June 25, Dedicated by Carly Rae Jepsen
Total Number of Tracks: 15* (Wikipedia says that if you buy the physical copy, the last two songs are Target exclusive bonus tracks. However, Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music all seem to consider these 15 songs standard, and let’s be real, that’s how you’d probably be listening anyway.)
Songs you might know:
– “No Drug Like Me”
– “Now That I Found You”
– “Too Much”
– “Party for One”
My prior relationship with the album: I heard some of the singles leading up to the album release, including “No Drug Like Me” and “Party for One” and maybe “Now that I Found You” (I honestly don’t know.) I didn’t dislike any of these songs, but they also didn’t get me pumped up enough to pounce on the album as soon as it was released. (It also shared a release date with Alex Lahey’s The Best of Luck Club which might have had something to do with that.)
That being said, I have certainly developed a soft spot for Carly Rae Jepsen (full story in my Emotion review) so this album was most certainly on my list of stuff to listen to. It took me a month, but I got here, and I’ve been feeling it so far.
My impression this time around: Dedicated is the album one would have expected Jepsen to make after Emotion. It’s the same sort of ’80s inspired synthpop sound, filled to the brim with catchy hooks. The whole thing is a lot of fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and very last song would have felt right at home on Emotion. Whether Carly Rae Jepsen is your cup of tea or not, Dedicated delivers what you signed on for, no more and no less.
One thing that Jepsen has mastered that I’m not sure any other artist has to the same degree is the way that all her songs sound the same…. but different. None of these songs are surprises. It’s no exaggeration to say that every last track is 100% on-brand for Jepsen, perhaps to a fault. And yet… the album still has ups and downs to it. There’s contrast. There’s slow songs and fast songs, happy songs and sad songs, edgier songs as well as some pop fluff. And somehow, I never get to that point of feeling like I’m listening to the same song over and over again. Are some songs more skippable than others? Of course! But yet there’s no two songs that would feel identical side by side.
One of the first tracks to catch my attention was “Too Much,” where Jepsen’s signature bubbly energy is at its peak but yet the lyrics offer a little more nuance than her typical material. It’s self-reflective while still coming off as a cute love song, and certainly a song I found relatable on a personal level. I was excited when I later learned it’s going to be a single. Other standouts include “Want You in My Room,” which reeks of Jack Antonoff in the best possible way, as well as the collaboration with Electric Guest, “Feels Right,” which brings some refreshing live sounding piano to the mix.
While you certainly can’t knock Jepsen for inconsistency, there’s a part of me that wishes she had included some curveballs. With Dedicated, I feel like listening to “Want You in My Room,” “Too Much,” “Feels Right,” and “Party for One” over and over would be just as enjoyable as the whole album. None of the other songs are really bad, nor does the album bore me, but songs like “Everything He Needs” or “The Sound” don’t really pump me up the same way, nor are they different enough from the rest of Jepsen’s catalog to feel special. Part of me thinks I would have enjoyed Dedicated significantly more if there were even one or two tracks that felt unexpected. Instead we get an album that is certainly a well-executed follow-up to Emotion, but also a rather predictable follow-up to Emotion.
Who would enjoy it? If you like pop music, you’d like Carly Rae Jepsen. No one else is quite as good at music that is just plain fun and Dedicated is no exception.