maybe” recounting a new crush “Before you don’t come into my life / I missed you too badly”). The comedy track “Beach House” recounts the dates gone wrong, with Jepsen thinking, “I’ve been on this ride / This roller coaster is a carousel / And I’m getting nowhere.” Male singers chime in with lines reminiscent of the typical Tinder horror story: “I got a house by the lake in Canada / And I’ll probably harvest your organs,” they sing nonchalantly. In “Talking To Yourself,” inspired by the breakup, Jepsen asks, “Do you talk to me when you talk to yourself? echoing the relatable paradox of wanting someone you’re done with to think of you. Jepsen also has a few hiccups, from the distracting use of the word “skipper” in “Bad Thing Twice” to the cliched metaphors that fill the sappy song “So Nice.” Thankfully, the lyrical fumbles outnumber the quoted lines and sassy jokes that show Jepsen hasn’t lost touch.

It is understandable that a sixth album contains experiments. How else could Jepsen keep things fresh or display her growth as an artist? Longtime and returning listeners will surely appreciate its new multi-genre era for its novelty. Jepsen knows how to create solid pop tracks, even if they don’t quite reach the viral and chart-topping status of his previous work. Despite its low-key debut (the same day as Taylor Swift’s “Midnights,” unfortunately), “The Loneliest Time” proves that Jepsen is still an artist to pay attention to, especially if you’re a fan of 10s pop. those who haven’t been up to date with Jepsen after “Kiss”, this album might make you realize what your playlist has been missing all these years.

To note:B-
Release date: October 21, 2022

Image courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

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