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February 22, 2024

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Carly Rae Jepsen B Sides Review

After releasing the music video for her collaboration with PC music producer Danny L Harle, Carly Rae Jepsen offered her B-sides to her fans as a gift.

“Emotion Side B almost never was. Well, technically all the songs existed I just didn’t think to share them until we toured. But meeting many of you face to face, getting to share in one of the most joyful touring experiences of my life, all I wanted was to give back more of the feelings you all gave me,” Jepsen said in regards to the release on her website.

The same songs that were originally scrapped for the album find their own niche on this seven-song release. These extra “Emotion” songs have their own appeal and have just enough bite to make this small release worth a serious listen. 

Jepsen is known for her simplified pop hooks, and doesn’t shy away from them this time around. She gets her easiest line in “Store,” with the repetitive lyric “I’m just going to the store / you might not see me anymore.” That chorus easily breaks down into a memorable, innocuous metaphor about ending a stale relationship.  Any listener can analyze and relate to the song without needing to spend a long time picking it to pieces. 

“Cry” is the shimmering star on the Christmas tree that these B-sides are for devoted fans.  The use of retro synths on “Emotion” made many pure pop fans satisfied and this song is no exception to that trend. “Cry” could be a top 40 hit 20 years ago (and today too, if the general music listening population spent more time appreciating Jepsen’s dedication to her aesthetic sound rather than making memes out of her). 

Tracks like “Body Language” and “The One” follow the same pattern of dreamy wish fullness that Jepsen often finds herself stuck in like quicksand. Which almost becomes monotonous, when considering that these tracks are technically part of “Emotion”. The saying “too much of anything is a bad thing,” can be applied here. They satisfy her fan’s desires for more passionate songs, but they are not distinguishably Jepsen or revolutionary when it comes to instrumental deviation. 

As someone who has seen her success fluctuate from the number one single in 2012 to playing a small venue tour in 2016, Jepsen has not seen her success translate through sales. Rather she has found her audience that appreciates her artistry and aesthetic. Noncasual Jepsen fans know what they should expect from her at this point in her career and these B sides reaffirm her growing direction as an experimental pop artist. 

The eighth and final track “Roses” solidifies this as a considerable connection with what she must have felt meeting fans on tour and hearing their own poignant situations. Within the first 30 seconds you know the somber timbre is going to give way to a lilting chorus change. This track takes you through a touchy situation, but once the song really sets in you start realizing that emotions are best felt when singing out loud, which is what Jepsen intends. Despite being a well-known artist, Jepsen’s struggles are as relatable as someone who lives just down the street. 

She may have recently grown as the “Queen of memes,” but Jepsen’s versatility and ability to emotionally connect to a diverse fan base are her true roots to fame. 

As she mentioned on her website, these B-sides are just a morsel to tide over hungry fans before her next album that she is currently devoting herself to. Until then you can most likely catch her supporting friends like Dev Haynes of “Blood Orange” or Charli XCX. 

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