I'll be your sinner in secret
When the lights go out"
Carly Rae Jepsen (born November 21, 1985) is a singer-songwriter from Mission, British Columbia of Anglo-Danish descent. In 2007, she entered the fifth season of Canadian Idol and ended with a third-place finish, and would go on to release her debut album, Tug of War, to mild success in her native Canada. Three years later, however, Jepsen skyrocketed to fame when her single "Call Me Maybe" was praised by both Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez on Twitter, propelling her onto the world stage.
"Call Me Maybe" would go on to reach #1 in nineteen countries (including the USA and Canada) making Jepsen the best-selling female Canadian artist since Avril Lavigne released "Girlfriend" in 2007. She's also the best-selling Canadian Idol contestant in terms of singles, as well as the only one popular outside her native Canada. It became the very definition of a viral hit, spawning dozens upon dozens of parody videos and celebrity covers over the summer of 2012. No matter where you went or what you did, at one point or another, you knew all the lyrics to "Call Me Maybe".
Jepsen's music has been described as a mixture of Taylor Swift and Robyn: cute, sweet lyrics about love and breakups mixed with upbeat synth pop and dance tracks. "Call Me Maybe" has been described as quite literally the perfect pop song. Jepsen went on tour with Justin Bieber in 2013 to promote her album, Kiss.
In February 2014, she made her acting debut as the title character in the Broadway version of Cinderella (Rodgers and Hammerstein), and in March the next year released her comeback single "I Really Like You". Its music video quickly became a Memetic Mutation for depicting Tom Hanks lip-syncing the song while going on his typical day. In August 2015, her second album E•MO•TION was released to disappointing sales but massive critical acclaim, with second single "Run Away with Me" being particularly praised, turning Jepsen into a cult star, beloved among music tastemakers. Jepsen also provided the vocals for "Everywhere You Look", the rearranged theme song for the Netflix show Fuller House, which premiered on February 26, 2016. The same year she took on the role of Frenchy in Grease: Live.
Her fourth album, Dedicated, was released on May 14, 2019, to favorable reviews and a warm reception by her fans. A follow-up album, Dedicated: Side B, was released on May 21, 2020.
- Tug of War (2008)
- Curiosity (EP) (2012)
- Kiss (2012)
- E•MO•TION (2015)
- E•MO•TION: Side B (EP) (2016)
- Dedicated (2019)
- Dedicated: Side B (2020)
- The Loneliest Time (2022)
- The Loveliest Time (2023)
Here's my number, so trope me maybe:
- Abandoned Pet in a Box: In the "Now that I Found You" video, the main character finds her beloved cat alone in a cardboard box in the rain.
- Actor Allusion: In the "Your Type" video, the narrator refers to the plot as a 'Cinderella' story, a reference to her role as Cinderella in Broadway.
- Anti-Christmas Song: "It's Not Christmas Till Somebody Cries" is a lighthearted one, since it's about being back at home with your Dysfunctional Family; the holidays are less "magical" and more "neverending parade of stress." It's ultimately subverted when the narrator admits she's just learned to embrace it—dysfunctional or not, it's still nice to be spending Christmas with her family.
- Anti-Love Song: "Let's Be Friends" is a cheery song released around Valentine's Day...based entirely around a desire for whoever Carly was dating to go away and never come back.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In "Beach House", we hear three guys Carly had (presumably failed) dates with recount their plans for her:Got a weekend in paradise and I'm probably gonna never call you
I got big plans to take care of you, I just need to borrow ten thousand dollars
I got a lake house in Canada and I'm probably gonna harvest your organs
- Break-Up Song: "Sour Candy", "Tonight I'm Getting Over You", "E•MO•TION", "When I Needed You" (in a more subtle way) and "Love Again" from her Japanese bonus tracks. "Party For One" from her fourth album Dedicated.
- Costume Porn:
- Changes her costumes in her Music Video for "This Kiss."
- And on a more consistent level, she jumps between different costumes and hairstyles for practically every live concert she does.
- Cover Version: Of John Denver's "Sunshine On My Shoulders" and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now", plus her numerous covers on Canadian Idol.
- Don't Explain the Joke: In "Guitar String / Wedding Ring":"If you cut a piece of guitar string
I would wear it like it's a wedding ring
Wrapped around my finger, you know what I mean
(You play my heart string)"
- Double Entendre:
- "Curiosity" delivers the line "Don't call me up just so I can please you".
- "Party For One" is about loving yourself and taking care of yourself after a breakup. Whether she means emotionally or through masturbation (or both) depends on how dirty your mind is.
- Dude Magnet: In "Call Me Maybe," she claims to be one:And all the other boys try to chase me
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Tug of War is a folk album, which contrasts greatly from the top 40 pop of Kiss and the indie and New Wave influenced synthpop of Emotion and Dedicated.
- Fanservice Car Wash: In the "Call Me Maybe" video, she washes the car in short shorts and a thin white tank top in an attempt to catch the eye of the next-door neighbor.
- Female Gaze: The "Call Me Maybe" video idolizes a guy who can't even start a lawnmower, but damn if he doesn't something sentence a shirt off with his muscles.
- Going to the Store: "Store" manages to make a Break-Up Song sound bouncy and fun by saying this as a form of letting her partner down gently.
- Hilarity Ensues:
- Her zany sitcom shenanigans in the "Call Me Maybe" video.
- The entirety of "Party for One" is one very, very comedic take on what happens when you get people alone in their rooms with no one to see the things they do.
- Ignore the Fanservice: In the "Call Me Maybe" video, her crush is blind to her blatant attempts to get his attention.
- Incompatible Orientation: At the end of the video for "Call Me Maybe", it turns out that the dude she's been obsessing over is gay. This is followed by Carly giving an expression of pure, undiluted "WTF". And the guy is interested in the guitarist in Carly's band who also looks at him incredulously, implying this trope again.
- Just Friends: A lot of Carly's songs deal with being friendzoned, but Your Type and Fever in particular.My breath was lost when you said "friends", well that could work but I'm still hot for you (from Fever)...That I'm the type of girl you call more than a friend (from Your Type)
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: "I Didn't Just Come Here to Dance" ("If you know what I mean... do you know what I mean?") off of the deluxe Emotion album.
- Letting the Air out of the Band: "Call Me Maybe". In the video, this is timed perfectly to the revelation that her future date is actually gay.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "E•MO•TION" (in subject of possibly a bad break-up and revenge), "When I Needed You" (in subject of unrequited, if not wasted, love) and "Love Again" (in subject of letting go) all sounds upbeat.
- Lyrics/Video Mismatch: "Call me maybe," somewhat. Though both the video and the song are about hitting on a guy, in the lyrics, the narrator has at least some sort of relationship with her crush; in the video, the guy is only interested in one of her bandmates.
- Manly Gay: The guy she likes in the "Call Me Maybe" video.
- Meet Cute: The "Now That I Found You" video ends with her meeting a cute guy who's found her cat.
- Mood Whiplash: "Store" from E•MO•TION: Side B. Its verses are slow and melancholic but its chorus is so upbeat and hilarious, both musically and lyrically.
- Ms. Fanservice: Went fully into this territory for the Dedicated era, contrasting against her more modest Tug Of War-era garb and "girl next door" style for the Kiss Era.
- Oh, Crap!: Jepsen's reaction toward her crush at the very end of the "Call Me Maybe" video when she witnesses him give one of her male bandmates his phone number. She's completely shocked at this.
- Older Than They Look: Just looking at her, you'd be forgiven for thinking that she was in either her late teens or early twenties. In reality, she's actually in her mid-thirties.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Within Dedicated, an album largely consisting of her usual reconstructed 80's-inspired pop sound, there's "I'll Be Your Girl", an Indie Pop and Ska Punk-inspired ditty with a reggae-style beat. By Carly's admission, it's also the first time that her lyrics ventured into genuinely brutal territory, depicting jealousy in a pointed and personally bitter way.
- Precision F-Strike: Technically, and not the F word at that. Carly rarely - if ever - swears in her songs, though it occasionally happens. That said, she outright calls someone a dick in "Let's Be Friends", twice, no less.
- "Surrender My Heart" off The Loneliest Time has Carly drop her first real f-bomb in the song's second verse note ; this opens the record, by the way.
- Retraux: Much of her signature sound starting from E•MO•TION is based around being a love letter to 80's pop music. With their bouncy dance beats and vintage synths, you could very easily pass off her albums as being a few decades older than they really are.
- The Runner-Up Takes It All: For a while, Canadian Idol Season 5 winner Brian Melo had the best career of the singers that season, if only because his winner's single hit #11 on the Canadian Hot 100. A few of the winners such as Ryan Malcolm and Kalan Porter had number one hits on the old Canadian charts, but that chart used the outdated method of counting only single sales (for example, Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" remake stayed in the top 20 for over three years!). Four years later, third-placer and then two-hit wonder Jepsen releases the single "Call Me Maybe," which not only became the show's first top 10 hit, but also reached number-one. But that was only just the beginning. Shortly after the song reached the top, Justin Bieber tweeted that he was a fan of the song and made a video of it with his friends. With millions of people hearing about Carly for the first time ever, her song proceeded to top over ten other national charts including the Hot 100 in the United States, and become a full-fledged meme, especially after a Barack Obama-inspired parody was released. "Call Me Maybe" remains the only song by a Canadian Idol contestant to be a major hit outside of Canada; likewise Jepsen is the only act from the show most non-Canadians are familiar with.
- Rhymes on a Dime: "Higher" has five near-rhymes back-to-back and fast-paced in the chorus (rest, second-best, mess, blessed, confess).
- She has a song called "Alice in Wonderland".
- "Bucket" samples the old children's song "There's A Hole In My Bucket".
- "Everything He Needs" from Dedicated interpolates the chorus from — of all things — "He Needs Me", a song written by Harry Nilsson and performed by Shelley Duvall in the 1980 Popeye movie.
- Silly Love Songs: "Alice in Wonderland", "Call Me Maybe", "Guitar Strings", "I Really Like You", "All That", "Higher", "Picture", "This Love Isn't Crazy", "Window", "Now That I Found You" and "Summer Love".
- Sophisticated as Hell: Not her, but someone referring to her. Judge Adalberto Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit cited "Call Me Maybe" as an example of equivocal consent to be called in his opinion in Schweitzer v. Comenity Bank, 866 F.3d 1273, 1278 (11th Cir. 2017).
- Stock Rhymes: "Call Me Maybe" rhymes "crazy" and "baby" with "maybe", while "This Kiss" rhymes "this" and "kiss."
- Time Lapse: The video for "Good Time" is literally a day at the beach.
- Twist Ending: When the guy she likes turns out to be gay in the "Call Me Maybe" video.
- Vocal Evolution: Her voice has changed to a degree between her first album and the present day, with Carly using a higher octave for the vast majority of her music from the EMOTION-era onwards.
- Wham Shot:
- The "Call Me Maybe" video ends with Jepsen's lover giving one of her male bandmates his phone number, revealing he's gay and she's not very happy about this.
- A more comedic version for the "Now That I Found You" video, which depicts Carly addressing the camera whilst in bed, as if she's talking to her lover after a romantic night...and then it reveals that her bed partner is a cat.
- Underwater Kiss: At the end of the music video for "This Kiss".
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: Nicki Minaj in the remix of "Tonight I'm Getting Over You".