Carly Rae Jepsen Goes From The Loneliest Time, To The Loveliest Time

Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest album, “The Loveliest Time,” marks the third installment in her compelling “Side B” series, forging a captivating dialogue with its more subdued predecessor, “The Loneliest Time.” In the earlier album, tracks like “Far Away,” “Bends,” and “Go Find Yourself or Whatever” exude a melancholic and hesitant ambiance, adding a poignant depth to the prolific singer-songwriter’s repertoire. As its title suggests, “The Loveliest Time” serves as a joyful and vibrant counterpoint, delivering a delightful and thematic contrast to its predecessor.

Jepsen’s artistic prowess lies in her ability to craft direct and genuine pop music without sacrificing complexity. She fearlessly dismisses the notion that art must delve into darkness or intricacy to be expressive, and instead embraces vulnerability, wearing her heart on her sleeve with an unapologetically uncool charm. Her breathy soprano, as showcased in the ethereal standout track “Kollage,” immerses listeners in an intimate experience, creating a profound sense of connection. Though not always autobiographical, Jepsen’s songs exude a personal touch, evoking emotions that resonate deeply.

While “The Loveliest Time” is not as cohesive as its predecessor, “Dedicated Side B” from 2020, it boasts an eclectic array of influences, ranging from reggae with the offbeat “Anything to Be with You” to disco in the lead single “Shy Boy.” The latter cleverly samples the infectious bass and keyboards from Midnight Star’s 1986 R&B hit “Midas Touch,” while “Psychedelic Switch” melds filter disco with a touch of prog rock. Another standout, “Stadium Love,” draws inspiration from 1980s hair metal, complete with a scintillating electric guitar solo.

Certain tracks, like “So Right” and “Come Over,” gracefully embrace the disco revival trend without introducing anything groundbreaking. The album truly shines in its exploration of unexpected tonal and structural elements, as seen in the glitched-out and mesmerizing closing track, “Weekend Love,” and the artful fusion of subtle drum ‘n’ bass and futuristic R&B in “After Last Night.”

Carly Rae Jepsen’s “The Loveliest Time” stands as a testament to her ability to weave sonic narratives that simultaneously captivate and resonate with audiences. The album’s willingness to venture into uncharted territories while retaining Jepsen’s signature charm makes it an intriguing and satisfying addition to her remarkable discography.

Looking back, it becomes evident that last fall’s “The Loneliest Time” served as a transitional album, albeit with an introspective mood that at times felt somewhat empty. Throughout her career, Carly Rae Jepsen has yet to replicate the flawless cohesiveness of her 2015 masterpiece, “Emotion,” but the beauty of her B-sides concept lies in the freedom it grants her to explore within a lower-stakes framework. Albums like “The Loveliest Time” are intentionally fragmentary, designed to fill in the gaps of her discography, and in this regard, it proves to be a resounding triumph.