Nowadays it’s hard to find a well-rounded pop album that isn’t overcrowded with feigned features and mundane production – fortunately for Carly Rae Jepsen, she’s pro at doing the exact opposite.
Following the release of her 2015 album ‘E•MO•TION’ she pretty much solidified herself as a pop princess, and on ‘Dedicated’ she continues this winning streak, proving she’s no fluke.
Opener ‘Julien’ shows Carly at her strongest. Backed by wobbly synths and a glistening chorus, she effortlessly encapsulates the vision of riding off into the sunset. This is followed up by ‘No Drug Like Me’ — held together by a funky bassline and sensual tone — and ‘Now That I Found You,’ both of which find comfort in conventional dance-pop. Listeners might ask themselves if she’s capable of making an average song, and the answer is probably no.
The problem with artists like Carly – releasing such eminent albums – is the pressure to live up to previous work, and there are moments here where you start to compare tracks against their peers. Although at times they may not appear as fresh and exciting as past material, by no means are they tiresome. Jepson still manages to maintain her energy levels throughout, transmitting waves of groove and emotion like on the lustful ‘Feels Right’, where she once again showcases her knack for crafting unapologetic love songs.
In a confusing, complicated world, pop fans look to Carly Rae Jepsen as a form of escape. With tracks like ‘Real Love’ and ‘The Sound’ she takes control of her own needs, owning her vulnerability, and grabbing your senses by the fist in the process. However, these rare moments of vulnerability are overshadowed by her up-beat and audacious attitude on tracks like ‘Happy Not Knowing’ and ‘I’ll Be Your Girl’ – which dominates from start to finish.
Ending the album with the empowering and rebellious ‘Party For One’, it’s a moment of realisation for Jepsen — she’s perfectly capable of riding solo, something that was maybe daunting in the past. ’Dedicated’ is a joyride of anthemic melodies and fist-pumping bangers that see Jepsen at the top of her game. Revolving in a shimmering cloud of ‘80s synth, bouncy bass and progressive percussion, she has certified herself as a serious contender in the pop arena.
Words: Nick Lowe
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