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‘Talking to Yourself’ Review: Not Carly Rae Jepsen’s Best

3 stars

Single cover for Carly Rae Jepsen's "Talking to Yourself."
Single cover for Carly Rae Jepsen's "Talking to Yourself." By Courtesy of Carly Rae Jepsen / 604 / School Boy / Interscope
By Siena E. Lerner-Gill, Contributing Writer

“Talking to Yourself” is the newest single released off of Carly Rae Jepsen’s upcoming album “The Loneliest Time.” The track joins “Western Wind'' and “Beach House,” the other two singles released prior to the album’s Oct. 21 release. Together, the three singles signify a departure from Jepsen’s loved-up and upbeat album “Dedicated,” both thematically and sonically leaning in slightly darker directions than listeners have come to expect from the “Call Me Maybe” singer, previously known for her unapologetically glitter-infused pop.

“Western Wind”’s more subdued serenade certainly falls outside of the Venn diagram of excited pop bangers about heartbreak that Jepsen rules with such talent. “Beach House'' is more similar to her previous work, as approaching single life with comedy or even joy is nothing new for Jepsen. But the song, although hilarious, still has a surprisingly pessimistic outlook on the dating pool. “Talking to Yourself,” the newest of the three, feels the most like Jepsen’s previous work, complete with an endearingly desperate lyric and 2010s electronic production. In fact, the less confident refrain “are you thinking of me” and first line “I was always invisible” make the song feel like it would fit right in with Jepsen’s 2015 album “Emotion,” which, as well as unbothered bops like “Boy Problems,” features intensely vulnerable songs like “All That” and “Your Type.” However, the confidence that surged through “Dedicated” doesn’t appear on any of the first three singles from “The Loneliest Time,” and the title of the new album suggests a much darker theme.

This is not to say that Jepsen has gone full goth. “Talking to Yourself” has a punching, belt-worthy chorus and ’80s influences that make it just as danceable as listeners might want. The combination of its lyrical clarity and the millennial whoop in the pre-chorus make it a perfect third single for the album, reminding listeners of Jepsen’s pop prowess and lending itself to grocery stores and brightly colored commercials.

Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t quite measure up to the expectations Jepsen set with her previous two albums. The end of the chorus feels preemptive. The fragmentation of Jepsen’s vocals throughout the song is completely unnecessary and takes away from the relatability that she usually nails. Additionally, now that she has released three songs from the new album, concerns arise about the connective tissue holding them together. “Emotion” and “Dedicated” were both lyrical and sonic masterpieces, stuffed to the brim with strength, pain, and clear throughlines tying the tracks together. “Western Wind” is the best of the three singles released so far, and it’s exciting to see Jepsen trying on a new sound. Yet, there doesn’t seem to be a clear connection between the first three songs.

It could be that these three songs are not good predictors of the cohesion or themes of the rest of the album. However, as Oct. 21 draws nearer, one might prepare for more a patchwork quilt of an album than the concise and cohesive work Jepsen has perfected.

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