By Elliott Nguyen
Carly Rae Jepsen released “Dedicated Side B,” the follow-up album to her popular 2019 release, “Dedicated,” on May 21, rather unexpectedly. Jepsen had not released any promotional singles in conjunction with the record.
The move resembled her 2016 release of “Emotion Side B” after the fan-favorite “Emotion” album, though unlike “Emotion Side B,” this record is a full-length album. It has a similar style to its namesake, “Dedicated.”
The album starts off with “This Love Isn’t Crazy,” which establishes the upbeat, romantic tone that continues throughout the rest of the songs.
“Window,” one of the best songs on the record, begins the strongest part of it. The bass-driven track features artful guitars, piano, and solid vocals from Jepsen. In the lyrics, Jepsen pleads with a presumably former lover to return and open up to her.
But the next track, “Felt This Way,” is arguably the best of the album. The song features well-written lyrics and carefully arranged instruments. The tone of the song is also more mature, marking a growth from the puppy-love persona that made her famous with the hit “Call Me Maybe.”
“Stay Away” is a rather generic song that doesn’t stand out, and repeats some of the lyrics and vocal lines from “Felt This Way.” But the next track, “This Is What They Say,” is much better. There are moments where the song matches up poorly with Jepsen’s vocal style, but otherwise, the song’s catchy melodies and dancy beats make up for it.
The rest of the album isn’t particularly memorable. “Heartbeat” is a slower ballad, but an unremarkable one at that. “Summer Love” is a decent song, though its chorus is somewhat underwhelming after the strong verses. “Fake Mona Lisa” is better comparatively, though it only lasts two minutes, so there simply is not much of it in comparison to the other tracks on the album.
“Comeback,” featuring New Jersey pop band Bleachers, is the slow ballad that “Heartbeat” fails to be, and is quite melodic — unfortunately, though, the rest of the songs in the album all fall short in some way or another.
“Dedicated Side B” is ultimately a mediocre album that begins strong but tapers off towards the end. It has several very memorable songs, and others less so. Cary Rae Jepsen fans will enjoy it, but the musician doesn’t attempt to innovate with this release, and it is not a record likely to bring in many new listeners.