Carly Rae Jepsen, against all odds, has become somewhat of an indie darling. Her last two projects have been very well received by typically indie-leaning critics, and it’s not hard to see why. Plato spoke of the ideal form, the fundamental “essence” of any given thing; Carly Rae Jepsen’s music is that ideal form, the closest you can get to the pure, unadulterated essence of pop.
Her latest two singles, ‘Now That I Found You’ and ‘No Drug Like Me’, are the same. ‘Now That I Found You’ is the safer, more traditional of the two, leaning almost too generic in its execution. Still, it does what it needs to, evoking an inescapable genuine sense of joy; her exclamation of “Now that I found you” before the final chorus, an octave higher than before, is a pop device utilised to maximum effect.
‘No Drug Like Me’ is the more interesting of the two. Sonically, it sits at the intersections of the 80s and 90s, all shimmering synths propelled by a grooving bassline. Her voice, full of longing and desperation, is reduced to a whisper at times, the ribbon on a gift perfectly wrapped in sparkling red wrapping paper.
If you could levy a criticism at the singles, it’s possibly that they’re predictable. But these criticisms miss that that’s entirely the point. Pop music excels at predictability, it excels at taking the formula and bringing you on emotional journeys you’ve been on a thousand times before. These two singles, like all of Jepsen’s, do just that. The song rises where you want it to rise, it builds where you want it to build, and it gives you its peak where you expect it to peak, and it does all that without cynicism. It’s pop music for people who love pop music as a form, and it’s Carly Rae doing what Carly Rae does best.