There are times in pop music when a song takes on a life of its own and becomes bigger than the artist who performed it. The smash hit of the summer, “Call Me Maybe,” is such a song. It has grown into a phenomenon, sparking countless YouTube parodies and entering the psyche of just about anyone with a radio or computer. “Call Me Maybe” is pop gold, no doubt, and it has thrown a major spotlight on Canadian pop darling Carly Rae Jepsen.
After the disappointingly bland follow-up single “Good Time,” featuring Owl City, Jepsen is ready to prove herself as an album artist with her delightfully indulgent sophomore effort, Kiss. With the exception of the sickly sweet Sam Cooke-sampling opener, “Tiny Little Bows,” the first half of the album packs a strong punch with glossy, synth-fueled bangers. “This Kiss” and “Curiosity” are standouts, brimming with youthful sentiment and radio-friendly beats. None of the songs on Jepsen’s 12-track album top the catchiness of “Call Me Maybe” save for “Turn Me Up,” an electro-dance romp that sounds like a cross between Kylie Minogue and Robyn. The chorus is brilliantly catchy, with Jepsen delivering the lines “You kiss me on the phone / And I don’t think it reaches” with the perfect mixture of naivete and cheekiness.
Fondue-enthusiast Justin Bieber makes an appearance on the highly anticipated duet “Beautiful.” This song is far from the modern-day “Endless Love” we were hoping for. Bieber and Jepsen switch off singing the rather familiar line, “What makes you so beautiful / Is you don’t know how beautiful you are to me.” The song suffers from a lack of originality and ends up sounding like a tired “Glee” cover.
Although it lacks sonic diversity or lyrical maturity, Kiss is good, clean fun. Jepsen ran the risk of becoming a one-hit wonder with “Call Me Maybe,” but with this charming batch of dance tracks, it’s clear that pop’s favorite faux-teenager is here to stay.
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