You remember "Call Me Maybe." Of course you do. Even if you never heard the song (in which case I assume you spent 2012 in, like, space), you've seen the sorority rush T-shirts quoting it and the Facebook event invites quoting it and the jokey business cards quoting it. But while making a reference to that song any time in the last few years was a good way to show that you were a person who was engaged with pop culture at the level of Sentient Human Being, its ubiquity meant that Carly Rae Jepsen was almost inevitably doomed to be written off as a much-maligned One Hit Wonder. Maybe she still will be. But if she is, it's your fault, you ungrateful Beer Olympics T-shirt makers of the world, because her debut album, Kiss, was full of bona fide slappers. "Call Me Maybe" was only like the fourth best song on there. Check out "This Kiss" or "Tiny Little Bows" if you want the real Jepsen experience.
Wisely, Carly Rae took some time out of the novelty act spotlight to perform on Broadway and let all those Ball Me Maybe softball league T-shirts find their way to the thrift shops of the world, but now she's back. She has a new song. It is called "I Really Like You." And sure, maybe there's something a little weird about it being the umpteenth Carly Rae Jepsen song about having a crush on someone, but goddammit this is a perfect pop song. We're talking textbook three-and-a-half-minute pop here.
The hook is big and euphoric sing-along stuff, and the lyrics are just specific enough to push it out of being generic while still managing to feel universal (who doesn't like watching TV with their crush?). A lyric like "oh, did I say too much? / I'm so in my head" may feel tossed-off, but holy shit if that isn't every person on the planet's internal monologue when they're talking to someone they're crushing on. And then there is this amazing, breathy bridge that should feel totally familiar to anyone who's not quite sure how to make the move on their crush that elevates things from Pretty Clear Interest But Possibly Just Harmless Flirting to For Real Though Let's Hang Out and Maybe Make Out territory. Just listen to her talk-sing these words: "I'm running out of time / going out of my mind / I need to tell you something / I need to tell you something."
It's an unfortunate reality that, in a post-1989 world, this song will almost inevitably get compared to Taylor Swift—which is not inaccurate, seeing as Taylor is the queen of the breathy semi-spoken bridge. But Carly Rae was onto this glossy post-disco upbeat pop sound a few years ago (seriously, go check out her last album), uh, before it was cool. Maybe now is the perfect time for it to hit! So set aside the critiques and give into the fact that you're about to send this to so many crushes. That flower she's holding on the cover might as well be a flame emoji for all the sweet Snapchats you're about to send of you singing this to that crush whose phone number you don't even have yet. Welcome to Bangerville, population this song, which is a banger.
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