In an era where albums often become secondary to catchy, earworm singles, Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion is a polished, cohesive collection of songs that, though heavily influenced by the 1980s, feel right at home in 2015. The singer successfully gives fans an album that feels connected from start to finish, but is peppered with songs that remain strong when standing by themselves. Give the album a solid listen and you'll notice there's an undercurrent of adventure in many of the songs. In tracks such as "Making The Most Of The Night" and "Run Away With Me," the 29-year-old elevates the cinematic quality of the music, placing them in a nighttime setting where anything feels possible. Is there one night that served as the inspiration behind them? "More like many nights," Jepsen says via email. "I think a lot of songs on the album are about capturing a feeling more so than about one specific day."
Slightly more unexpected is the subtle gritty quality found in the song "Warm Blood." It turns out that the origin of the song — and it's subsequent dark imagery — were a happy accident.
"When I first met Rostam [Batmanglij] from Vampire Weekend, we began by just sort of trying things, singing ideas out loud," Jepsen says. "For some reason, I recalled a little hook from a collaboration with some Canadian fellows way back when. I sang it 'warm love feels good' but he misheard me and thought that I said 'warm blood feels good.' We both got sort of attached to the creepiness of that. It was romantic and dark all at once and I think Rostam did a fantastic job of matching the production to fit the mood of that initial inspiration."
While '80s music is a clear influence on Emotion, I was curious to learn if the movies from that decade inspired Jepsen at all. Particularly the movies of her "I Really Like You" music video co-star, Tom Hanks.
"I love Tom Hanks as an actor. I think that he’s one of the best and having him be a part of the song was an extreme honor, but I can’t honestly say that I was thinking about music in connection with him," Jepsen says. "All of that came as a beautiful surprise near the end of it."
Considering the name of the album, it's a given that the songs are packed with emotion. It carries through in Jepsen's voice and, in some cases, she thinks back to writing the tracks when she performs them. Other times, it's all about constructing a new memory.
"Sometimes, yes, [I think about the inspiration]. For example I can’t sing 'Favorite Color' without remembering who I wrote it for and why," she says. "Other times I’m just celebrating with the audience, vibing off the room and that new moment we’re creating together."
Even if you don't consider yourself a Jepsen fan, I highly suggest giving her a chance and taking a listen to Emotion, which is available now.