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Friday, September 14, 2012

Carly Rae Jepsen's Kiss: A First Listen

Posted By on Fri, Sep 14, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Page 2 of 2

"Turn Me Up"

Computer-funk with better bass, more audio layers, a little bit of gauze to get lost in without innovating a thing or changing what a cornball record this is. It's hard to tell if Jepsen's interested in pleasure though; when she begs "turn me on, turn me on," she sounds like a coffeemaker.

"Hurt So Good"

How many insistent, peppy dance songs does one need? This isn't even a cheerleader album, this is a toothpaste commercial album. Even the pain is a -- what was that, again -- a good time. Love the slight little voice manipulations in the background, if you can even listen to the background behind all those rainbow-striped lollipop synths and four-always-on-the-floor slabs of obvious. But this one's excellent. "Why you gotta make it hurt so good?" Because you have to be human to feel pain you fucking Cylon.

"Beautiful"

A minor miracle that she spins Justin Bieber and Owl City into palatable cotton candy on the same record--this is more songful and bouncy than anything on his. And it's the first ballad! One nice side effect of the year Eurosynths conquered everything pop in enormous caramel goop is that ballads have all but disappeared from the pop charts. Now we can count on one-hit twitters to have more upbeat songs on their album than just the hit -- thanks Autotune!

"Tonight I'm Getting Over You"

"I wanna smash your fears" and "Don't you share your smile with anyone else but me" and crushing your heart in her bare hands -- this is Jepsen's attempt to be a bitch. But she can't keep a straight face and keeps cracking up. It's not even in a minor key -- her idea of dissonance is dubstep synths diluted to "We Found Love"'s pitch. But we've reached a holding pattern; this is one of the most listenable pop albums I've ever heard that by any calculable metric on paper should fail at every category. With only two songs left, it can't fail now. More bubblegum please.

"Guitar String/Wedding Ring"

She's so weird. At least unlike Owl City she doesn't think it's necessarily clever to wear a guitar string like a wedding ring, and she doesn't play it goofy like Ke$ha. She compares herself to a fish on the ground but doesn't seem to be suffering elsewhere in this song. Maybe she's just flopping? Is that what people who'd wear guitar string do? This song's fucking insane -- and one of the most addictive tracks here.

"Your Heart Is a Muscle"

Wow, the Jepsenbot never skips a beat does she? Even the piano ballad closer is fast-paced. I really liked this album and I was genuinely not expecting to. So many of her melodies are half-assed; words no-assed. She's no Robyn or Gaga. She's no Taylor or Britney either. But the way they're arrayed in a row really just punches you in the face. Maybe she could duet with Andrew W.K. next. He could teach her about lyrics.

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