Unless people have been living under a rock since 2012, they have most certainly heard Carly Rae Jepsen’s infectious bubblegum pop bop, “Call Me Maybe.” The song went viral and was covered by many artists that year, had plenty of radio play, was the biggest selling single of the year and was nominated for two Grammys. Long before fame, Jepsen found a love for music as a child, participated in her school theatre program and eventually went on to study music in college. In 2006, Jepsen auditioned for Canadian Idol and placed third in the competition, gaining enough popularity to garner a record deal. After her mega success with “Call Me Maybe,” Jepsen continued releasing several albums throughout the years and even joined the Broadway production of Cinderella. Last year, her fourth album Dedicated was released and Jepsen revealed she had written hundreds of songs for the project, which led to a continuation, her current release, Dedicated Side B.
The project opens on the perfect pop note with track “This Love Isn’t Crazy” with its bubbly pop melody and lighthearted lyrics. Other songs like “Stay Away” and “Felt This Way” maintain that upbeat, dance-pop sound with catchy lyrics and subtle old-school influences. However, the songs also sound a little too similar to stand out.
Jack Antonoff is a big player in the mainstream music world, as he is a member of two indie pop bands—Bleachers and Fun. He is also a producer and writer for pop-stars like Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and Lorde. His style and vibe are easy to pinpoint, and that influence is heard throughout Dedicated Side B, especially on the track “Comeback” which features Bleachers. The song has the timeless pop feel, with a hint of ’80s essence, and most importantly, to complete the Antonoff trifecta, lyrics that tell a bit of of a story, like “I’m at a war with myself/ We go back to my place/ Take my makeup off/ Show you my best disguise” and “All those travelin years/ Till we said our goodbye/ And I show up to your place/ You don’t even ask me why.”
While Jepsen herself admitted to finding and pulling a lot of inspiration from ’80s pop music, listeners do get a taste of other decades in her music as well, specifically in the song “Summer Love” which has a prominent ’70s disco feeling with an infectious and repetitive chorus: “I was down for the first night/ And I’m down for a second try/ When you touch me I wanna fly/ I’m so down for you all the time/ All the time/ All the time.”
The closing track happens to be the song that sounds the most different from the rest of the album. “Now I Don’t Hate California After All” has exactly the beachy vibes people would imagine from the title, and leans a little more soft, indie pop than Jepsen’s typical sound as of late. But somehow, she still makes it work.
Dedicated Side B is that lively, lighthearted pop that’s a bit of a rarity these days. It’s pop that’s effervescent and perfect in its simplicity, but still makes people feel good too. If people are looking for that album to play in the car, to lift their mood or to just dance around in their bedroom, they don’t have to look any further.