The NME should revive their singles column, shouldn’t they?
Anyway, here’s the least successful pop sensation of the year, an artist stymied by her record label’s extraordinary, foot-shooting release policy. It’s a moot point whether Carly Rae Jepsen would have done better over here if her album hadn’t already been out across the world six months earlier, but it couldn’t have done any harm. ‘Run Away With Me’ has 1989 confidence and appeal, and all for nothing.
It’s easy to insinuate a pop song into the global consciousness: take a low synth thrum/quiet storm verse that suggests a Kelly Clarkson explosion without the mess, surge off into clipped disco strings instead, nail a killer melody and – here’s the thing – write a lyric people will talk about (and remember). “Why is this crazy? People do it all the time.” It’s the cute conceit that makes everyone want to cover it – and that snowballs into a phenomenon. See? Easy. Carly Rae Jepsen is almost incidental, but she can do naive excitement, sounds like she’s feeling it and is the untarnished face of a novelty.
Sometimes everything just meets. I started Jukebox Junior as a fun way to get me writing – it worked, it grew, it changed my life – and back then I had a willing audience. Well, she was trapped in a bouncy chair and flapped her arms if she liked a bassline or simple, direct tune. But you can’t stop a person growing up. I never meant to brainwash her anyway, but of course she’s developed her own tastes. She’s a seven-year-old girl. She likes One Direction, she likes David Guetta’s fast-track hooks even more. I’m not saying she doesn’t enjoy some of the songs she’s introduced to here, just that the thrill of recognition always triumphs. She’s got a whole routine for ‘Call Me Maybe’ and that’s something I’ve never seen before. So there you are, maybe this place can become an exchange of knowledge as she engages more completely with pop and I continue to lose bits of myself to Steely Dan.