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Carly Rae Jepsen performs at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto on Thursday August 16, 2012. (Chris Young For The Globe and Mail)
Carly Rae Jepsen performs at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto on Thursday August 16, 2012. (Chris Young For The Globe and Mail)

DISC OF THE WEEK

Carly Rae Jepsen: Embrace the feel-good flirtation Add to ...

  • Title Kiss
  • Artist Carly Rae Jepsen
  • Label Universal
  • Genre pop
  • Rating 3/4
  • Year 2012

Are you worried that, as a very serious person, Call Me Maybe is something you shouldn’t like? Perhaps you refer to it as a guilty pleasure – a common folly. (“But … but … but I also enjoy opera/theatre/ballet!” you squeal. Congratulations. Have a cookie and a juice box.) We grownups should be grateful for tunes like B.C. native Carly Rae Jepsen’s summer jam, since they remind us how a great pop single can bring people together, in a way that can’t be planned.

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But since nobody really knows what makes hit singles catch on, Jepsen’s first post-breakout album covers all possible bases. Naturally, Call Me Maybe-style dance-pop dominates Kiss, but outliers like the duet with Justin Bieber, Beautiful, or the romantic Your Heart Is A Muscle, prove she’s got emotional range. “You won’t pick up the phone, whatever,” she stage-whispers, and you can feel the look on her face. It’s not a moppet’s fixed smile, but neither is it a look of disdain. See? Nuance! Take that, haters.

Recycling song titles that belong to other hits (This Kiss, Hurt So Good) seems cynical – give ’em what they already like! – but, given the pressure to deliver another Call Me Maybe, it’s a minor complaint. Kiss is a pleasure from start to finish, no guilt required.

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