Monday, September 17, 2012

First Listen: Carly Rae Jepsen's Full-Length 'Kiss'

I'm just beginning to dig into Carly Rae Jepsen's anticipated new album Kiss, released last Tuesday. First take: an avalanche of uptempo sugary pop confections... just what the doc ordered. But of course the $25,000 question: Can she maintain the momentum of the eight-week No. 1 run of "Call Me Maybe," without a doubt the song of Summer 2012?

While follow-up "Good Time" with Owl City remains in the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 this week (after peaking at 8), Carly Rae's new single, "This Kiss," just released to radio, is a youthful whirlwind of singable hooks and cute instrumental dance synths... perhaps not as immediate as "Call Me Maybe," but then... what is? The song was produced by LMFAO's RedFoo and singer-songwriter Matthew Koma; and released to iTunes September 10.

Her biggest challenge may be getting radio to gracefully let go of "Call Me Maybe" after 29 weeks on the chart (it's No. 15 at Radio, while "Good Time" is No. 14) to make room for "This Kiss." I call this the "Duncan Sheik complex," who became a one-hit wonder in 1997, when top 40 radio held onto hit "Barely Breathing" for nearly a year, ultimately suffocating any chance for success with follow-up "She Runs Away." (Duncan made out okay, winning a Tony Award for composing Broadway's Spring Awakening in 2008.)

While I absorb the 15 new tracks on Kiss' "Deluxe Version," Billboard.com's Jason Lipshutz offers an excellent track-by-track review here.

His overall purview: "Is Carly Rae Jepsen an album artist? 'Call Me Maybe' overtook pop radio this summer because the song is an astonishingly catchy piece of sonic cotton candy, but prolonging that phenomenon over a 42-minute span is much trickier. Kiss, Jepsen's second album and first since becoming a superstar, is the sound of an artist relentlessly trying to prove her staying power and transform the 'magic in a bottle' into a delectable cocktail. The result is an album that comes on a bit strong, but has the pop pedigree to avoid any major missteps." *