Review Summary: Curiosity is good teaser for Jepsen's full-length release, with tracks that show some potential for artistic growth.
After placing 3rd on the fifth season of Canadian Idol in 2007, Carly Rae Jepsen followed in the path of other Idol alumni, releasing an album, and then... disappearing. Considering this, it's surprising to see her in the place she is now. Carly Rae Jepsen hit #1 on the Canadian Hot 100, making her the third Canadian to ever do so. Furthermore, she was the opener for Hanson in Canada, and she got signed to Scooter Braun's record label. Looking at all this success, Curiosity, her new EP, should have been more. The lyrics are okay at best, and the production is rather generic. However, the stronger tracks on the album back up Jepsen's pop potential and is only a glimpse at what could be on her full-length sophomore, slated for a late-2012 release, proving that Jepsen merits the benefit of the doubt.
Curiosity, appropriately named, sees Carly Rae Jepsen take on the role of of a naive teenage girl through fluffy pop songs. Saying this probably won't attract anyone that is of legal age, but it's serviceable for the people that care. However, because of the demographic being targeted on Curiosity, the lyrics are constantly corny. Sometimes the lyrics are forgivable because of brilliant production and Jepsen's versatile voice, but often, the tracks lack these two factors.
An instance in which the song works is in the Ramsay-produced lead single, “Call Me Maybe.” The hilarious chorus states: “Hey, I just met you/and this is crazy/but here's my number/so call me maybe.” Albeit the lyrics, the song is one of the strongest ones on the album. The pulsating beat and the uplifting string arrangements make the lyrics seem like the lyrics were purposely put there to enhance Jepsen's sense of humour and her sparkling personality. Her vocals enhance the earnest sound of the track, and thus the track becomes fresh, light, and energetic.
“Talk To Me” is also guilty of generic lyrics (Well I'm in of you're in/Let's make a big mistake), but Jepsen's voice has an interesting, Pixie Lott-like twang, and the pulsating beat and the 80's bass line make the track sound fresher than it actually is. “Both Sides Now” also follows the bad lyrics, good voice/production formula.
Jepsen gets lost when she is stripped down, as seen in “Just A Step Away.” The arpeggiated guitar background is boring, and she tries to reach far beyond her vocal capabilities, making the track a slight earsore. “Curiosity” draws from the key-modulating filler concept from Beyonce's “Love On Top,” but she can barely hit the notes.
The good thing about Carly Rae Jepsen's music (for the most part) is that it's not electronic euro-trash, but it's not a pile of boring, acoustic arrangements. The combination of orchestration with fun beats could be the niche that she could develop into as an artist, and she has plenty of time to improve. Canadian artists are prone to testing the waters of the music industry before going in the artistic direction towards which they want to go. They garner popular attention before showing artistic growth on their sophomore release. For example, Light's “The Listening” was extremely poor. Her voice sounded nasally and the whiny, high-pitched electronic effects didn't help her cause, but on Siberia, the dubstep influences helped Lights overcome her weakness. Think of Jepsen as Light's “little sister,” there's room for growth here, and Curiosity shows that.