September 17th, 2012 7:09am

A Place I Want To Go

Carly Rae Jepsen “Tiny Little Bows”

Whether by accident or design, Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album Kisspositions her as a new Canadian version of Kylie Minogue, and it’s wonderful. Jepsen, like Minogue, wouldn’t make sense as a pop “bad girl,” her voice and look is appealing because she seems genuinely perky, optimistic and sweet. Following Kylie’s example is brilliant because, despite what people might have expected from her, she found a way to make her youthful style age very well. The trick? Focus on conveying feelings of intense infatuation, because that experience remains fresh and powerful through life, even if just as a nostalgic memory for those in long term relationships.

Another similarity to Minogue is that she sounds best in elegantly composed pop songs with a touch of classiness in the arrangement. She wouldn’t sound right in something that felt “edgy,” or particularly indebted to hip-hop or R&B production, but she is right at home in clean, precise dance pop with a bit of strings. “Tiny Little Bows,” a song primarily written and produced by Dallas Austin, makes the most of her “Call Me Maybe” strengths while nudging in a more adult direction. It’s another euphoric song about a crush, but there’s more complication and angst, which is at least partly expressed with a sped-up sample from Sam Cooke’s “Cupid.”

The most interesting connection between “Tiny Little Bows” and “Call Me Maybe” is that its writers seem to recognize that part of what made the latter song connect with people wasn’t just its gloriously catchy hooks, but in the way the melody lodged the words in your head. There’s just something really compelling about the way “I just met you and this is crazy” unfolds, as if every time you hear it, some simple part of your brain is hanging on the sentence as it forms and you don’t know where it will go. “Tiny Little Bows” is a bit more abstract. I am not quite certain what she’s getting at with “how do you think it goes with those tiny little bows,” but it’s a vivid image and the close internal rhyme scheme of goes/those/bows makes my brain light up. A lot of the magic in pop is delighting in combinations of words that don’t mean much at face value but come out sounding like pure genius when paired with the just the right melodies and beats.

Buy it from Amazon.

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