These days, it’s a struggle to find something that brings you pure joy, but on May 21, our queen Carly Rae Jepsen delivered with Dedicated Side B, giving us 43 blissful minutes of glorious pop. It perked us up so much that we couldn’t help but gush about it. Hence, this article. Here are 8List and friends’ favorite tracks from the new record.
Sure, “This Love Isn’t Crazy” is a banger of an opening track, but the song that’s been on the top of my list so far is “Window”, which comes off strong right off the bat with cheeky freshness. It screams empowered female as it reverses the role of a coy object of attention and a confident pursuer, this being Carly Rae, declaring that “you are the one, and I need your love”. Ironically, this song exudes BDE.
Carly has a way with making openness with one’s innermost thoughts so endearing, and probably also what makes her music so unique and personal for people, because she happen to be the “relatable queen” we’ve all been waiting for. Also, note her fascination with the concept of letting people in their rooms, albeit always through the window. It’s an invitation for people to allow themselves to be vulnerable to the call of love.
— Joyce Placino
All hail Queen Carly’s return! Not that she ever really went anywhere except on loop, but Dedicated Side B is the gift we didn’t know we needed — the sudden flash of strobe lights at the end of the dark tunnel of quarantine, full of sure-fire bops to body roll to once we can go out dancing again. (Until then, alone in our bedrooms with our friends on Zoom.)
Track 4 on the B-Side has been on repeat since it dropped. Carly’s no stranger to crafting catchy AF hooks set to melodies that are the stuff of 80s pop dreams, her poignantly relatable lyricism a tour de force when it comes to creating concise (and cathartic) narratives within each song, but “Stay Away” just hits differently.
When she sings “don’t know where your head is now, I’ve been only thinking ‘bout us,” it’s the kind of honest we can only be in our journals and on dancefloors. When she asks “my home is your body, how can I stay away?” it’s with the kind of soft vulnerability that aches. When she challenges, “if my love’s too strong for you, walk away”, it’s the kind of brave we all wish we could be out loud.
Tell us, how are we supposed to stay away?
— Alexis Betia
“Felt This Way”
I’ve always had a soft spot for CRJ’s slower tracks (shout-out to “All That” from Emotion), and my fave track from Dedicated Side B is no exception to this rule. Though it appears earlier in the album, “Felt This Way” is actually a reworking of the following track “Stay Away”. They share some of the same lyrics and some of the same melodies, but “Felt This Way” replaces the disco dance beats of the original with soft synthpop instrumentals, creating something that feels more raw and vulnerable.
While “Stay Away”‘s take on yearning is more in-your-face and assertive, “Felt This Way” is the version that’s stripped of the barely-there bravado, leaving us with something that feels more desperate and raw. While “Stay Away” is a demand, “Felt This Way” is a plea. And while the original shows us the Tita Carly who’s a boss, a Type A woman who takes matters in her own hands and claims the man that she wants as her own, “Felt This Way” is an honest-to-goodness confession of love; a desperate appeal10 to be loved back, no pretenses, just pure feelings.
— Cristina Morales
So Carly Rae Jepsen must have heard our desperate pleas for any sort of help to remain sane during this quarantine. It looks like B-sides to her albums are now becoming a tradition and I’m not complaining. I mean, have you heard Emotion Side B? That one was explosive! True to her tweet, Dedicated Side B had tracks that would “make yah dance your pants off” but for this album, I found myself favoring the mellow ones better.
From the moment I first heard “Heartbeat,” I fell in love with it. This particular ballad had Carly writing lyrics about toeing the line between baring her feelings for the guy she likes or reigning it all in because “you’re better off without me.” In retrospect, it has pretty generic lyrics but the way it was sung (the dreamy backing vocals that swell as the song goes on!) will make you want to pine after a non-existent non-boyfriend. If that’s the kind of pain you want to inflict on yourself, go ahead and give it a listen.
— Kyzia Maramara
“Let’s Sort the Whole Thing Out”
I’m not so sure CRJ wanted to place “Let’s Sort The Whole Thing Out” right after two steamy, sexcentric songs, “Summer Love” and “Fake Mona Lisa”. Then again, it just might be part of its genius. “Let’s Sort The Whole Thing Out” pops out in Dedicated Side B as if she were suddenly in candy land, driving a Mario Kart and missing all the power-ups but having too much fun, not really winning the race but beating her partner to the finish line anyway.
I love how the song’s videogame-like tone evokes some sort of reminder of the innocence of falling in love, that it can still happen after everything you know now. Someone will want you and care enough to say, “I love you, this is a new thing. One more drink. Let’s get to the bottom of it. I love you, let’s sort the whole thing out.”
— Dino Pineda
Since Bleachers is known for their anthemic sound, I expected this collab to be more of the fist-pumping-to-oblivion type. Which is why the chill and gentle sound of “Comeback” was a breath of fresh air that highlighted the lyrics, which are more reflective instead of the marupok writing that CRJ is a pro at. But it should be taken into account that low-key fist pumping cannot be helped during the third verse and outro (It’s! Too! Damn! Catchy!).
It was nice of CRJ to add a song that not only is a SERIOUS bop, but also one that induces identity crises. I really appreciated this song, I thought, as I look into the nothingness of the night and my soul.
— Abu Poblete
Aside from 14-year-old me making a stop motion video of “Good Time”, some of my most vivid memories listening to Carly Rae Jepsen include trying to get over a relationship by ugly crying to “When I Needed You” and “Your Type”. I was 20 then and I found comfort in the hurt from her songs. You would want to dance even if you feel like crumbling — it’s still a mood.
“Solo” feels like redemption from those times of hurting. It’s a song that finally says you’re okay, with or without a romantic interest. TBH, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the new anthem of the singles. Because what’s so wrong about being single, right?
“Don’t waste your nights getting so low / You shine bright by yourself dancing solo.” — That rhyme gets me every time. “Solo” gives me the similar kind of rush I felt listening to the intro of “Runaway with Me”. It’s just goosebumps all over. Honestly, it feels like Carly wrote this track for me. (WOW) It’s a reminder that I can feel whole even without a partner, I just have to learn to love parts of me. Some years ago, I danced the hurt away; this time though, I dance because girl, I’m feeling good about being solo.
— Ina Louise Manto
But why didn’t these tracks make it to Side A in the first place?
Carly has always told her fans that she writes hundreds of songs whenever she’s in the process of recording an album. Which means there’s a lot more songs that would end up on the cutting floor than the actual final list. Hence, the Side B’s. But despite the mostly positive responses, it took me some time to actually like Dedicated, and it seems the same goes for its Side B. There are songs that get instant love from me, like “Window”, “Heartbeat”, and “Comeback”, but my first thought was, couldn’t these have been on the actual Dedicated album instead of releasing it as a B-side track?
“Solo” had me bopping my head, energized to finally get over and let go of that lost love, but then it abruptly shifts to “Now I Don’t Hate California After All” where she sings a dreamy ode to the state, and I’m just left wondering if she just went on a beach trip right after a break up for some self-discovery . . . ? While individually, some songs don’t immediately appeal to me, I see how the narrative of the songs in both Dedicated and Side B tied so well with as a tracklist. Dedicated charted the progression of a relationship from the start to the end, and now in Side B, she explores the what-could’ve-beens of loves long past that just leave you with memories that would be eventually forgotten. Carly has always paid great attention to the narrative of her albums, and maybe that explains her choices of which to cut and keep. Still might take me more listens to be able to say I love Dedicated Side B.
But then again, all these thoughts and feelings could be coming from the fact that Emotion and its Side B were truly bops ahead of their time.
— Meryl Medel
Did we miss your favorite track? Direct your violent reactions to the comments section below.