It would be easy to regard Carly Rae Jepsen as forever belonging to 2012. That was the year the erstwhile Canadian Idol finalist broke through to U.S. audiences with “Call Me Maybe,” a single so undeniable, with a hook so insidiously catchy, that its pop culture ubiquity seemed inevitable from the moment the song graced American Top 40 radio.
The song spent nine weeks atop the Hot 100 chart and earned 2012′s song of the summer crown, and although another single, “Good Time” with Owl City, also became a Top 10 hit, “Call Me Maybe” was such a colossal smash that Jepsen’s career became defined by those syncopated strings and the three harmonious words in front of them. Kiss, the 2012 album that “Call Me Maybe” called home, did not enjoy a particularly long chart run, selling 289,000 copies to date according to Nielsen Music and failing to turn follow-up singles “This Kiss” and “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” into hits. Instead of quickly releasing a Kiss sequel, Jepsen spent three months starring on Broadway, and over two years working on new music. Two-and-a-half years removed from the amazing run of “Call Me Maybe,” Jepsen’s mainstream career is largely defined by that single, and may very well always be.
But here are two important things to keep in mind: despite its lack of multiple smashes, Kiss is a tremendous record, a triumphant collection of bubblegum music rightly heralded by pop addicts in the years following its release. And the follow-up to Kiss, which is slowly coming together, could be even better, based on many recent indicators.
Since the beginning of 2015, Jepsen has given us reasons to get legitimately excited about her second album for School Boy/Interscope Records. In January, Jepsen posted an Instagram photo of herself in the studio with Dev Hynes, the mastermind of Blood Orange, and songwriter/producer Ariel Rechtshaid. For those unfamiliar, these two guys have made some of the more compelling pop music of the 2010s so far. Rechtshaid was instrumental in shaping the sound of albums like Vampire Weekend‘s Modern Vampires of the City, Haim‘s Days Are Gone, Sky Ferreira‘s Night Time, My Time and Charli XCX‘s True Romance, among many other projects; meanwhile, Hynes worked closely with Solange on her True EP and produced Mutya Keisha Siobhan‘s underrated single “Flatline,” along with his critically lauded Blood Orange album, 2013′s Cupid Deluxe. Together, Rechtshaid and Hynes produced Ferreira’s captivating indie-pop single “Everything is Embarrassing”; imagining this pair creating something on par with that song for Jepsen is worth getting animated about.