A Carly Rae Jepsen song is an irony-free zone. Unlike with the Beyoncés and Taylor Swifts of the world, there are no meta-narratives about fame and personal lives to untangle, no satirical winks, and few expeditions to unexpected musical traditions. It’s just 2010s pop technology recreating 1980s pop carefreeness, reliably spitting out giddy, deeply felt, and well-crafted tributes to such simple things as falling in love, falling out of love, and …
Going to the store!
Those little videos above and all the other ones like them online are the result of the internet discovering the fabulous utility of “Store,” from Jepsen’s new collection Emotion: Side B. The song is technically about walking out on a relationship by saying you’re going out to pick up some seltzer or something, but really it’s destined to become a soundtrack for actually just going out to pick up seltzer or something. Those hard string jolts, that jock-jam rhythm, the way Jepsen yelps “store” as “stoh” (?)—it’s music to skip to, and unlike most such music, it describes a mundane activity you might well be doing as you listen.
Jepsen is a very good songwriter of the mundane, putting little images and unique but simple phrases into her love stories to make memorable. Her mega-smash debut, “Call Me Maybe,” hinged on one word, “maybe,” that’s underused in pop music but overused in real life. “Store” is similar in that attention to relatable detail, as are the other seven songs on Side B, an add-on to her great 2015 release Emotion. It’s her most consistent and unapologetically retro group of songs yet—the highs are not the highest of her career, but there’s not an un-strutworthy song in the bunch.