Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated

Dedicated, Carly Rae Jepsen's follow-up to E•MO•TION, is a glistening collection of 80s-inspired pop earworms

Album Review by Peter Simpson | 17 May 2019
  • Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
Album title: Dedicated
Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen
Label: Schoolboy / Interscope
Release date: 17 May

When you’re smitten, four years is a long time to wait. Yet that’s been the plight of the army of pop lovers, sad indie lads and previously-jaded music critics caught in the wake of Carly Rae Jepsen’s fantastic synth-pop opus E•MO•TION. The good news is that CRJ’s fourth full-length album is, for the most part, well worth the wait.

Clearly, one thing that hasn’t gone missing in those four years is the vocoder. A large batch of the hooks on Dedicated feature the quintessential faux-futuristic vocal effect, with some pitch shifting and other vocal tomfoolery thrown in as well. You’ll also find plenty of the pulsing, throbbing basslines that characterised E•MO•TION and its follow-up EP, Side B. Happy Not Knowing packs a low end oomph CHVRCHES would be proud of, and Automatically In Love rides along on a monster of a bass synth and some brilliantly high-in-the-mix drums.

Jepsen’s knack for lyrics that hit on the mostly-fun but often-fraught world of romantic relationships is also still in full effect. The Sound plays with insecurities around a love that seems to have run its course, whereas Happy Not Knowing is a hard swing to get shot of someone before they can inevitably hurt you. 'I'm sure it's nothing but some heartburn, baby / And I'm happy not knowing' is a pretty iconic way of telling a prospective lover to hit the bricks.

Having put together "200 songs" ahead of this album's release, it’s unfortunate that there are a couple of sub-par tunes here. Everything He Needs feels under-developed and overlong, while Feels Right is weighed down by an overbearing feature from Electric Guest. Yet while there’s nothing on this album with the immediate ‘wow’ of I Really Like You or Run Away With Me, Dedicated is packed with the sort of earworms that burrow into your subconscious, only to burst free later in a hail of bus stop humming and unaccompanied impromptu karaoke.

Want You In My Room takes the album’s throwback vibes to their brilliant limit. It’s all percussion and chorus pedals on the guitars, with a snappy, sex-filled vocal featuring the brilliantly frank line 'I wanna do bad things to you / Slide on through my window'. It's the kind of track you won't be able to shake after a third or fourth listen, and the sort of song that turns unsuspecting listeners into dedicated superfans.

Listen to: Automatically In Love, Want You In My Room