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Music Reviews

MPAA Rating
Album
Curiosity
Genre
Pop
Performance
Reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its 16th week on the chart.
Record Label
Schoolboy Records, Interscope
RELEASED
September 20, 2011
Reviewer
Adam R. Holz
Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen

"Call Me Maybe"

Sometimes all an aspiring Canadian pop star really needs is a little help from a fellow Canuck, like, say … Justin Bieber.

Take 26-year-old singer Carly Rae Jepsen, for instance. A year after the British Columbia native placed third in the 2007 season of Canadian Idol, Jepsen's debut album produced four singles, only two of which eked their way onto her native country's Top 40 singles chart.

Nearly four years later, Jepsen signed with Schoolboy Records, the Interscope imprint run by Justin Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun. That fact alone tells you almost everything you need to know about the current trajectory of Jepson's career: straight up.

In March, Jepsen made her American television debut, singing "Call Me Maybe" on Ellen, where she was joined by … Justin Bieber. Any surprise that "Call Me Maybe" is now a Top 10 track in America (after already topping the charts in five other countries)?

Jepsen's breakthrough hit is a pure (or perhaps I should say, slightly impure) bubblegum pop ditty. On it, she playfully (and breathlessly) recalls her infatuation-at-first-blush encounter with a guy who made her pulse race. "Your stare was holdin'/Ripped jeans, skin was showin'/Hot night, wind was blowin'/Where you think you're goin', baby?"

Twitterpation triumphs, and she gives the guy her number: "Hey, I just met you," she sings. "And this is crazy/But here's my number/So call me, maybe?"

There's not much more to the song than that, really. Elsewhere, Jepsen says she'd exchange her very soul for a shot with this guy ("I trade my soul for a wish/Pennies and dimes for a kiss"). And, apparently, she gets her wish, because by the end, she's reminiscing about how much she had pined away for someone like this beau before serendipity struck and brought them together: "Before you came into my life/I missed you so bad/I missed you so bad."

As pop romance songs go these days, it's pretty tame stuff. Only mildly suggestive at worst. The accompanying video, though, turns up the steam factor several notches:

It begins with Jepsen spying on her neighbor, who's mowing the yard on a hot day. Like a scene out of a trashy romance novel (which is exactly what Jepsen has been reading, the camera shows us), she watches as the object of her hungry eyes removes his sweaty shirt to unveil his ripped, tattooed torso. Jepsen's fanning herself when he notices he's got an admirer, and she ducks below the window.

The song progresses, and Jepsen's bandmates (who are practicing in the garage) push her out to wash her car. She's wearing shorts and a skimpy tank top with a bright red bra clearly visible below it, and she strikes all sorts of saucy poses in an attempt to get her neighbor's attention as he works on his own car next door.

When she finally attracts his gaze and a smile, she falls to the ground in a lovesick stupor. He chivalrously comes over to help her up before the video takes an unexpected (and exceedingly unwarranted) twist. As Jepsen hurriedly scrawls her number on a piece of paper—so he can call her, maybe—he writes his number down and gives it to the guy playing guitar.

It's hard to know who's more shocked at this unexpected outcome—Carly Rae, her guitar player or the 27.5 million (and counting) YouTube viewers who've been drawn into a story they most probably thought would have a very different ending.

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