Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Carly Rae Jepsen – Your Type



Alfred Soto: The thud-thud drum loop mirrors Jepsen’s desperation: she’s not the girl you love as a friend, she’s a girl who wants to have lots of sex with a guy as dreamy as the synths.

Thomas Inskeep: I’m kinda fascinated by the way that — akin to Kylie Minogue, maybe? — CRJ has gone from chart-topping pop princess to commercial non-factor and critical darling in the U.S. And, like Kylie, she’s done so while her music gets better and better. E*MO*TION, punctuation be damned, is easily one of 2015’s best long-players, and she closes the year releasing “Your Type” as its fourth single. This has more of that Drive score Moroder throb and some amazing gated snares, but in service to a midtempo slow-burn about falling in love with the wrong boy. If the kids in Less Than Zero (the novel, not the film) hadn’t been such KROQ kids, they would’ve been fucking to this in between bumps of coke.

Maxwell Cavaseno: CRJ does nerves like nobodies business, turning the world of “close but on unequal ground” into the trenchant moat it can feel like when you’re plunging in and flailing to get out of whichever the direction and however messy it can get. Her delivery on the chorus punches with an oomph her voice doesn’t demonstrate as much on record as any doubters might require, but in the same way “type” echoes her own perpetually denied push in radioland, it’s not as if such a move slows her down in any way.

Crystal Leww: So many romcoms about best friends falling for one another but what happens when one doesn’t love the other back?

Jer Fairall: This never stood out much on E•MO•TION for me, but isolating it highlights its simple pleasures: a chiming synth hook, Jepsen’s anxious vocal on the pre-chorus breakdown, and a lyric that deftly balances the aching with the rueful. Colour me disappointed only in that this probably rules out “Let’s Get Lost” as a single. 

Jessica Doyle: The structure’s solid enough; what’s missing are the lines you stumble over half a second after she’s delivered them (who gave you eyes like that, said you could keep them — wait, what?). Which intensifies the pathos of the song — the narrator wants so badly to stand out, to capture the beloved’s permanent attention, to be more than just “a flicker” (the closest we get to such a line) — but even her desperate inner monologue is bland. 

Edward Okulicz: This is the first time I’ve noticed that Jepsen’s words are the smartest, most vivid part of her songcraft, and in hindsight that seems to have been true for many of her singles. But I can’t hear the verses without, as with her last single, going back to a superior example from Taylor’s 1989 — this time “Out of the Woods,” which just makes this one seem bloodless and low-stakes in an A-B comparison. As much as I want to root for the commercial underperformer for once I side with the charts over the crits.

Cédric Le Merrer: On this track, even more than on “Run Away With Me,” Carly Rae Jepsen shows how smart she is. The track has the throbbing synth and big drums of those phantasmagoric 80’s movie soundtracks that could be anyone from Taylor Swift to CHVRCHES. She reportedly vaped for a whole week to get that crack in her voice, which is probably bullshit PR. This performance has audible alcohol, cigarettes or tears (pick at least two out of three). Whatever it is, the way her voice slightly splits on “head” and cuts the Ts is what elevates it to great pop. Too many “sorry”‘s come tumbling out of her mouth like a Candy Crush chain reaction. Taylor Swift would have written devastating lyrics for this track. CHVRCHES would have cruised on texture. But Carly has amazing topline smarts, she knows how to write these melodies, how to carefully arrange words into sounds and perform them like few others could.

Brad Shoup: “Your Type” has that synthpulse that only pop’s biggest bets seem to ever acquire. Here, it’s deferential enough to let Jepsen take the emotional lead. She packs a wallop: it comes off like a rehearsed speech that disintegrates into something impromptu. Of course, the track is a bullet-pointed argument: carefully deployed lasers and lights. 

Will Adams: Hearing this sounds like the sum of every maybe-if-possibly from every preceding Carly Rae Jepsen song — the giddy shrugs and knowing smirks — slammed into that inevitable wall: rejection. Underneath the veil of catchy glitterball synth lines lies an arrangement that mirrors the spurned lyrics: the harsh snare cleaving the surrounding sound, the bass pulse more of an angry throb, Jepsen’s vocal fraying along the edges. I’ve never quite understood the concept of a tears-in-your-eyes chorus until now.

Katherine St Asaph: The holy synthesis of “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” and “Dancing On My Own” has arrived, and yet it is not Revelations-ing my psyche. I am a sad Carlyvangelist. Maybe it’s because ever since Emotion did what Kiss failed to and caught the ears of the Internet pop brigade, a succession of shitty dudes have become enamored, with no self-awareness, about songs largely about all the earnest feelings wasted on their shittiness. That’s selfish. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s selfish. But I meant to say what I said; I shudder to think of the Nice Guy™s who’ll adopt this. Because “Your Type” isn’t for them at all; it’s not about a unrequited crush but the guilt that arises when being a good friend and acknowledging your feelings are diametrically opposed. After all, we’ve taken a reasonable concept (dude friends with unrequited crushes are often the unfriendliest) and commentorted it beyond reason (if you have an unrequited crush and are afraid to say it, you are EVIL QUICKSAND IN FRIEND-SHAPED FORM), and like all these distortions women get stigmatized the most. Good job, us. Jepsen, as she always does, inhabits this fully, her voice tense with anguish or at least Pop-Taylor Swift quavers. It’s not an anthem or a kiss-off; it’s a wallow. And yet sometimes I love wallows. I’m sorry.

Reader average: [9.15] (19 votes)

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8 Responses to “Carly Rae Jepsen – Your Type”

  1. This was actually an immediate standout when I first heard E•MO•TION. Even though, most of the LP’s songs had the same trait: you can relate to every single track, this song was the most punchy of them all. CRJ’s vocals here, which was said were vaped, had presented this emotion where it showed the depth of her style; especially when she says the line, “I’ll make time for you!” This song leaves me mesmerized every time I hear it and even though she’s not getting the commercial success she needs, she has captured many ears. Great song.

  2. carly rae jukebox

  3. I can’t sing this song all the way through without getting a bit teary, especially once she sings “I’ll make time for you!”

    The song was once one of my least favorites on an album with no bad songs, but has since grown into my top pick next to Boy Problems. She should be so proud of this song, commercial success or not!

  4. Damn grad school applications; they kept me from reviewing Carly. I’d give this a [8] or [9].

    I think this is an odd choice of single — it would have been my fourth choice for next single, after “Boy Problems” (which seems to have been made for radio), “Emotion”, and “LA Hallucinations”. But this album is strong enough that my… fifth or sixth favorite song is still an [8].

    also, I think there’s something to be said that Carly is writing teenpop for adults — she has all the teenpop emotion (“I want you to miss me”), but the “I’ll make time for you” is the refrain of an adult with too many responsibilities, not a teenager.

  5. sometimes this song does nothing for me, sometimes it makes me want to cry???

  6. same fellow josh same

  7. this was never added to the 2015 faves list!

  8. Thanks for pointing that out, Tomás. I have woken from my slumber and corrected that, and hopefully added everything from Readers’ Week and Amnesty Week that made it too.