Review Summary: Kiss just feels awkward and safe, even for teen pop.
To be honest, I don't even remember reviewing (and giving a surprisingly high rating for) the EP that Carly Rae Jepsen released earlier this year. However, I still cannot and will not deny the fact that “Call Me Maybe” is a really solid teen pop song. I get it, it's been parodied to death and it's one of the three songs that the radio just plays over and over and over again, but to quote one of the users that commented on my review, “get really drunk and 3 AM and tell me 'Call Me Maybe' isn't catchy.”
What really made “Call Me Maybe” so awesome was the fact that the song was literally the biggest breath of fresh air in a world of electronic production. I might even go as far as to say that no other pop song in the past two years has used strings as creatively as producer Josh Ramsay did. The real question was, could she carry the success of “Call Me Maybe” over a whole album?
Come September (and the release of Kiss), and you can see that the answer to that question is no. Except for “Call Me Maybe,” about every single one of these songs is an electronic mess. The main reason for this mess is that Jepsen's voice just doesn't fit with any of these songs. She has a thin, saccharine voice that drowns in the formulaic production, and it just feels out of place. Take, for example, the Max Martin produced “Tonight I'm Getting Over You.” The electronic whirring in the chorus just feels out of place, and although Jepsen tries her hardest to bring the power that is needed to carry a song like this, she just doesn't have the pipes to do it.
As another example of the odd production is “Curiosity.” As the other track from the EP that made it on to the album, the track is whirred and remixed to include a stereotypical buildup and quasi-bass drop, and Jepsen herself sounds alienated.
Perhaps the greatest weakness in the album, though, are the lyrics. If the title of “Heart Is A Muscle” was any indication of the pure cheese that is on this album, the song also contains the line “If I could turn this plane around / I'd fly to where you are right now / Write your name into the sky / Hope that it'll light up your eyes.” On “Beautiful,” featured guest Justin Bieber sings “What makes you so beautiful is you don't know how beautiful you are to me.” The lyrics are strangely worded, and they have an uncanny resemblance to “What Makes You Beautiful.”
It feels as if Jepsen opted for the easy way out by compiling the trends from this year and putting them onto one album, instead of actually drawing inspiration from “Call Me Maybe” to create more interesting, original tracks. While it will probably be serviceable for the charts/audience and gain Jepsen another couple of hits under her belt, there's nothing here that's as remarkable as it could be. Overall, Kiss just feels awkward and safe, even for teen pop.