Carly Rae Jepsen just unleashed eight new contenders for song of the summer, sliding in right before the buzzer sounds with a new slate of B-sides from her critically acclaimed (if woefully underperforming) 2015 album, Emotion.
The bouncy, flirty Emotion Side B, released on August 26, is presumably built from the 200(!) tracks she originally chose from when compiling Emotion. She must’ve had a hard time narrowing them down, because all eight songs are just as strong as the ones that made it onto the original album.
Most importantly, though, Emotion Side B confirms what we already knew from Emotion: No one’s making bubblegum pop quite like Jepsen right now.
Every song pulses with '80s-style synth, full of electric beats bobbing in time with Jepsen’s practiced wisp of a voice (which, if you’ve seen her live, you know is surprisingly powerful).
The opening track, "First Time," playfully twists expectations, with Jepsen singing a devastating line — "Every time my heart breaks / it feels like the first time" — as a relentlessly upbeat chorus.
"Fever," which she’s already been performing on her latest tour, swells into a triumphant verse that might as well be the soundtrack for every climax of an '80s teen movie.
Meanwhile, the cheeky interlude "Store" — which is actually, for real, about "just going to the store" after a relationship fizzles — feels like the Canadian pop star’s bid to become a real life version of Robin Sparkles, How I Met Your Mother’s parody of '90s pop stars.
(For the record: I support this goal a thousand percent.)
But just as with Emotion, trying to pick highlights is harder than it should be; there are no weak links to speak of here. It doesn’t even matter when the lyrics don’t quite make sense, like the verse for "Roses," which repeats "a simple change of seasons and you’re back / all the roses in the garden fade to black," like that means anything at all. Who cares, when you’re already dancing?
It’s hard to find someone who makes more straightforwardly fun pop than Jepsen when she's at her best — and with Emotion Side B, there’s no doubt she is.