Review Summary: Before she was our call girl. She was a musician. "Tug of War" is an explosive cocktail of indie/pop/R&B/country that is as beautiful as it is an ear hook.
Unfortunately change is inevitable sometimes. Very often in the music industry one must change to venture on what is going to bring more success rather than doing what they desire to do. Carly Rae Jepsen released her international breakthrough album Kiss in mid-2012. The album featured the hit of the year with "Call Me Maybe" and the summer jam "Good Time (ft. Owl City)". I picked up the album myself out of my own curiosity. After listening in full I couldn't help but think that the effort was spotty at best. However I did pick up from the release that it is very apparent she is a talented artist. So, again out of my own bewildering curiosity, I then went on to pick up her debut release "Tug Of War." What many people do not know about Carly Rae, was that she finished 3rd on the Canadian reality show "Canadian Idol" in 2007. After her success on the show she was signed to a small record deal and released a full length release in 2008 showcasing her taste for tasteful pop rock. Contrary to her most recent release the album is filled with varied instrumentation, contemporary rhythm sections, great lyrics and a lingering sense of maturity different from her release 4 years later. The album is a pure delight.
The album starts out with the strongly R&B influenced ""Bucket" which is a fanastic listen. The song is laced with an island style beat that makes you take full notice of what you are listening to. The lyrics in this song are much more carefree than other tracks on the album, however listening to this track you cannot help but have a grin provoked. The following track is the titular track "Tug of War." The track is a pop song filled with an indie presence. This entry is the strongest which is about a young woman struggling to trust her potential mate. Which really makes you wonder where this mature side of Carly has gone. "Don't go out with the boys tonight, I won't sleep a wink, wonderin' what you're doin'. Don't go out with the girls tonight, I will turn to drink, wonderin' who you're screwin'" This track really showcases how great the release is going to be, because from there it stays consistent throughout. The next tracks "Money and the Ego" and "Tell Me" stays on the same side of the dime with a very catchy, and a very lovable indie hook. You notice during the first four tracks that her vocals leave nothing to be desired, and your ears are hooked to this catchy indie pop style.
Different styles are touched upon as well. "Sweet Talker" delves into an experimental brand of slow jazz. This is her strongest vocal performance on the LP with her showcasing her wide vocal range with a nice contemporary jazz beat. "Heavy Lifting" is a strong country pop track with a nice organ line throughout all the verses of the song. The song sounds like something Taylor Swift would look at in awe.
The album has hardly any shortcomings. The only thing that can be pointed out is that every track seems to not take any chances. You would like to see her maybe experiment with more instruments and with different styles. However if it isn't broke there is no reason to fix it, right?
Before she was our call girl. She was a musician. Her debut release "Tug of War" is an explosive cocktail of indie/pop/R&B/country that is as beautiful as it is a pure ear hook. I can not remember the last time I listened to something with this much joy, and this much awe. It's a shame that we had to lose it all. The important thing to remember though is that talent doesn't disappear. Maybe we can expect more brilliance from Carly Rae Jepsen in the future.