Last year singer Carly Rae Jepsen surprised critics when she released her well received 3rd album E•MO•TION. Thanks to an exceptionally executed vocal performance from Jepsen and irresistably catchy production, the record was included on numerous critics and publication’s year-end lists and effectively rid the Canadian pop singer of the ‘one-hit wonder’ label she had been carrying around since her 2012 worldwide smash “Call Me Maybe.” After hinting earlier this year that she might release a few tracks that didn’t make E•MO•TION, she came through and released E•MO•TION: Side B, which contains all the sleek, sugary pop from the official version, but with an ’80s twist.
Even though these songs didn’t make the actual album, that absolutely doesn’t mean they’re not up to snuff. Think of Side B as a continuation of sorts to the album; E•MO•TION 2.0 if you will. The differences are subtle, however there’s one quality that sticks out more on Side B, and that’s the ’80s-influenced tracks littered throughout. Opening track “First Time,” which was first heard on the Japan-only E•MO•TION REMIXED +, has Jepsen channeling her inner Cyndi Lauper, delivering a trumpet-laden dance-pop anthem. “Body Language” keeps the party going, relaying the old adage that actions speak louder than words with catchy synths and sing-along fervor.
Speaking of sing-along, the hooks on Side B are massive, which is always the tell-tale sign of a good pop project. Jepsen sounds perfect on every chorus, especially on 3rd track “The One,” where her voice goes from soft and casual before building up to the powerful, bouncy yearning for her man’s company. “Higher” is a synth-R&B cut dedicated to her significant other. “You take me higher than the rest,” she confesses on the hook. “Oh, everybody else is second best.” “Store” is a nifty little song that has Jepsen ‘going to the store,’ which is a metaphor for leaving the relationship. “I’m not that good at goodbyes/Sometimes it’s best to just fly,” she sings before casually going off.
If E•MO•TION cemented Jepsen’s place among pop’s elite, than Side B confirmed she’s not going anywhere. Sure, “Call Me Maybe” will always be her career-defining hit, but she’s making sure that it isn’t the only thing she’s hanging her hat on. Forget about just comparing her to pop megastars Taylor Swift and Rihanna, etc. Perhaps it’s time we consider the fact that she might actually be better.