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CARLY RAE JEPSEN
Dedicated
(Interscope Records)

THE GREATEST VIRTUE of Carly Rae Jepsen has always been her understanding that sometimes, if the wheel works well enough, there’s no need to reinvent it. Her last album, E*MO*TION, was a slick and just-left-of-center record that managed to pull off the hat trick of seeming cool enough for music writers, but accessible to casual listeners. Dedicated, her latest release, doesn’t stray too far from the formula of one-part schmaltz, one-part iron-clad songcraft, and one-part winking sheen that made Jepsen successful in the first place. But its wider sonic palette and the surprising sense of ambivalence throughout add a layer of heretofore unseen richness. “Now That I Found You” is a shiny, triumphant exclamation of love, but songs like “Too Much” and “Party For One” deal with the more common experiences of self-doubt and nights at home when nobody seems to want you. There are moments on Dedicated when listeners will find themselves missing the super-sweet hooks of her earlier work. Ultimately, however, Jepsen’s bubblegum surface has cracked to reveal something much more interesting than a pop star: a person. (5/5)

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By Sam Chapman

Dedicated was released May 17, 2019. This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

 

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