Carly Rae Jepsen called E•MO•TION an 80s album, not because of its glossy pop production, but in the way so many classic pop albums of that decade seamlessly flowed from opening note to the closing bar, sounding as fresh today as the day the were recorded. It was a bold and brave move, given that many of her contemporaries are more keen on stringing together a handful of single-worthy songs, padding the package with filler and calling it a record. It may also be the reason why E•MO•TION didn’t catch fire the way it should have. Even with stellar singles bursting with unforgettable hooks, E•MO•TION is best appreciated as a full album.
Jepsen reportedly worked on over 200 songs for E•MO•TION, one of which is this summer’s first feel-good pop anthem, “Cut to the Feeling”. More than any song from E•MO•TION or last year’s E•MO•TION: Side B collection, “Cut to the Feeling” reverberates with an inescapable 80s pop euphoria. Borrowing the opening chimes of Madonna’s “Lucky Star”, “Cut to the Feeling” explodes in day-glo colours and exudes the kind of ostentatious pop sheen that would have shredded the Hot 100 in 1984. Thirty three years ago, it would have laid waste to “Let’s Hear it for the Boy”, “Time After Time”, and anything off the Flashdance soundtrack. I’ll concede that “When Doves Cry” would have put it in its place sooner rather than later, but still, you get the picture: “Cut to the Feeling” would have been huge back then.
It should be huge now, too. There’s something in the way Jepsen warbles out that chorus, a vulnerability that makes her endearing, and makes us powerless to refuse her demands. “I wanna play where you play with the angels,” she pouts, “I wanna wake up with you all in tangles.” Little does Carly Rae Jepsen know, she’s already got us tangled up, tongue-tied, and hanging on her every emotion. Oh what a feeling “Cut to the Feeling” evokes.