Dating in the 21st century might be a lonely time, but Carly Rae Jepsen has found a way to make an album around those experiences that’s as bright and hopeful as it is grounded.
From the euphoric “Sideways” to the heartbreak of “Go Find Yourself or Whatever,” on her sixth studio album, “The Loneliest Time,” the 36-year-old makes one thing clear: It’s rough out there in the dating world.
While the themes of “The Loneliest Time” are timeless, there’s a specificity to the experiences that reflect the modern age. Jepsen’s first single from the album, “Beach House,” is the best example of this. The kitschy song mirrors the experience of endless scrolling on dating apps. After describing a myriad of bad dating experiences and pleading with men to not view dating as hunting season, male vocals join in with tongue-in-cheek promises that get more preposterous as they go, from “I’m probably gonna never call you” to “I’m probably gonna harvest your organs.” It’s a sure-to-be camp classic from the Canadian pop icon.
Despite what are certainly lows described on “Beach House,” Jepsen’s optimism on “Surrender My Heart” shows she hasn’t given up on love quite yet. A highlight of the album, the synth bop opener finds her embracing vulnerability.
Throughout the LP are disco and ’80s influences, heard most strongly on the title track and “Far Away.” The pop anthems for which Jepsen is known are not in short supply, with softer tracks like “Bends” and “Go Find Yourself or Whatever” sprinkled in between. “Go Find Yourself or Whatever” is endearing in its empathy, opening with an acoustic guitar and building to include an electric guitar, mandolin and sitar.
“The Loneliest Time” is a collection of songs that encompass the highs and lows of searching for love, a journey full of second chances, mistakes and elation. It can be lonely at times, but as she articulates on the opener, her past experiences haven’t stopped her from opening her heart: “I wanna be brave enough for everything.”
—Ragan Clark, The Associated Press