Plus One: Carly Rae Jepsen
Why have a Top 10 when you can have one more? Here are our 11 favourite Carly Rae Jepsen songs, ranked
Carly Rae Jepsen could have shared the fate of many a failed TV talent show contestant and disappeared into the ether after she came third in Canadian Idol in 2007. Instead, she transformed into a multi-platinum, award-winning international star with a sweeping grasp of pop that manages to appeal to teenage girls to middle-aged blokes, and everyone in between — all while keeping her bangs intact.
With the release of her sixth studio album The Loneliest Time around the corner, which she’ll play in Dublin’s 3Olympia Theatre this February, here we rank our favourite 11 CRJ songs.
11. Tug Of War
The title track from her debut album following Canadian Idol the year previous, ‘Tug Of War’ is a real heart-warming acoustic ballad that soon gets a little zhush from a Scissor Sisters-esque piano groove flair. By the second half all of the song’s layers that have been slowly building come together quite beautifully.
10. Western Wind
The lead single from her sixth album The Loneliest Time, ‘Western Wind’ was quite an understated but endearing way to tease a new chapter from a star known for big and colour pop bursts. Produced by Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, a trip-hop beat underscores this breezy, deceivingly moving West Coast love letter.
9. Gimme Love
Simplicity is key when it comes to writing a pop banger, as Jepsen knows all too well. Her desires are always clear and to the point, not least on ‘Gimme Love’, a repeated demand intoxicated with a piercing desperation. Deep, dark bubbling synths follow her like a shadow, making the spotlight of her soaring voice even brighter.
8. First Time
Though we all know they secretly liked her before, the second part of Emotion was the release where the indie muso types felt like they could publicly get on board with Jepsen. Dripping in neon 80s tropes with its bouncy synths drum machine pops and snaps, ‘First Time’ is a perfect example of why.
Another from the Emotion B-sides, ‘Cry’ is at complete odds with the vibrant joy of ‘First Time’ with its dark, pulsating moodiness. It’s utterly moreish as it leads to Jepsen’s final empowered chorus. The staccato synth-work is very reminiscent of Kavinsky on the Drive soundtrack.
6. I Really Like You
As we said, Jepsen wears her heart on her sleeve. This hit remains one of Jepsen’s all-timers, with it’s spiralling vocal line reflecting the dizzying infatuation she quite clearly feels. It’s euphoric pop as it gets, and if you’re still not a fan then it’s worth remembering the video features Tom Hanks mouthing the words.
5. Move Me
This collab with French artist Lewis OfMan shouldn’t go under the radar. Jepsen found Lewis’ music over lockdown and fell in love, finally finding a way to work together. The result is this electro-pop beauty, the duo’s vocals locking together like the eyes at the party they sing of. It’s the tone and tempo of that piano line that sets everything off, the two vocals bouncing in and out of falsetto in this dreamy, bittersweet bouncy castle.
4. Cut To The Feeling
Another irrefutable addition to the Carly Rae canon. Initially written for Emotion, it didn’t quite fit the overall aesthetic and instead found its home on the soundtrack on the animated film Ballerina. But really this power-pop anthem stands on its own two feet, and empowering call-to-arms in which Jepsen’s voice does exactly what’s promised from the title.
3. Run Away With Me
The klaxon-like sax at the beginning of ‘Run Away With Me’ is so recognisable it became the stuff of memes. It’s dramatic, to say the least, but heralds in what is one of Jepsen’s finest songs, a call-to-arms of escapism that balances atmospheric and lightly ticking verses with explosive choruses where the singer finds the place she can “Turn the world to gold”.
2. Boy Problems
Bubblegum pop meets the 80s in all its slap-bass glory in this empowering take on a break- up song. “I think I broke up with my boyfriend today/ And I don’t really care/ I’ve got worse problems,” she sings with sweet sassiness. If you’re suffering from a broken heart at the hands of some schmuck, do yourself a favour and stick this one.
1. Call Me Maybe
Look, as we’ve found out running this feature, sometimes it’s fun to be contrarian. But sometimes a song like this hypnotises you and acts of its own accord. I tried putting it lower down the list, I really did, but this viral, sickly-sweet number threw its flirty eyes at me and is just going nowhere. It’s the song that changed Jepsen’s life, and probably doesn’t need describing any more. Just press play one more time, you know it makes sense, yes, that’s it, just… one more time. Maybe.
Want to hear the Top 11 in a full playlist? Here’s a link to our Spotify playlist...