Dedicated Side B // Carly Rae Jepsen

Reviewed: 24/05/2020

Rating: 0.8 // 10

Genres: Synthpop, Dancepop, Discopop

Released: 21/05/2020, Schoolboy Records

Carly Rae Jepsen reveals the B Side of last year’s LP Dedicated – and arguably, it is the superior album, with a more cohesive sound.

Ever since turning heavily to the world of synthpop and dancepop on her 2015 effort Emotion, Jepsen has captured the hearts and ears of popheads everywhere, with truly infectious tracks.

That continues on Dedicated B Side, which leans in even more to emotive synths and funky basslines. The quality is high, and it is a bit hard to believe that most of these tracks didn’t deserve to be on the main album.

Also starting with Emotion, Jepsen released the b-side tracks as a separate project, of which was a shorter EP.

But this fully fledged LP deserves every minute of its play time, producing some fun moments.

We’re chucked straight into the sound with the opener This Love Isn’t Crazy. Just like Dedicated, the songs are all love, relationship related, but that’s kinda Jepsen’s thing at this point.

The joy in her voice is matched with the bouncing percussion and synths, and already after one track we’re grooving, especially thanks to a chorus that sounds lifted from the dance floor.

Window relies heavily on the funkier bass that kicks off the song, and despite a more relaxed start, it still carries the same infectious energy of the opener. Jepsen displays a wide array of singing styles, including short, sharp one the beat delivery.

Onto Felt This Way dials back the bass, turning the vibe into a sensual, close energy. Stay Away is lyrically the same, both repeating the line of “I can’t stay away.” However, the synth heavy, more upbeat Stay Away makes the two completely distinct.

This Is What They Say falls firmly in the disco-electro genre, with the 80’s inspired synths and beat. Another loved up song, catchy by design, yet not quite an ear worm.

We get a departure from the core sound of the album on Heartbeat, a piano-based, slower track that feels very raw and passionate.

It contrasts greatly with the next track, Summer Love, which jumps straight back into the disco inspired, funk-driven styles of the album. Another driving bassline is layered over with slightly washed out vocals, giving us more variation within the general sound.

Fake Mona Lisa paints the clearest imagery of any song, a well written song comparing summer flings to making art. Short and simple, the funky bassline comes back yet again.

Let’s Sort This Out sounds like if you stripped the guitars from an indie-rock song, with the pianos chiming over a fast pace percussion beat. Unfortunately, the pacing of the song kind of gets a bit tedious when it approaches the end after almost four minutes.

Bleachers are the only featured artist on the album, joining Jepsen on Comeback, another synth-based, slower song. A slow burner, Bleachers provide the backing vocals over the chorus, which evolves the song into a proper ballad.

Solo is the last synthpop banger on the tracklist, coming before the more emotive and slower Now I Don’t Hate California At All. As you can probably tell by the super specific title, the lyrics are super personal. Overlayed overall tropical sounded guitar and the sounds of the tide slowly washing in and out, this is a nice, unique end to the album.

Overall I’d argue this is better than the other side it is paired with. You can tell both albums belong in the same era of Jepsen, and both share the same concepts and energy. Whilst that overlap exists, I genuinely prefer this set of songs.

Track Listing

  • This Love Isn’t Crazy (A-)
  • Window (A-)
  • Felt This Way (B+)
  • Stay Away (B+)
  • This What They Say (B)
  • Heartbeat (A-)
  • Summer Love (B+)
  • Fake Mona Lisa (B+)
  • Let’s Sort This Out (B)
  • Solo (B)
  • Now I Don’t Hate California (B+)

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