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Carly Rae Jepsen’s Pop Music Universe Keeps Expanding

"Every word has to count," she says of writing a great pop song, "There's no filler -- every word is crucial"

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carly rae jepsen loneliest time interview
Carly Rae Jepsen, photo by Meredith Jenks/Illustration by Steven Fiche

    “Loneliness sounds sad, but I think it can be exhilarating and exciting, and I think it can be the most intimate feeling in a really special way,” says Carly Rae Jepsen, speaking with Consequence over Zoom in early October. She’s reminiscing on a night she had not too long ago — a lovely night, with a lovely man, she explains — that ended with her sitting on her roof, alone, staring at the moon.

    “I was feeling small, and excited, and grateful to be alive,” she remembers. “All of the songs on this album are trying to tap into whatever that ten minutes was that I had up there.”

    The record that spawned from this moment of inspiration, appropriately titled The Loneliest Time, arrives this Friday, October 21st. Its title track, released ahead of the album, is a fantastic collaboration with Rufus Wainwright that Jepsen describes as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to work with one of her personal heroes. The disco-drenched single has been making waves on TikTok, with casual listeners declaring that Carly Rae is here to save pop music. They might just be right.

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    What Jepsen understands about disco-inspired music is that a track in this vein should be as long and indulgent as possible.

    “Before we knew it, the song was five minutes long, and I kept saying we were going to shorten it, but we just couldn’t,” she says of “The Loneliest Time.” “The joy of getting to be in music at the age I’m at now is I’m less worried about things, and it’s just what I’m attracted to. I think that joy comes through in the song.”

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    Jepsen can design a pop song like a master craftsman in their workroom; her beloved 2015 album, EMOTION, has achieved something of cult classic status since its release, and her latest LP proves that she’s still thriving in her lane of ’80s-inspired sounds and aesthetics.

    Other tracks released ahead of the full album include “Western Wind,” “Beach House” (which includes a truly iconic line about the desire to harvest someone’s organs), and “Talking to Yourself,” which speaks for the lowkey delusional among us. There’s also the wonderful “So Nice,” the namesake of Jepsen’s ongoing tour, which was the last song to have made the cut in the final lineup for the album.

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