Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Carly Rae Jepsen – Run Away with Me

Before we run away, we get carried away…


Sophia Clara: This is my favorite song of the whole entire summer so far. It is huge and trembling and exuberant and I missed Carly Rae, I missed her so much. The verse builds and builds and you can’t help but smile and then the chorus is a winner, rocketing out of nowhere: BABY! TAKE ME! TO THE! FEELING! I don’t know what the feeling is but it doesn’t matter, the song is a lush spinning whirlwind. I have already been taken to the feeling.  This song is absurd and confectionary and I don’t care, I don’t care. It’s like confetti thrown and spinning around in circles until you get dizzy. I’ll be your sinner in secret, she sings, but it is the kind of secret that involves absolutely no shame, sinner with a huge grin on her face, probably kissing someone up against a street-lamp. It is made of magic and, possibly, kittens. We are so lucky to have it.

Mo Kim: Like a Crayola whittled down to a fine point, Carly Rae Jepsen paints infatuation first in broad strokes, then in minute details. Desire can be either a saxophone crashing through a china shop or the lingering scent of a boy you’re trying to scrub out of your skin, “stuck on my body,” yes, but first “stuck in my head, stuck in my heart.” (There’s a measured gap between all of these phrases, like Jepsen knows only how to breathe between gushes.) A feeling can be a place for somebody to take you, just as a place can evoke a feeling: lips tower over sidewalks, light the winding path back to a time when love was as easy to pick up as the coins glimmering in the gutter. There’s the promise of the bridge, one weekend all it takes to turn a world to gold, and I can’t help but think of my 11-year-old self, how much he needed to know that the world is bigger than a closed door and the angry voices just behind it. Maybe the highest compliment I can pay “Run Away With Me” is that, for a brief moment, it takes me back to that feeling.

David Sheffieck: Subtly complicated, emotionally overwhelming, gorgeously romantic, and oh let’s not forget the massive hooks: this is pop music at its absolute finest.

Katherine St Asaph: The Rule of (My) Internet is that one’s Carly Rae Jepsen opinions are identical to one’s Carly Rae Jepsen feelings, but I shat out all my Jepsfeelings early this year in one fell gush (these feelings are poop) and now nothing is left. I am trying to be objective, and it is not working. I’m not sure why the euphoric M83 synth here does nothing while the one in “Lost Boys and Girls Club” is still the best thing I’ve ever heard; it sounds like bagpipes, which are not me, and it sharps at the end, and the result is unlistenable. The “hey!”s evoke the Lumineers, but they’re in so many pop songs anymore they may as well be sonic dust. The songwriting is still censoring for the tweens, or maybe I just got it into my memory that the lyric was “stuck in my head, stuck in my bed, stuck in my body” and prefer the post-coital bliss version. The throb is simultaneously blown to every emotional and musical height, yet it feels too restrained, unmoving. There is polish, and perfection even — the curls of lust in how Jepsen sings “run away,” the gorgeous vocals on the bridge, the little stop before the chorus — but I note them, and do not feel. The cult adoration of Jepsen has hinged, since every post-“Call Me Maybe” single, on underdog appeal; but this single got the second-most radio adds this week (after 5 Seconds of Summer’s brodown “She’s Kinda Hot”), so time may disprove that too. Perhaps I am the problem, and some essential part of me got cauterized sometime this year when I didn’t notice. But I still swoon and long to other songs, so that can’t be it, can it? Whatever it is, I wish it weren’t there.

Thomas Inskeep: I know that “Run Away with Me” has six credited writers and a trio of producers, but I’m just gonna assume this is mainly Shellback working with Jepsen, because it sounds like it. It’s akin to some of the work he did in collaboration with Max Martin on 1989, but doesn’t sound quite so clinical, so market-tested. (I love 1989, mind you.) This has echoes of ’85 without sounding even remotely retro or out of time; for reasons I can’t quite explain it brings to mind a bit of Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair, but harnessed to throbbing popcraft that out-Moroders what Giorgio Moroder is doing these days. Jepsen’s the perfect vessel for this: she understands the limitations of her voice (no melisma nor belting here) and instead goes for the emotion of the song. She may be 29, but musically, still comes off like the ultimate teenage dream. And she’s killing it right now.

Isabel Cole: Carly Rae Jepsen doesn’t write love songs; she writes about what lives before and lingers after love, what pulses beneath it, the swarming galaxies of desire which do not originate from the longed-for body any more than the rays of the sun emanate from our open eyes. I’ve never heard a song that more fully understands the element of desire which is really about the self — the way a shining someone can awaken a wish for a new self, polished and prettier, witty and strong, careening through a story big enough to earn a name the particulars of which are irrelevant, hero and sinner rendered equivalent in a schema organized around the marvelously vague dictum, take me to the feeling! Take me to a different life; take me to a world like the movies, the bad ones shining with a gloss of money like sweat, their orchestrated wildness like the immaculate moment where her voice dovetails with that sax line, so perfect it’s almost silly, so vivid it’s almost real. Unmake my spilled-water dialogue and ugly teeth and replace them with a racing triple beat and the loomingness of yearning made as gorgeous as it is vast. Let me live in the skin you make me feel I can claim, invincible and awake, the transient beauty of sunset colors suspended just for us, turning the world to gold. You make this seem possible: the midnight drive, the seamless rebirth, the version or vision of me brave enough to follow the choreography of passion, limbs imbued with radiant sureness if you would just give me my cue. If you would just say it. Just go. Just run away with me. You make it seem easy, so why are we still here?

Micha Cavaseno: That bagpipe synth thing is by far either the most ingeniously or the most distressingly terrible thing I’ll hear all year, so right off the bat we’re giving Jepsen 3 points for that, ok? In an age of absurdly generic records, nothing here is distracting from the human making the songs. Carly Rae spends so much of the song making her voice sound like a choir of teens, a valkyrie’s bellow, and the happiest person in the world, all played by one Cheshire Cat grin-bearer of a weird Canadian.

Megan Harrington: Every time I listen to “Run Away With Me” I’m almost immediately greeted with vertigo brought on by mixing desire with longing. It’s crippling, such that I can’t listen to the song standing upright and when I try, Jepsen quickly levels me. Have we considered that her intent in making such an instant pop classic might be murderous?

Juana Giaimo: When you’re starting a relationship, all you want to do is to be with the one you like alone. Parties may be fun, but everyone else except you two are annoying. Leaving to a city nobody knows who you are is the perfect landscape to get to know each other better. Carly Rae Jepsen understood this so she combined the thirll of starting a relationship with the thirll of a new city: its blinding lights (and what happens when they go out); all its people around you with their own life you don’t know about; the emotion of running through streets you’ll never see again and of living a moment you’ll never live again. It’s seeing the other smile only at you for one specific instant what makes you think the craziest ideas could be good ideas, like believing this could last forever, that you could make the world better or simply running away. You and I are may be foreign to the city, but it doesn’t matter if it’s only you and I. 

Luisa Lopez: Who dreamed up that sax line? It never changes and still it grows and grows, taking hold of the entire song until every note is a pressurized rendering of desire, every verse an ode to the horrible beauty of wanting. Horrible because of its longevity, the unchanging crease of an instrument that only has one voice and goes quiet for a verse only to howl again in the chorus; but beautiful for what Carly does with it, the song she builds from the upturned earth of that line. Kiss was an album about a bouquet of sensations but at the center of it was a wicked love letter to a boy who might have loved someone else. Each song muddled through the feeling in a tiptoe way, playing coy or getting ugly only to backtrack quickly and briefly bruising into moments of intense sadness for a yearning that wrecks the body but allows the heart to bloom. In E•MO•TION, there’s none of that pretense — everything is big, wounded, full of galactic joy. Opening an album with a song like this is a statement. Carly takes a moment so often embarrassing and unspoken — you make me feel like / I could be driving you all night; I’ll find your lips in the streetlight / I want to be there with you — and sends it shooting into the sky. Oh, my baby! Take me to the feeling! The ugliness is unhidden and every note is too big, too much, too endless. She sings, I’ll be your sinner in secret / when the lights go out and it’s desperate but manageable, a neatly packaged image meant to titillate him in the afternoon but then it cascades instantly into the heartbeat howl of run away with me! run away! with! me! and what a moment that is — a love song baring its face and hideous, frantic, unashamed in the revelation; a love song about wanting something so badly your heart could swing between two points of despair; a love song not about someone but something, the road from your sinner in secret to run away with me, the feeling that lives in that space. The rest of the album could have been shit — it isn’t — and it wouldn’t have mattered. This song could probably save the world. There she is, a tiny voice raised like a flag in an ocean of desire. The sax line carries her throughout, from the early rush of the first verses to the way her voice breaks on the last word. 

Rebecca A. Gowns: Although “Run Away with Me” seems to have reverberations of other pop acts, it’s really more pure and clarified; this is not Carly Rae Jepsen ripping off anyone else, but rather, Carly Rae Jepsen making the song that every other pop performer wishes she could have in her repertoire. There are equal measures of sass and sweetness; balladry and rhythm; silly retro components (like that electronic sax!) tempered with a restrained backing track; the whole song rolls out elegantly, with no melodrama. Jepsen doesn’t have to push to sell this. In a pop landscape crowded with “hype,” this single stands out for its bare confidence. No pretensions, no gimmicks, no wailing belting breakdown — just a damn fine song.

Alfred Soto: The opening fanfare — treated saxophone and rumbles — could be from a Wilco tune, but as soon as the chant-or-die chorus hits it’s clear we’re in a land that has never forgotten the reign of Charli XCX. “Run Away with Me” conjures love among the skyscrapers better than Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York.”

Anthony Easton: There is little that is hesitant or cutesy here, just a smart, well-constructed argument in favour of Jepsen being a total pop diva. The meta has kind of fallen away, maybe due to a lack of commercial success, and the brassy, almost elegant, studio spit-shined production reigns triumphant. 

Brad Shoup: The pre-chorus vocal melody and the synthsax melody are twinned: they share contours, they nudge the feeling into jagged territory. And they spawn ghosts under the hammering, horizontal chorus. Jepsen’s gift of gifts is her ability to conspire — there’s a directness in every single she’s sent out. But there’s also undercurrents: of an infatuation that could destroy, of a triumph that could be on the next floor. Basically, she’s more present than most anyone in pop.

Will Adams: Carly Rae Jepsen’s songs work so much better when I imagine them as internal monologues, everything that one would say if anxiety didn’t paralyze them the minute they walked through the door to that party they weren’t planning on going to but they just had to, because they knew that one person would be there. What separates it from the rest is that this anxiety is manifested in the music. The saxophone bleats on and on, the promise of driving someone all night, but the shiver bass and cavernous reverb reinforce those knots in your stomach. Every time I listen to “Run Away With Me,” I catch my breath, as if that someone is right there in the room, waiting for me to move.

Andy Hutchins: I docked a point because “I could be driving you all night” is clunky. This still seems harsh.

Danilo Bortoli: I’ll be forever suspicious of albums that reach the stratosphere too soon, but I suspect E•MO•TION is simply one of those pieces of art that lives up to its name and manages to stop time. And I can’t help but think that it makes all the sense in the world that “Run Away With Me” and its huge wall of sound opens the gates for Carly’s world. It’s inviting, adventurous and, above all, it’s “perfect pop” in the truest, vaguest sense of the expression: music that is bigger than the performer and the crowd and the fan, even cathartic. While I don’t think that “we can turn the world to gold” is a very radio-friendly phrase — it contains multitudes in it that demand too much from the listener — but it feels better this way. With “Run Away With Me” you get the sense that Jepsen is trying harder, feeling more and more deeply than on Kiss. Ironically, the first thing that springs to mind while listening to “Run Away With Me” is saudade, the kind of untranslatable word which defines Carly Rae’s body of work so far; “Run Away With Me” is the pop music equivalent of feeling so much that you just can’t put that into words. And the reason I keep coming back to this song is that, despite many of them being untranslatable, they are all we have left.  

Edward Okulicz: If you could somehow take the verses of “I Really Like You,” the chorus of “Call Me Maybe” and the middle-eight of this, you might have the very ideal of the perfect pop song. You’d at least have a very good one — along the lines of Taylor Swift’s stunning “New Romantics” — if not for that jarring, unappetising synth-fart honk that dominates and keeps the song on the ground when Jepsen’s voice wills it to fly with all its might.

Nina Lea Oishi: Not too long ago I was looking back on diary entries I’d written when I was 14 and 15 years old. Although those entries are jam-packed with overblown preteen prose, they conjured up feelings I’d totally forgotten. The terror and thrill of the discoveries that come at that age — first kisses, first drinks, first parties, first rebellions, first high school friends. The urge to fit in, the urge to belong. The sense of standing at the edge of an undefined and exciting and terrifying new world of almost-adulthood. The belief, shaped by a fifteen-year-old’s smug and stupid confidence, that no one has ever felt this way before, that no one will ever feel this way again. I think that certain mix of terror and excitement is limited to that age range, and once we get older, more cynical, and more set in our ways, we forget it. Carly Rae Jepsen’s true genius is that she brings it all back with her sonic diary entries, from the silly flirtations of “Call Me Maybe” to the giddy confessions of “I Really Like You.” “Run Away with Me” is, gloriously, in the same vein. The beat, matched to Carly’s breathless delivery, thumps with the irrational urgency that fuels first love. The lyrics are ripped straight out of distracted-in-math-class notebook musings, but the simplicity only further infuses the track with authentic enthusiasm. When Carly begs “take me to the feeling,” she makes emotions into destinations, finally defining the mysterious place at the end of those late-night teenage joyrides. Sure, now that we’re a bit older, we have the distance to laugh at the naïve stupidity of those years long ago. But Carly remembers what we’ve forgotten — the unabashed joy, the glory, the purity of that thrill. She takes us to the feeling in a way that no other pop star can.

Josh Winters: I could run away with Carly Rae to the ends of the earth solely running off the propulsive energy of that sax cutting through the ether. Literally a beam of light in this dark, cruel world.

Reader average: [9.37] (189 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

41 Responses to “Carly Rae Jepsen – Run Away with Me”

  1. I’m keeping my fingers crossed but her to have another proper hit. This sounds like it would be big in Germany at least, where uptempo melancholy tends to do quite well.

  2. Carly Rae brings out the best in all of us and I love it

  3. Wait the lyric’s not “stuck in my body”?
    Oh wow I like this song a bit less. I still love it but that’s disappointing to me.
    (on the other hand this is mostly career-best stuff from almost everyone involved, but especially CRJ and Serban Gheana — and I haven’t checked the credits but I’m 90% sure it’s him–, who I didn’t think could top his work on Uptown Funk last year.)

  4. you are all so beautiful

  5. I also heard “stuck in my body” the first few times.

    And hey, Isabel blurb!


  7. I can’t deal with the sharping

  8. KATHERINE why did you mention the sharping. I hate that stupid electric sax sound anyway, sorry. Agree with the 10’s and the 5’s at the same time :(

  9. fret not, anon! a friend who ordered a hard copy from japan confirms: in my body, not on! (also confirms that the line in when i needed you is “you kiss me like a sunrise/my feet up to my forehead,” not, as i had long heard it, “i feel it through my forehead,” which is thrilling to me.)

  10. this was a joy to read, the world is an amazing place, and that sax is the best sound on the best song ever recorded.

  11. shit, maybe relying on http://www.azlyrics.com was not the Smartest Idea i had today

    sorry for the confusion, Anon! hope my careless transcribing didn’t detract from the work of our Lord Carly Rae Jesus

  12. I think the sharping is great because its atrocious. Its one of those things that’s gonna lead to it being memorable and complained about.

  13. “but I shat out all my Jepsfeelings early this year in one fell gush (these feelings are poop) and now nothing is left.”

    Should I take this to mean you didn’t like the rest of E•MO•TION as well, Katherine? :(

  14. you can find my reviews of the other singles from it on this very site

  15. wish i had blurbed this

  16. Found the lyrics and I’m not sure what “Let the lights go our” means (or “I’ll be your hero in winning” for that matter) but I’m really really glad that the line is “stuck in my body”

  17. @Katherine: Sorry, I meant as in the non-singles, the remainder of the album

    Although looking at your blurb again, I’m pretty sure I misinterpreted what you were saying anyway.

  18. “when the lights go out”

    “i’ll be your hero and win it”

    stop lyric websites 2k15

  19. um


  20. that makes so much more sense. thank you!!
    (also the blurbs and comment section are why this is one of my favorite sites)

  21. I feel kinda bad about my blurb being a copout, but I have listened to this about 10 times between radio and YouTube and I have alternated between legit tearing up and wanting to fist-pump/dance, so I am maybe not in the emotional condition to .

    Also, the thing this reminds me of most is “Dancing On My Own”? When it’s really “Hang With Me” with no governor on the sentimentality?

    Also also, the last five seconds of the video are the best thing of all things.

  22. So euphoric and magical. Should be a #1 hit. 10/10

  23. best pop song of the year so far! such a bliss of emotions I get listening to this!

  24. ty to all the readers who have brought that average closer to the truth than ours is. only .84 to go!

    also, andy: that’s one of the best lines, too! but i definitely agree that carly taps into a similar vein of longing and emotion (sorry) as robyn.

  25. Ugh, this song made me believe that God exists. Such a perfectly crafted pop song. 10/10

  26. @david: It is an imperfection that makes things more perfect, isn’t it?

  27. I’m not feeling this :/

  28. I’ll listen to it again, but I wasn’t blown away either. I didn’t like the echo on “run away with me”; it made the song feel less intimate.

  29. Everyone like Carly’s songs, including me, but why aren’t people buying them? She needs reevaluate her marketing team

  30. “I Really Like You” was a decent-sized hit in the UK and Ireland, if nowhere else.

  31. I think there is a subspecies of pop musicians that are beloved by critics who know how the sausage is made, but for some reason, the public don’t pick up on.

  32. (so glad I don’t know what sharping is)

  33. sharping = when a note drifts sharp. as opposed to flatting

  34. Neh! The best 2015 Summer songs are Good for You (Selena Gomez) and Can’t Feel My Face (The Weeknd).

  35. This has just been added to the Radio 1 playlist. Wouldn’t bank on it going top 40, but if you want to hear Carly Rae Jepsen then the UK is a good place to be.

  36. fuck me sideways i promised myself i wouldn’t fall into my CRJ fanboy-ness again this summer but i’m obsessed with this song :/

  37. this is a very beautiful, dense song, but the reviews here—for all their verbiage—don’t do anything to explain why. there isn’t a single enlightening description of any aspect of the arrangement or how the parts fit together. above all these reviews make me think i was too hasty in dismissing the concept of the “pathetic fallacy.”

  38. whoops sry

  39. would you like to speak to a manager

  40. CRJ had the last laugh:

  41. those are some choice Vines

    i’m going to tell my manager about them