I never thought Carly Rae Jepsen could top the brilliance of Emotion, but somehow she does with Dedicated. She kicks it off right with “Julien,” a lustful and fun track about pining for someone you love. Oh and it’s quite catchy, but you can say that about pretty much every track on this album. I also enjoy the buildup of the synth in the bridge into the final part of the song, as it gives it that swelling effect that really punches the song home.
“No Drug Like Me” elevates itself above other songs about comparing love to drugs with its electronic influenced production and the emotion which Jepsen delivers it in. “Now That I Found You” is one of my favorite songs ever from Jepsen. The chorus is instantly catchy and maybe one of the most lip syncable songs I’ve heard in recent memory. And it’s just flat out a blast, as it’s impossible to not want to move to it as you’re listening. And then Jepsen follows this with an even better song in “Want You in My Room.” It’s the most overtly sexual song Jepsen has done, where she describes all the places she wants to have sex in her house. The Daft Punk-esque vocoders in the chorus are the perfect finishing touch along with the intertwining horns to cap it off. You cannot craft a better pop song than this, as it can hold its weight against any of the best pop songs.
“Everything He Needs” is a plea of assurance that the person you love needs you as much as you need them. It almost borderlines on obsessive, as Jepsen exudes all the ways he satisfies her in the bridge, with her voice getting creepier with each detail. But it fits perfectly with the theme of the album and the bouncy sound makes this song blow by (in a good way, of course).
“Happy Not Knowing” perfectly describes that feeling we’ve all felt when we pine for someone and imagine being with them, but you haven’t had the guts to tell them yet and you’re fine with it because you’re enjoying the excitement of the anticipation. It’s a testament to Jepsen’s songwriting ability to be able to capture such a complicated feeling so well. “I’ll Be Your Girl” makes you want to tear up the dance floor and bust out your best moves. The frenetic urgency of the song is so infectious and wraps itself right around you. And of course it wouldn’t be a Jepsen album without some timely saxophones that leave you wanting more.
Once again Jepsen does a great job of capturing a feeling on “Too Much.” This time she accurately describes the feeling of rushing thoughts and being overwhelmed with overthinking. In an album full of bangers this song is a nice cool down that allows for some introspection and builds on the overarching theme of the album. “The Sound” is my least favorite on the album, as it feels like it never reaches a crescendo moment. But it’s still a really enjoyable song, which speaks to the incredible strength of this album.
Just like “Want You in My Room”, “Automatically in Love” utilizes it’s electronic driven sound perfectly and gives a punch to every syllable uttered. The chorus especially pops over this sound and the smooth vocal delivery from Jepsen. “Feels Right” is a great blend of drums, piano, horns and claps and is perhaps the most underrated production moment on the album.
“Right Words Wrong Time” is another all-time best song from Carly Rae Jepsen. The mid-tempo sound that slowly builds, along with the exasperated delivery from Jepsen combine to make one of the most satisfying peaks you’ll ever hear in a song. Maybe it’s just me, but I just love how the song closes with a greater intensity. The final track “Real Love” sees Jepsen putting aside all of the sides of love explored on the album and comes to the sobering conclusion that she just wants real love after chasing it for so long. It’s a moment of honesty and clarity, with the album ending in Jepsen appropriately quietly crying out for love.
Carly Rae Jepsen further proves with Dedicated that she just gets pop music: the over-the-top production, the overwhelming emotions, the catchy hooks, exciting themes and everything in-between. While hyperbole is rampant throughout this review, I can seriously tell you that Dedicated may just be one of the albums of this past decade for me.