Everyone’s heard Jepsen’s infectious No. 1 hit, “Call Me Maybe.” I bought, listened to on repeat, and got tired of the single, like a lot of people. I then received her album Kiss as a present, and found it was a crazy catchy album, great to work out to. Honestly, I was a bit sad because I thought there was more to her music than that. Like I always do, I into her and found out she had released another album, her debut album.
Fresh from Canadian Idol, Jepsen released her debut album, full of songs she wrote by herself. With this record, Jepsen took influences from many genres of music, making this album a collage of different types of music. She draws from typical pop rock, and adds some folk flair, and even brings in some country vibes at some points. It makes her sound unique, which she lost after she decided to go mainstream with “Call Me Maybe.” This album sounds like her personality, and sounds different.
The first song of the album is “Bucket”. In this song, Jepsen samples a children’s song and fuses acoustic pop, reggae and some sort of Hawaiian music. She uses the metaphor of building a sand castle to speak of her troubles with her boyfriend and life in general. This is the first look the listeners really get into Jepsen’s songwriting abilities. She’s able to take a children’s hobby and make it into a suitable song for a young couple. Another song on the album that really showcases Jepsen as a songwriter is “Money and the Ego”. Along with “Bucket” and “Tug of War” Jepsen got nominated as the Juno Awards Songwriter of the Year with this track. Jepsen debates the meaning of life, but makes the heavy topic more radio friendly with light acoustic production.
Two tracks with interesting production are the title track and “Heavy Lifting”. The title track has many different parts of the song that get played over each other until the end where they are all played at the same time, making the track really challenging for you ears, trying to hear each part. It becomes an experience for your ears. “Lifting” is my favorite track on the record. It describes the tale of first love, and her first time. It’s innocent and naive in songwriting, making it a truly joyful love track that the radio misses these days. The song has heavy country pop influence with the acoustic based production ad big bridge and chorus which fills out the track and makes it a pleasurable listen.
The one low on this album is “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” It’s a cover of John Denver’s classic song. A song like this is so hard to cover well because of the beauty of the original track. Jepsen tries to make it more poppy and it doesn’t really work in her favor. This was her debut single to radio, and doesn’t reflect her as an artist, like the rest of her album does.
Ending the review on a positive note, here is a song in which Jepsen should have based her whole career and sound around. “Tell Me” is a short acoustic folk influenced ballad, only clocking out at 2:21. It tells the story of a break up, and the need to have her lover tell her it straight, and not try to dance around her feelings, because she can’t understand him. Jepsen’s vocals shine, with their little imperfections becoming positive things in this revealing track.
It’s easy to see why Jepsen didn’t continue making these kind if records. This album did not sell well, only selling 10,000 copies today and it came out in 2008. But this is the kind of music that makes Carly Rae Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen, and not just another Katy Perry/Britney Spears clone. I hope with her new album, Jepsen decides to come back to her roots a bit and create another album as incredible as this one is.
Best tracks: Money and the Ego, Tug of War, Heavy Lifting, Tell Me
Throwaway tracks: Sunshine on my Shoulders
Overall rating: 4 and a half crowns