When an artist’s “Side B” material is just as good as their regular releases, you know they’re doing something right.
Having built anticipation for a Side B companion to her 2019 studio album Dedicated, Carly Rae Jepsen decided to bless us once and for all with its surprise release today.
Dedicated Side B, at twelve tracks long, follows Carly’s tradition of releasing a compilation of songs that didn’t make the final cut on her albums. In 2016, she dropped the Side B of her cult classic, Emotion, giving the world the gem of a song that was Cry.
In 2020, she’s done it again, and the result is a polished body of work that could most certainly stand its ground as an album of its own.
On opener This Love Isn’t Crazy, she reassures herself and her lover about the weight their emotions hold, by way of a euphoric track that instantly begs you to get grooving.
Second track Window slows the tempo a few notches but still keeps the playful flirtation that Carly has come to be known for. “Keep a window for me open / open for me always / please don’t lock the door”: Miss Jepsen wants it, and she wants you to know.
This Is What They Say, coming in at the midway mark, is a definite high point of the album. Calling to mind Montell Jordan’s This Is How We Do It, the song is undoubtedly the catchiest and most memorable of the album. The 8-bit intro. That bridge. How did this song not make it onto Dedicated?
Summer Love seems to be a quintessential Carly Rae Jepsen song title, and I’m actually surprised she hasn’t released a song with that name yet. With her breathy falsetto, the cowbells and those Mark Ronson strings, this one fits so well in the 80s revival that we’ve been seeing in 2020.
Comeback, featuring Bleachers, is a mid-tempo ballad with traces of Jack Antonoff all over it, some parts reminiscent of his recent work on Taylor Swift’s album. Album closer Now I Don’t Hate California After All is another tender Taylor-esque moment, with hints of her Imogen Heap co-write, Clean.
No one could have anticipated that Dedicated’s Side B would come at twelve tracks long, let alone have moments that outshine its original album. Where on Dedicated she seemed at times to be holding herself back, Side B sees a more untethered side to Carly, one where she lets go of the reins and embraces her Emotion. The result: a brilliant pop album, and telling proof that Miss Jepsen deserves more than just her status as a cult icon.