By Graeme Wiggins
Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
Emotion reinvented Carly Rae Jepsen as more than just a candy-coated pop star and established her as an album-oriented artist that even indie kids could get down with. But cult followings create expectations, and Dedicated might not meet them for some.
Although it’s a solid album, Dedicated is more of a grower than a show-er. It does have its share of dance floor-ready tracks, like “Now That I Found You” and “Party For One,” but it lacks the sugar rush of “I Really Like You,” the massive hook of a “Boy Problems” and the adrenaline of “Run Away With Me.” What it does have is a collection of upbeat songs that might not immediately stick with you, but you’ll find yourself humming along.
The production doesn’t take many chances, sticking to disco- and 80s-influenced mid-paced tracks with hints towards an R&B influence. The ska-tinged “I’ll Be Your Girl” is a bit more experimental, but doesn’t quite pan out despite a monsterous chorus. Instead, Jepsen keeps things in an enjoyable sweet spot, staying danceable without forcing listeners to get out on the floor. Before the album’s release, Jepsen said she wanted to make music to clean her house to. Dedicated stays true to that intention.
One of Jepsen’s strengths is her ability to portray the nervous excitement of a new relationship, or of waking up next to someone you love. Dedicated continues this tradition with album highlight “Real Love,” and even amps up the thirst with “Want You In My Room.” It’s an album filled with her characteristic portrayal of longing.
While it would be nice to have a couple monster singles or daring experiments to take this album to the next level, when you do what she does so well, sometimes playing it safe is okay too.