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Carly Rae Jepsen Somerset House

Written by on July 13, 2022

Carly Rae Jepsen provides a brisk but bright set during the Somerset House Summer Series.

Weather you love, loathe or file her away in the guilty pleasure section of your brain, even the most cynical reader would have to consider that there is perhaps no one better suited to reflect the summertime festival mood than Carly Rae Jepsen.

The cultural behemoth ‘Call Me Maybe’ is in many ways emblematic of much of its author’s other work.

The 2012 smash is as exuberant as a playful puppy, has the carefree optimism of a schoolgirl crush and yes, more cheese than Dairylea Dunkers.

This sort of blue sky buoyancy is the ideal platform to help a paying public castaway their troubles and dance the night away.

Jepson lives up to this bright eyed perception in her latest and last stop on her European tour, at London’s Somerset House.

From opener ‘No Drug Like Me’ to the send off ‘Cut To The Feeling’ the crowd is treated to bright electronic pop designed to instantly capture the ear and get feet moving. Add in the superstar’s over the top hooks, and the fans always have something to get stuck into.

After a nice little rock riff to herald the Canadian singers arrival, she gets straight down to business. Bouncy album title track, ‘Emotion’ and ’Run Away With Me’ are wheeled out early. The latter even retains its distinctive electronic horn, which billows out.

The triple threat, not only serve as pace setters for the evening, but also provide an excellent demonstration of the vocal talent of CRJ.

Weather crooning about Julien, Sweetly proclaiming “ he needs me, he needs me, he needs me”, or merely asking “who gave you eyes like that, said you could keep them”, the artist’s voice retains its strength throughout.

What’s more, Jepson is able to Persist over the din without losing the charmingly saccharine quality from her pipes.

It’s a trait that should not be overlooked. The sugary style really helps to get across the unbridled hope and expectation of young love. This is achieved while never losing the free and easy spirit.

The majority of the hour-long set is full of ear-worm lines, and easy listening fizzy pop melodies. Even those who hadn’t heard the likes of ‘I Really Like You’, or ‘Boy Problems’, before the evenings entertainment surely had the chorus’ down pat and the tunes swirling round there head after the first go round.

In a testament to the success of the universal lyrics the punters happily scream out an entire verse on ‘When I Needed You’

The set is largely a faithful recreation of what you would hear on a studio recording, but that doesn’t stop the backing band from adding their own flare along the way. The saxophonist impresses with a brief Solo on ‘Want You In My Room‘,the guitarist takes a chance to rock the crowd, and others cheerily pump the concert goers up.

For the most part, the supporting musicians compliment Jepson well. Unfortunately, there are one or two hiccups on an otherwise perfect scorecard.

The drums boom out the beat all night long, with the show’s star doing just enough to be heard above them. The first ditty doesn’t quite get the mix right though, with the drum strokes, sounding like popping fireworks.

While belting out the tunes, the headliner patrols her stage with all the energy of a box, to box midfielder. Instead of putting in crunching slide tackles, the singer songwriter, is instead happy to crouch down and meet the people in the front row or get them waving along to the likes of ‘Gimmie Love’.

Carly may not stop dancing around the stage, but she doesn’t say all that much aside from the occasional 10 second tit bit.

The faithful don’t seem to mind, and are eagerly enthralled by physical calls to action. Whether that be to waive their arms, sing when pointed at, or clap to the beat.
As an infamous Disney Sea-witch once said, “Don’t underestimate the importance of body language.“

This isn’t the night for deep personal reflections, or more in-depth discussions of how songs came to be. There simply isn’t time for that.
At just 62 minutes, it’s a short night’s work for all concerned. Most of the heavy hitters, get a run out, save the Owl City duet ‘Good Time’.

There is also no room for anything from the latest LP Dedicated Side B or bops like ‘Party For One’ and ‘Drive’.

The former is a boisterous ode to self love, which can’t fail to lift spirits, while the latter is pure bubblegum fun about a crush. Their perky outlook would have felt right at home next to tunes with less angst than Mickey Mouse.

Overall, Carly Rae Jepsen offers up a joyful light-hearted evening. At just an hour long the otherwise excellent track-list is let down by being far too short.

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