Carly Rae Jepsen
Kiss


3.0
good

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
January 1st, 2013 | 19 replies | 2,993 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Teen pop is as teen pop does.

I’m sorely tempted to begin this review with an “Ah, Carly Rae Jepsen.” Although I know that’s not good writing and will most certainly cause many intending to read this to skip directly to the comment section to complain about said beginning, Jepsen is one of those artists who almost warrants such a start. After all, she resides in such infamy as one of those incredibly controversial artists in both casual listening and reviewing circles that one would almost expect someone to begin a review like so, much like somebody reviewing a Linkin Park or Green Day album. The Canadian Idol finalist made huge waves when her singles “Call Me Maybe” and “Good Time” spread like the common cold over radio stations worldwide, but of course anyone reading this probably already knows this, thus basically obviating an intro paragraph and leaving me to awkwardly try and fill up space for the next few lines. What most people overlook, though, is that before “Call Me Maybe” was bludgeoned to death with a crowbar, it was one of the most solid bubblegum pop songs in recent memory. Of course, it’s simple and safe, but isn’t all teen pop? And for however simple and safe it was, it was ridiculously catchy and infectious - and it actually took a few listens to get annoying, which in other words means it succeeded where almost no radio-pop ever does anymore.

All Kiss really is, then, is a logical extension of “Call Me Maybe.” A rating of three is the rating which fits this album best simply by virtue of how damn middle-of-the-road it is. Correspondingly, one of the most frustrating things about the album is that it takes no risks whatsoever. When the most ambitious part of an release is titling a song “Guitar String / Wedding Ring,” it’s clear the artist and her marketing team are playing things incredibly safe to ensure maximal success. The lack of risk-taking isn’t a novel idea, either - many radio-pop albums do exactly the same thing. You can argue Teenage Dream did the same thing, you can argue My World 2.0 and to a certain extent Believe were extremely safe, you can argue all of Owl City’s latest releases “played it safe” to an unhealthy extent. While these name-drops almost universally elicit groans and moans among anybody over the age of 20 (and anybody with a Y chromosome under that age), Kiss is surprisingly far better than those artists mentioned above. Sure, the songs are all simple and safe, “Call Me Maybe” times 12 - poppy, bubblegummy synths abound, as do “whoa-oh” and “ooh-ooh” sections, and every song save for two has a simple four-on-the-floor pop house beat. It’s almost expected that the album as a whole would be dreary, factory-made, and boring.

And yet, just like “Call Me Maybe,” the rest of the album succeeds by being catchy, fun, and upbeat. The first four tracks here are some of the strongest on any teen-pop offering since Maybe I’m Dreaming, and they help the album as a whole quite a bit. “This Kiss” and “Curiosity” are exactly like one might expect them to be, but they actually succeed given a reasonable set of expectations. They’re both so damn happy and hopeful that it’s nigh-impossible to not give in to the urge to tap your foot along with them, and they’re both basically as close to teen-pop nirvana as anyone will feasibly get given today’s low standards. Though the two collaborations are (unsurprisingly) the two worst tracks, they’re fortunately separated by more expectedly poppy but unexpectedly solid songs. “Hurt So Good,” one such tune, succeeds where the first four tracks far exceeded expectations, since it’s basically a retooling of the same ideas that worked earlier (as if we expected anything different). On “Your Heart Is A Muscle,” the obligatory ballad closing out the album, Jepsen shows off her voice, and it’s nice to see that in a pop world full of autotuning, she has a shockingly versatile voice. The strength of that voice is one of the things that carries the release, and the teen pop succeeds in part thanks to the fact that the vocals aren’t Katy Perry’s autotuned warbling or Adam Young’s obnoxious whining.

In the end, Kiss is exactly what we expected it to be - yet it’s also just that much more. Of course, it’s difficult to shake the feeling that it was factory-manufactured specifically for exactly what makes it so attractive (a feeling that does have some logical grounding), but it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that this is one of the most solid teen pop and radio pop releases we’ve seen in the past few years, and it’s unfortunate that the heavy overplaying of “Call Me Maybe” has tainted that achievement. It’s not revolutionary, no, but it’s not supposed to be. What it’s supposed to be is a fun, catchy, upbeat, and infectious teen pop album - and in that respect it’s exactly what we wanted.



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user ratings (77)
Chart.
2.7
average
other reviews of this album
Dashnavar (2)
Kiss just feels awkward and safe, even for teen pop....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



3339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This Kiss: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf78alvpxRM

Hurt So Good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAB1TQY8ipM

Obligatory "Time to kiss my approval rating goodbye" comment goes here. Also HAPPY NEW YEAR 'MURICA FUCK YEAH

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



30873 Comments



I’m sorely tempted to begin this review with an “Ah, Carly Rae Jepsen.”


You just did

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



3339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

More like this guy: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/51189/Linkin-Park-Living-Things/

Ya know what I'm trying to get at though.

taylormemer
January 1st 2013



4913 Comments


"After all, she resides in such infamy as one of those incredibly controversial artists in both casual listening and reviewing circles that one would almost expect someone to begin a review like so"

INFAMY! Holy shit, I didn't realise this girl was a badass.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



3339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Again, ya know what I mean. Not like Marilyn Manson infamous, but like Bieber infamous.

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



9652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha, you guys are so sarcastic

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



3339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yup, but I'll take it as it's the only attention my review's gotten so far. I would have at least hoped for someone to make some sort of snarky "crj suks" comment already, but apparently that's too much to ask for.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



3339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Also Brendan what the hell happened to your comments?

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



4380 Comments


I'm ashamed to admit this, but I know almost all the words to "Call Me Maybe". It started out as an annoying song that seem to follow me everywhere I went, but now I willingly looking it up on youtube just to hear it. I've yet to hear her album, and besides that one song, I'm not all that interested in it.

Anyway, good review, man.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2013



3339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the kind words! And if you like "Call Me Maybe" at all check out "This Kiss" because it's slightly better and probably the best off the album.

Douglas
January 1st 2013



9056 Comments


The parodies are the best things to come out of call me maybe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRVPyw_BorY

and Carly's reaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMxKJq11Xc

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2013



3331 Comments


I have a soft spot for her, she's so cute. I listened to her first album because someone reviewed it a few days ago. It's a sweet record. I have to check this out too. Great review man, people usually diss these records without even listening to them from start to finish.

Digging: Karma To Burn - Arch Stanton

SlMBOLlC
January 2nd 2013



4831 Comments


hey guys have you heard call me maybe? its off this album, its really good

Rastapunk
January 2nd 2013



716 Comments


Good review but I just can't stand her music. She's pretty though! Have a pos for your review!

BigPleb
January 2nd 2013



34000 Comments


What blows my mind is the fact that her debut has a 3.7 avg

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
January 2nd 2013



7970 Comments


Andcas, everyone younger than 30 is approaching it

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
January 2nd 2013



7970 Comments


why does that matter

BigPleb
January 3rd 2013



34000 Comments


She looks damn hot on the Tug of War cover

ASnideReturns
May 3rd 2014



3299 Comments


HEY
I JUST MET YOU
AND THIS IS CRAZY
BUT I MISS ANDCAS
SO CALL HIM MAYBE



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