Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
It’s likely Carly Rae Jepsen faced a lot of pressure to deliver something that matched the perfect simplistic melody of Call Me Maybe (also known as the Perfect Pop Song™) that when she upped the ante with E•MO•TION (the Perfect Pop Album™), the burden must have been enormous. E•MO•TION is as well known for undeservedly underperforming as it is for being the underground pop classic that launched a thousand memes and won over a very dedicated cult following for Carly.
Like E•MO•TION, Carly wrote well over a hundred songs before settling on the final tracklist for its followup Dedicated. (Might we see a Dedicated Side B?) One thing is for sure, Carly can craft pop perfection and the evidence is beyond present on this record. Dedicated is packed with songs that live off of catchy melodies, singable hooks, and relatable lyrics that take us back to feelings of excitement and thrill over crushes and new romances.
Mostly, Dedicated is an album about the thrill of feeling excited and hopeful. She sings about the feeling that comes with establishing a new romance on Now That I Found You: “Cause there’s nothing like this feeling/baby Now that I found you.” The uber catchy Feels Right covers the hesitation during the excitement before cementing something more real. Opening track Julien shows that even if it’s in the past, those feelings can still linger long after you’ve moved on as she sings about the one that got away.
The album is more subdued with more mid-tempos and less strictly 80s-inspired production, although the breezy Want You In My Room is straight out of Whitney‘s pop catalogue. However, she does mix it up with some unlikely influences such as the interpolation of a show tune from the 1980 musical film Popeye on Everything He Needs, the ska meets ABBA-esque sound of I’ll Be Your Girl, and the vulnerability of album-closer and career highlight Real Love.
The question many may have had in mind with Dedicated is does it surpass E•MO•TION? There is no instant answer is enough indication that it is a worthy followup. Its sound is clearly Carly but different enough to not be a recreation. However, it does begin to taper off in the final third with The Sound and Automatically In Love, both songs that would be filler on E•MO•TION but that sit within the tracklist of Dedicated. That both are also on the slower side might be an indication that the album could use a few more uptempo numbers to round it out.
Check out: Want You In My Room, Real Love, I’ll Be Your Girl, Feels Like
2. No Drug Like Me
3. Now That I Found You
4. Want You In My Room
5. Everything He Needs
6. Happy Not Knowing
7. I’ll Be Your Girl
8. Too Much
9. The Sound
10. Automatically In Love
11. Feels Like [featuring Electric Guest]
12. Right Words Wrong Time
13. Real Love