by Iryna Byelyayeva
Despite being someone who spent most of her adolescence trying desperately to refine her taste in music and films, there are two things I will be an absolute sucker for always: romantic comedies about glamourous women makin’ it in whatever industry while makin’ out with a hot individual, and unashamedly positive pop music. There’s something so sincerely day-dreamy about these two things that I can’t help but turn to them when I need to feel better.
In 2012 Carly Rae Jepsen released ‘Call Me Maybe’—a song that played on all radio stations at all times even though I was pretty sure we, as a culture, decided that we hated it. I can confirm the song is still annoying (I’m listening to it as I write this and I’m not smiling) but we shouldn’t have written off Carly Rae Jepsen as an irritating one-hit wonder so quickly. Three years later she gifted us with Emotion (2015), a pop album so good it might as well be a rom-com in and of itself.
When I was younger I used to obsessively look up movie soundtracks after my viewing so I could find the songs I liked and listen to them obsessively. I loved putting the songs on my iPod and reliving the film on my tram ride to school the next day. Sometimes I would pretend I was in the movie (don’t deny you didn’t do the same). But I had never found music that transported me into the feeling of the beginning and climax of a classic New York romantic comedy so perfectly before Emotion.
The start of ‘Run Away With Me’ sounds like a call to arms. It comes on and rounds up Carly Rae Jepsen’s growing cult following. The thing I love about her in this album is exactly what annoyed me about her in the beginning (love is a strange thing): her sugar voice, which sounds like she’s constantly smiling. How can someone sing a smile?! This song is the musical embodiment of the theory that if you smile at someone they will smile back. It’s so upbeat and fun that you can’t help wanting to jump around with your friends.
Every song on the album could be the anthem for the scene in your own movie where you reach an epiphany. Every time I’m running late and just really need to move my tush I put Carly Rae Jepsen on to help me run. She makes being late less stressful and a little more glamourous. Oooh look at me, being late, because I have somewhere to be late to, off I go, running, but still looking good. Listening to songs like ‘Gimme Love’ and ‘Making the Most of the Night’ is like playing pretend.
Objectively, my no-longer-secret love for analysing movie soundtracks is not the point of the album. Emotion is unapologetically girly. It’s got 80s synths galore, and lyrics about day dreaming and boys. ‘Boy Problems’ is probably the most universally known song off the album thanks to the talented Petra Collins who managed to direct a video clip that fits perfectly with the song. ‘Boy Problems’ is a realistic portrayal of female friendships and doesn’t romantacise the situation but it’s still wonderfully positive; it doesn’t put women against each other. Even ‘Your Type’, which is a classic I-wish-you-liked-me song is happy and empowering, like she’s owning not being the type of girl for him as opposed to getting bitter.
Emotion is a safe space for girly fantasising about relationships and friendships. In 2015 it was on almost every Top 10 list, but it didn’t sell. We heard her in 2012 and wrote her off as too girly, too honest about her feelings and too sugar-sweet. Then we let other female singers go down that path and commemorated them.
Guys, gals, everyone, Carly Rae Jepsen deserves your attention. Because not even Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey or Marina and the Diamonds can let me pretend like I’m in a movie like Carly can. While everyone else faces reality or contemplates nihilism, I’ll be over here having fun, okay?
Iryna is a creative lady living in Melbourne, Australia. She is the editor of The Wall Mag and gets published here and there. She can be followed on twitter @irynabyel