Review: Carly Rae Jepsen Showcases a 24-Carat Voice on ‘The Loveliest Time’

Carly Rae Jepsen
The Loveliest Time
4/5 Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest LP The Loveliest Time, a 13-track companion to her 2022 LP The Loneliest Time, has arrived. Recorded between tour dates in several studios, the new album at first resembles the flickers of hot sun beams, the stuff a rollerblader sees on a San Diego sidewalk. Bright, hot, golden. Elusive? Maybe.

Opening with “Anything to Be With You,” Jepsen sets a tone that’s a mix of grocery store music, professional choir, and pop tour de force. I could be friends with your friends, she sings. She is trying to welcome you in with glinting slices of sound and a voice like organic honey. The second track, though, is more of a dance song. Now that you two are acquainted, it’s time for the disco floor. You have rugs to cut while hearing, “Kamikaze.”

With the third track now going, one thing becomes clear: Jepsen is focused on two goals: exploring her thoughts on love (and hoping you fall into it with her) and using sounds that will stick in the place in your brain wherever cravings are born. Yes, the album’s third song, “After Last Night,” includes bright beats and ambient beds that say: you never need to leave this place.

Jepsen, who will head out on some tour dates beginning July 28 in her native Vancouver, B.C. (see full list of dates below), keeps the good vibes going with the mellow “Aeroplanes” and the swelling “Shy Boy.” On the album, she prioritizes beats and sounds more than emotional tricks of, say, vocal vibrato. On “Shy Boy,” Jepsen takes a subtle chapter out of the Black Keys’ stadium sounds. It’s big, like a skyscraper.

Next, on “Kollage,” Jepsen sets a mood. Suddenly, we are in a dark room. Big cushions. Purple neon light. The grass outside is blue under the moonlight. Sure, we can open a bottle of wine, why not? Then “Shadow” keeps the mood set but adds a bit of faster-paced percussion. An espresso after your meal. All heck breaks loose with “Psychedelic Switch,” which could double for a Cher disco hit.

So far, Jepsen has us in the palm of her hand. Every song, every beat, every intonation has been sublimely chosen. We are the stars under the stars. Truly, the album is filled with energy like a Domino’s pizza with mozzarella. Every rim, ridge, corner, and topping is wrapped in uplift. On “Come Over,” Jepsen sings directly about what she wants. Come over, come over.

With three tracks left to go, Jepsen opens “Put It To Rest” with a dramatic piano riff. But like the rest of the album, the instrument has been treated with effects and accentuated by strings, snare, and Jepsen’s 24-carat voice. It’s somehow a combination of the ’80s and 2020s. The penultimate track, “Stadium Love,” offers that big kick drum, it’s as if to say, Are you sure you’re ready to leave us? This is the song contestants will be covering on The Voice in future years.

Jepsen’s top-notch record concludes with “Weekend Love.” Perhaps all this effort, work, and emotion were just for a two-night stand, after all? It would certainly be in the nature of the “Call Me, Maybe?” singer to toy with our hearts. Yet, we know, like she does, we’ll be back for more.

Tour dates for Carly Rae Jepsen

July 28  Vancouver, BC  PNE Amphitheatre – w/ boygenius

July 29   George, WA  The Gorge Amphitheater – w/ boygenius

July 30  Bend, OR  Hayden Homes Amphitheater – w/boygenius

August 1 Chicago, IL  The Metro – Lollapalooza Aftershow w/ Kid Sistr – SOLD OUT

August 3 Chicago IL  Lollapalooza Festival

August 5 Montreal, QC  Osheaga

August 7  New York, NY  The Rooftop at Pier 17 – SOLD OUT

August 8 New York, NY  The Rooftop at Pier 17 – SOLD OUT

August 11  Los Angeles, CA  The Bellwether – SOLD OUT

August 12  Los Angeles, CA  The Bellwether – SOLD OUT

August 13 Los Angeles, CA          The Bellwether

Photo by Gus Stewart/Redferns

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