Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Carly Rae Jepsen – Want You In My Room

Give a [10]! or a [4]! We don’t care! Anymore! (actually we clearly do care)


Josh Winters: The sound of the heart set aflame.

Tobi Tella: Oh my god. The synths, the sultriness, that goddamn HOOK. Dedicated had a lot of great and fun, pop music, but this comes out of left field in the best possible way. It’s one of the most direct and sexy things, she’d ever done. Is this what gay heaven feels like?

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Big “looks-up-grinning-like-the-devil” energy: when CRJ sings, “I wanna do bad things to you,” the mischief is both inexplicably sweet and dirty. 

Michael Hong: “Want You In My Room” might be Carly Rae Jepsen at her horniest, but it’s also Jack Antonoff at his least restrained, together making something that’s thrillingly giddy. Carly Rae Jepsen drops some of those thinly disguised hints for more straight-forward temptations, coming across as intense where Dedicated erred more towards tepid. There’s still room for coyness, with the distorted “want you in my room” bashfully buried in the mix and the way Jepsen’s voice brazenly glides across the instrumental on the line “slide on through my window.” But most importantly, “Want You In My Room” feels completely uninhibited and absolutely freeing as Carly Rae Jepsen delivers any line with as much of a wink as she desires.

Kayla Beardslee: Pure joy.

Edward Okulicz: Every song that goes by, I find myself enraged by how average I find the average Carly Rae Jepsen to be, and I’m not entirely sure that I’m not jealous of the euphoria she inspires in others. But honestly, she’s no Vengaboys, let alone a Paul Lekakis; I believe Jepsen, but I don’t buy her abandon.

Alfred Soto: With Dedicated proving an ephemeral listen, “Want You in My Room” does a professional job as any discrete track at isolating her strengths: finding a hook for any title and singing as if any doggerel were Heidegger. The outro sax wipes the smear of the redundant vocoder, suggesting other paths that the arrangement avoids. 

Kylo Nocom: Given the runtime and production choices, one would think somebody had went out and decided to parody the style of Emotion with its Wikipedia article and five hours to complete the task. “Want You in My Room” slightly lacks sophistication in both songwriting and in aesthetic: it feels like half of the song is missing by the time the track decides to fade out, and the wonky percussion/clean guitars/fucking SAX are rather ungraceful signifiers of ’80s kitschiness, as if hints were taken from Carly’s turn with the Fuller House theme song. These tiny grievances immediately disappear once those robot-voices and shouts burst out, an exercise between restraint and shamelessness that’s completely undeniable. I didn’t register that the vocoded voices were actually saying anything the first few times I heard this, let alone the title, but it’s quite sly how that turned out: the most explicit demand of the hook is obscured, leaving “I wanna do bad things to you!” which beats around the bush a tiny bit (thankfully, less embarrassingly than Camila) and additionally gleeful cheers before that lovely inquiry of “baby, don’t you want me too?”. I’m still frustrated this ends so quickly, but even this doesn’t matter when it’s the Carly song I’ve been using to soundtrack the crush-anxiety interludes of my life. Really, this could cut off after the first chorus and still be more exciting than nearly every other song on Dedicated.

Joshua Lu: It’s tempting to draw connections between Emotion and everything Carly Rae Jepsen has done since Emotion — thematically, her work hasn’t evolved much since 2015, with her primary concern being PG-13 depictions of love and heartbreak. But Emotion‘s portrayal of affection was grandiose and imposing, fit for blasting out the windows of your car as you get lost in the streets of LA, while Dedicated‘s take feels distinctly slighter and more intimate. “Want You In My Room” takes more of its cues from Kiss, if anything — even overlooking the disco tinges and how that was the first time she worked with Jack AntonoffKiss employed intimate lyricism that could verge at times on the diaristic, with songs like “Turn Me Up” and “Curiosity.” The song’s title, conveyed through Antonoff’s phalanx of robots, renders that closeness literally, but that intimacy comes through metaphorically as well, especially with that quintessentially Carly-esque grotesque lyric of “press you to the pages of my heart” and that absolutely filthy request to “slide on through my window.” I’ll always prefer this mode of Carly, whose depictions of carnal affection feel more genuine and evocative when she’s cooing them in your ear instead of bellowing them to the world. Even the outro works for me; the music video helps to explicate that her lover has finally made it to her room, and the bleating saxophone becomes an aural metaphor of whatever the two of them are doing, now that the song has accomplished its purpose.

Will Adams: The discourse around Jack Antonoff and his status as the supposed ingenue behind female pop stars’ critical reappraisal is exhausting, mostly because it ignores my biggest gripe with it: the production is bad. As we’ve seen before, his penchant for vocoders sinks the songs and, in this case, the entire chorus. The rest is his typical beige, vaguely  ’80s, vaguely ’90s, vaguely everything feel, as if those “Dreams” guitars haven’t been done better elsewhere. Carly’s not off the hook either, with lyrics as empty as “press you to the pages of my heart.” The sax riffing at the end would have been nice had it not resulted in a fade-out, which only serves to let you know that no one involved bothered to write a bridge.

Hannah Jocelyn: That post-chorus is peak Carly – her songs are best when they’re anxious but sensual, innocent but winking. But that’s the problem with this song, content to be an E*MO*TION throwback when the best cuts on Dedicated (“I’ll Be Your Girl,” “Everything He Needs”) push her sound forward in ways that still remain consistent with her past. Antonoff’s on autopilot, lifting his own Tom Petty rip from “Don’t Take The Money” for his usual mix of 80s and non-80s signifiersSingles Jukebox editor and writer Katherine St. Asaph’s issue with Dedicated was that Carly didn’t play to her fanbase enough. This goes too much in the other direction giving the gays exactly what they want but nothing more. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it’s too slight when Carly’s beloved for her maximalism.

Andy Hutchins: Fun, frivolous, brisk, and brief in the way so many great pop songs are, and a better spiritual successor to “Africa” in 2019 than Weezer actually covering it. But I will admit that listening to the potential [3] or [15] that would have been CRJ riffing on Rye Rye’s spin on Vengaboys was deeply distracting.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: “Want You In My Room” is the worst kind of song to write about: so self-evidently joyful and skilled in every aspect (those synths!! that sax solo!!) that it’s hard to point at any one thing to analyze. Is it enough to just say that the song is the best execution of crush pop in the catalog of an artist who is the queen of crush pop? Is it enough to say that I listen to the song in the shower and my morning walk to class? Is it enough to say that this song (and really, the whole starting run of Dedicated) is an excellent soundtrack to a roadtrip with the one you love? I don’t know, and I don’t quite know how to express how good it is that Carly Rae Jepsen is around and making music like this, but I hope this helps.

Jackie Powell: Carly Rae Jepsen knows her base just as well as she knows herself. All of the elements of “Want You in My Room” confirm that.”…And I’ll press you to the pages of my heart” in the pre-chorus proves how Jepsen simultaneously views love and her music. She loves fantasy and probably adores fanfiction (Does anyone have confirmation on this?) “I think I like when people look at music from a way that’s this childlike magical thing that happens to us,” she said at Electric Lady Studios recording her Spotify singles session. She has made it her brand for the nerds who love love–but struggle to capture it– feel at home with the awkwardness and desire that they feel inside. Jack Antonoff knows how to extrapolate Jepsen’s inner feelings and give them a sound; the track begins with three different percussive loops which symbolize the racing heartbeat of sexual and romantic excitement. The aforementioned Spotify session version of the cut further echoes the idea that this song is an orgy that would take place at a campfire for young adults. (I guess I just described Woodstock. Imagine Woodstock in 2019…oh wait.) She proves once again that both fantasy and desire are natural and shouldn’t be a source of any shame.

Vikram Joseph: There’s probably not much that my 11-year-old self has in common with me right now. But I remember getting up an hour before school to listen to the radio, and the way that I would lose myself in pop music and it would carry me through the day, painting the cyclical banalities of breaktime and double chemistry in weird, vivid colours that I didn’t fully understand back then. And it’s not so different to the way that I respond to it now; the way that caffeine and Dedicated made my commute shimmer and glow on sticky mornings this summer. For me, “Want You In My Room” has been the album’s febrile, halcyon peak from the start – a high-camp maximalist fantasia of love and lust, the rare ecstasy of uncomplicated desire played out in a technicolour dreamscape of synths, vocoders and sax solos. It took four months for it to acquire a music video, but there must have already been a million existing in our imaginations, us as the stars, cameras panning as we walk down streets as flamboyantly as our queer little hearts dare to. It’s garish, sugary and barely sounds real, and that’s fine – because great pop is escapist, always has been and always will be, and “Want You In My Room” makes me believe I can have it all (even if it’s fake).

Reader average: [9.21] (19 votes)

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6 Responses to “Carly Rae Jepsen – Want You In My Room”

  1. Did this get posted twice?

  2. nope!

  3. @will the vocoder on cruel summer is amazing FIGHT ME lol

  4. Wow a number of y’all tried to tank this but it didn’t work! LOL!

    And yes the vocoder on Cruel Summer is amazing

  5. “With Dedicated proving an ephemeral listen”

    you should listen to it more

  6. when y’all gonna update the sidebar