Carly Rae Jepsen – Shy Boy (Single)

Schoolboy / Interscope Records

Release Date: June 23rd 2023

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Carly Rae Jepsen– Shy Boy (Single) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Shy Boy

For virtually all of my life (aside from the last few years), I haven’t had the inkling to listen to pop music. Actually, I don’t think that the statement I just mentioned is true. Over the years I have listened to pop music… but it was always attached to something that I deemed much more meaningful, inspiring, and relevant. It was always pop with another genre, or pop from a certain perspective. Not ‘straight up pop’. You see, Avril Lavigne was pop/rock, Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle both pop/CCM, Delta Goodrem was pop but from an Aussie perspective… and so the list goes on. Kelly Clarkson, Mandy Moore, Natalie Imbruglia, Vanessa Amorosi and Colbie Caillat are other ‘pop’ stars with another more vulnerable or rocky or edgy or reflective side to them (although right now, Mandy Moore is more ‘alternative’ than ‘pop’…), while Ed Sheeran- some version of pop- was a ‘thinking-man’s’ version of pop (pop with an intentional edge of writing deeper and more meaningful lyrics). Yes, indeed Backstreet Boys, One Direction and Westlife were all heavy pop in the sense that these were all boybands… yet none of them connected with me that much on a deeper level, and hence I was only a casual listener of their brand of pop. And of course, I listened to pop on Christian radio, but that was CCM- artists like MercyMe, Tenth Avenue North, Casting Crowns, Newsboys, Third Day, Big Daddy Weave, Sidewalk Prophets, Natalie Grant, Francesca Battistelli… you get the picture, right? And when you think about the pop on the radio right now… the mainstream pop music which said something superfluous and only spoke about drugs and sex and partying and having a good time… well I didn’t really want to touch that. Because that kind of pop was simply not edifying for my soul.

However, things were about to change with regard to me not listening heavily to ‘straight up pop’; as it was about a few years ago when I discovered Carly Rae Jepsen’s fun, bubbly, somewhat naïve sense of pop/dance music- and that brand of pop I instantly connected with. My brother Jon uploaded his blog about her as one of the most influential artists of all time in 2020– and though at the time I wasn’t entirely convinced at whether Carly really belonged in that list or not, I still powered on in reading the blog and watching the videos Jon embedded in the post. The result is me now loving Carly’s music, and essentially becoming a fan! Sure, I’m definitely not part of her target demographic (as she sings predominately angsty love songs masqueraded as EDM pop jams perhaps 90% of the time or even more!), but there’s something powerful and dare I say it, spiritual, about Carly’s music and her lyrics and just the way she delivers them. In a world where artists like Miley Cyrus, Olivia Rodrigo, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Halsey, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Tate McRae, BTS, Lizzo, Bebe Rexha and The Jonas Brothers rule the radio and the pop stratosphere, with their overall lyrics and themes not entirely wholesome (and that’s why I try to steer clear from artists like these, as they aren’t that enriching for me as a person and as a believer!); Carly’s music is refreshing and revitalising- as we remember that a seemingly ‘one-hit wonder’ (“Call Me Maybe”) definitely isn’t so, and that if you are sleeping on Carly, you better wake up very, very soon. In my opinion, Carly’s pop songs are so catchy, and fun for the whole family to listen to, and I for one will recommend Carly to whoever I meet, simply because I believe that her music will resonate with many.

Since we blogged about Carly, we’ve reviewed her single “Me And The Boys In The Band” (released only as a music video) as well as Carly’s album Dedicated Side B. You can read these reviews at your own pace, and you can check out Carly’s history on the ever-reliable Wikipedia– or you could use Google. But what I will say is this. Carly doesn’t really reinvent the wheel genre-wise or lyric-wise. The subject matter and the musical structure of KISS (2012) is very similar to EMOTION (2015) and Dedicated (2019); and while you may believe that that is a sign of an artist being stagnant and not growing, I for one applaud Carly for sticking to what she knows best and what she is good at. Doing one thing and doing it well, is far more admirable than trying a lot of things and failing, or only doing them half-heartedly. And now, as we fast forward to now, Carly is back with her brand-new album The Loneliest Time, which we reviewed. Her sixth album in total, we are treated to 16 vibrant, eclectic, joyous, celebratory, moody, angsty, poignant and quite powerful melodies. These songs are dance bops as well as ‘dance-in-the-living-room-when-no-one-is-watching’ type of pop songs; and I truly believe that Carly has delivered songs for every person on this album. It’d be unfair to say that this is Carly’s best album of her career… but what I do know is that The Loneliest Time is a project that will put a smile on your face. No doubt, the world was clamouring to immerse themselves into Taylor Swift’s already iconic and legendary new album Midnights, which released on the same day as Carly’s new album. And I’ve heard some of Midnights and it is truly magical and other-worldly in the best sense possible; so, I’d say that eagerness to be up to date on all things Taylor is indeed warranted. And I firmly believe that all of us are under no illusions- there’s no way that Carly could ever displace Taylor in terms of sales and popularity when comparing the two albums together. It’s just the way it is for Carly and other artists who have released their albums on the same day as Taylor, including Meghan Trainor, MercyMe, Matt Maher, and Josh Baldwin. But if you for some reason feel like you need a break from Taylor (because 20 songs of lyrical masterpieces need to be consumed in bite-size pieces); then Carly’s album is a great alternative as we celebrate life, relationships and the messy complexities and emotions in life that make us all human.

We’re not here to talk about The Loneliest Time though. We’re here to talk about “Shy Boy”, the lead single for Carly’s new album, the sister companion album to The Loneliest Time, tentatively called The Loveliest Time, set to be released sometime this year. A pop song at its core, Carly delivers a danceable track about the persona locking eyes with a ‘shy’ guy and her wanting him despite what her friends and others around her might say. A song that champions assertiveness amongst women, and female empowerment, this song highlights that women are allowed to make the first move in terms of dating too; while Carly indirectly challenges ‘shy boys’ to be more assertive and be more outgoing in their personal lives, so that they can attract more girls and be able to score a date and maybe a long-time partner. Could this song, masquerading as a pop song, be a song directed to guys about how to find their life partner?

Carly Rae Jepsen to me is one of the few finds that I never did expect, of this whole process of Jon and myself writing about influential artists, in my own opinion. I never knew that pop could sound so good before I listened to Carly’s music- and now that I have, I’m amazed at why she’s not as popular now than before during her “Call Me Maybe” days. While both Dedicated and Dedicated Side B are works of art within the musical genre of pop and EDM pop to be specific as Carly delves deep into the concept of love and how we as humans can sometimes make it more complicated than we need it to be; these two albums were perfect in the midst of COVID-19, as Carly engages, inspires and tugs at our emotions, reigniting our innate need to be closer to people and to ruminate upon the facets of love even if we do not yet have a partner. With these songs being very easy to dance to and being food for the soul as well; Carly’s reputation is sure to skyrocket with The Loneliest Time and with the upcoming the Loveliest Time. So what are you waiting for everyone? Check out The Loneliest Time as well as “Shy Boy”, and both Dedicated and Dedicated Side B (obviously after you hear Taylor’s new album though!). And then re-listen to these albums from Carly again- they’re so, so, so good! Well done, Carly, I can’t wait to hear what’s in store next for you! Who knew that singing about ‘meaty issues’ could sound so fun?

Score: 5/5

RIYL: Delta Goodrem, Kelly Clarkson, Dua Lipa, Selena Gomez, Julia Michaels, Halsey, Echosmith, Rachel Platten

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