After her bubblegum pop banger ‘Call Me Maybe’ became inescapable in 2012, Carly Rae Jepsen seemed destined to become a classic one-hit wonder: Toni Basil for the Twitter era, if you will. Instead, the 29-year-old Canadian has regrouped and made a surprisingly sophisticated ’80s-influenced pop album.
‘Emotion’ is packed with frighteningly relatable songs about love, longing and heartbreak co-written by Jepsen with trendy collaborators including Dev Hynes, Haim producer Ariel Rechtshaid and Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij. Lead single ‘I Really Like You’ is nearly as catchy as ‘Call Me Maybe’, but the album’s more restrained moments are just as infectious: ‘Run Away With Me’ is a gorgeous sax-stained swoon, ‘All That’ could pass for a classic Janet Jackson ballad and ‘When I Needed You’ sounds like a great lost Belinda Carlisle single. Best of all is ‘Warm Blood’, a woozy synth-pop gem produced by Batmanglij that quivers with unfulfilled lust. The glitchy beats and knowing lyrics of ‘LA Hallucinations’ don’t suit Jepsen’s breathy sincerity, but it’s the only mis-step on an otherwise sublime pop record.