I don’t know if Jepsen’s first single from Emotion, I Really Like You, is a hit enough to take her name off the one hit wonder list, but if people would give Emotion a chance, they’d find a depth and talent that is deserving of your attention. Jensen is more than a Call Me Maybe trivia fact answer.
Right up front I want to say this… And I know it’s controversial, but I like Emotion more than Taylor Swift’s 1989. That’s not a subtle dig at Swift. I have been nothing but impressed with her success and enjoy 1989. I even own the record on vinyl. This is nothing but praise of Emotion!
Emotion feels heavily inspired by the late 80’s/early 90’s. Think Paula Abdul or Janet Jackson. The synth saxophone that opens up the record instantly transports you back in time. Runaway With Me is a super catchy pop single with an instantaneously ear grabbing hook. It’s a great album opener because you want to keep listening. The title track keeps the upbeat pop vibes going. It’s the type of song that if Jepsen was signed to Matador, was promoted on Pitchfork, and had never released Call Me Maybe, indie kids would eat it up!
In the context of the record I Really Like You seems less trite and cutesy. It might even be a new mix of the song. The new wave pop vibes really jump out on the track and after hearing the first two songs on the record, you connect with it more than just as a random single on the radio. Gimme Love feels like a stripped version of Blondie. Not quite as sonically rich and missing that punk attitude, but that new wave sound that Blondie perfected is kissing this track.
Between the opening synth line and the subtle touches of a funk bass line, All That is a great throwback r&b slow jam. Boy Problems is such an early 90’s teeny bobber song and only seems weird when you think about Jepsen being 29. Your Type is almost like an older perspective counter point to Boy Problems. More mature both musically and lyrically. Let’s Get Lost is another song that you can just as easily imagine Paula Abdul having recorded and released.
The problem with Emotion is that there’s not a lot of variation. It’s 12 songs that are all kind of similar (even more if you have all the deluxe tracks). And if you’re not a fan of the style of music, you’re going to hate the record because it’s all kind of the same.
From my perspective, Emotion is a fun, super catchy pop record. It’s a lot of love songs from all sorts of perspectives and angles. It feels more retro than 1989 and it’s definitely more fun! Sometimes you just need a good pop record to put on and dance to! 4.5 out 5 Stars.