Let's Talk About Carly Rae Jepsen

Friends, it’s time we talked. For weeks I have been hearing people ask: what is the song of the summer? Is it “Despacito?” Is it “Bad Liar?” I am utterly confused, dear friends, to hear people idly speculate as though the answer were not obvious, as though our Lord and Savior, reigning Pop Princess from the noble land of Canada, Carly Rae Jepsen, did not graciously bestow the Song of the Summer upon us MONTHS AGO. I have held my tongue too long! As CRJ herself would say: “let’s get real, baby.”

Friends, I have no beef with “Despacito,” and I take no offense to “Bad Liar.” Both are jams in their own right, and I have listened to them both with true glee more than once in the past months. But it is time we gave “Cut to the Feeling” its due. After the early hubbub on Twitter died down, I saw precious little attention being given to the newest single from Queen Carly. THIS MUST BE CORRECTED. Those who know me personally will know that I have been a Jepsen enthusiast for many a year. In the summer of 2013, I listened to the album “Kiss” approximately 79 times and I regret only that I did not blast it more often. Her magnum opus, “E•MO•TION,” was if anything more perfect and transcendent and yet still, Carly Rae could not get her due. But when I heard “Cut to the Feeling” I thought surely, surely this time the people will rally behind her. Friends, “Cut to the Feeling” is soaring. It is anthemic. It is pure and it is perfect and it rings eternal in my very bones. I have listened to it approximately 475 times and I refuse to stop. It is time we all got it together and LET CARLY RAE TAKE US HIGHER, and that’s all I have to say on the matter.

CRJ I love you and I cherish you and I pledge my heart to you forever.


Harry Styles - the debut album

Harry Styles’s self-titled debut album is a radical departure from his bubblegum pop origins, showcasing a more mature and adult sound. It won’t, perhaps, be to the taste of all his fans, but there’s a lot to love about it.

The album draws on some clearly apparent influences; some songs feel almost like pastiche – to David Bowie, to The Rolling Stones, to Paul Simon. But it also feels like an artist coming into his own. Despite leaning on his musical influences and idols, it sounds deeply real and deeply felt.

The album is most unique and most powerful in its naked vulnerability, from the cover art (Styles’s back framed by opaque pink bathwater) to the lyrics on songs like “From the Dining Table” (“woke up alone in this hotel room/ played with myself, where were you?/ fell back to sleep, I got drunk by noon…”). With the exception of a few confident, rock inspired respites, the album is driven by a profound sense of loneliness and longing. It is astonishingly, wonderfully, non-aggressive. The songs seem to loosely follow a line from the beginning to the end of a relationship. This narrative through line, and the variety of musical styles that Styles draws on, make this album truly function as a cohesive album, not merely a collection of songs all on the same disc. I found it easy to listen to it all the way through (about seven times so far).

As tender and emotional as the ballads are, the few upbeat tracks are supremely groove-able, even if you’re listening to them for the first time (as I did) sitting in traffic at 6:45 in the morning. Starting with “Carolina,” a retro-y jam about a girl Styles is into, the songs all extol the ineffability of some indescribable woman. One of them, “Kiwi,” also features my favorite lyric on the whole album: “When she's alone, she goes home to a cactus/ in a black dress, she's such such an actress.” This is a perfect lyric. Is “cactus” a derogatory term for this girl’s boyfriend? Does she just really love succulents? It doesn’t matter, I love it either way.

In conclusion, god bless Harry Styles, god bless this album, and god bless those opaque pink bath pics.