Six albums in and almost exactly 10 years since the release of her commercial breakout with Kiss, Carly Rae Jepsen’s status as a pop music cult figure is still going strong. But when you have albums like 2015’s E•MO•TION, which appeared on countless year-end lists and played a big part in today’s 80s-pop revival, to live up to, Jepsen seemingly finds more artistic merit in following her heart wherever it takes her than trying to capture the same magic with diminishing returns.
The Loneliest Time, with acoustic balladry, full-blown disco, borderline hyperpop and chilled-out beachside anthems mixed into her typical synth-laden pop anthems, is Jepsen’s least cohesive project yet, but it’s all the more fun for it – we don’t typically hear so much of her personality mixed into the kind of pristine pop templates that could only come from a true student of the game. Whether it’s the tongue-in-cheek trepidation towards sketchy guys on “Beach House” or a shimmering disco duet with fellow Canadian-born, folk music-raised, musical theatre-turned-queer-pop icon Rufus Wainwright, Jepsen’s vocals always shine over an increased dose of funk and syncopation.
As anyone who has looked past the sparkly surface level of her work knows, The Loneliest Time is a truly fitting title to add to her discography – even as Jepsen has been mixing in a couple more tracks revelling in full-blown romance lately, there’s always a flair for the melodramatic mixed in, whether she’s painstakingly longing for the kind of euphoria she sings about or praying desperately that it’ll never end once she’s found it. Once again, for anyone looking to feel something, Jepsen has delivered one of the most impressive collections of pop tracks you’ll hear this year.