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Carly Rae Jepsen: Embrace the feel-good flirtation

Carly Rae Jepsen performs at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto on Thursday August 16, 2012.

Chris Young/The Globe and Mail

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Kiss
Artist
Carly Rae Jepsen
Label
Universal
Genre
Pop
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.

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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About the Author
Editor, Globe Unlimited (Business)

Dave Morris joined the Globe and Mail in 2010 as Associate Editor of Report on Business Magazine. Born in St. John's, he graduated from Princeton University in 2003 and has written for publications including The Walrus and Maisonneuve. He has been nominated twice for Canada's National Magazine Awards. More

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