Carly Rae Jepsen
Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen follows her two summer hits — the ubiquitous crush-song “Call Me Maybe” and her duet with Owl City, “Good Time” — with a full-length U.S. album debut.
Kiss, including Jepsen’s collaborations with big-time songwriter-producers Max Martin and Dallas Austin, stays close to her proven “Call Me Maybe” formula.
Amidst sugary keyboards, thumping bottom beats and predictably bursting choruses, the 26-year-old singer whose revealing publicity photos make her look like a teen dream, has more crushes on more unavailable boys.
Jepsen sets the latter pattern with “Call Me Maybe,” a song expressing at least as much lust as crush. Billions of people must know the words by now. “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number. So call me, maybe.”
“Curiosity,” pushed by bouncing keyboards, steps into stalker territory. “I’m sick with love,” Jepsen confesses. “You know I’m gonna follow you home.” And Jepsen and her touring partner, some Canadian kid named Justin Bieber, sing about having crushes on each other in their duet, “Beautiful.”
Jepsen may photograph better than she sings, but she does have a nice, albeit narrow, voice.
She can also turn truly expressive, as she does for the longing-filled “More Than a Memory.” No doubt, too, that her hits and other Kiss songs are the official summer soundtrack for many a young life.
The songs on Bob Dylan’s latest album, Tempest, include an epic homage to his slain contemporary, John Lennon. “Roll On John” contains many Lennon references in the lyrics and a minimalist arrangement modeled after the late Beatle’s Plastic Ono Band album, especially that 1970 disc’s opening salvo, “Mother.”
“Shine your light,” Dylan rasps. “You burned so bright.”
Lennon blazed across the universe for a decade or so. The 71-year-old Dylan has burned continuously through the 31 years since Lennon’s 1980 murder. Tempest arrives in the 50th year since his self-titled 1962 Columbia Records debut.
Following the precedence set by Dylan’s critically acclaimed, commercially successful, award-winning albums of the past few decades, Tempest is another top-shelf Dylan release. It’s not that we haven’t heard him do it before, it’s just that he keeps doing it so well.
Dylan does classic country a la Hank Williams Sr. and Lefty Frizzell with opening song “Duquesne Whistle.” In his producer’s role, he records his ragged but right voice close, no sweetening by means of studio tricknology. Louisiana locals may well hear something familiar in “Soon After Midnight.” It sounds country, yes, but the song’s gentle sway also places it in the bittersweet realm of swamp-pop balladry. Dylan weds his characteristically dry lyrics to another slow-dancer, “Long and Wasted Years.” “I wear dark glasses to cover my eyes,” he explains. “There are secrets in there I can’t disguise.”
Louisiana zydeco music meets stomp-down Chicago blues in “Early Roman Kings.” Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo plays accordion for it. “I ain’t dead yet,” Dylan boasts. “My bells still ring.”
Dylan interprets the sinking of the Titanic in Tempest’s 13 minute-plus title track. Over a Celtic ballad lilt, he presents much storyteller detail. “The ship was going under,” he says as much as sings. “The roll was called up yonder. The angels turned aside.”
Yes, this old troubadour’s bells are still ringing.