You would have to be a right dickhead not to like this song.
For a woman whose greatest success came from what is perhaps the greatest novelty single of all time, Carly Rae Jepsen’s re-invention as pop’s most unexpected saviour has been baffling and wondrous to behold.
Her second album Kiss was lumbered by the weight of expectations thanks to ‘Call Me’s’ unprecedented success, but it laid the groundwork for her sonic re-birth on 2015s astounding E•MO•TION, which was filled to the brim with fizzling 80s synths, euphoric choruses and whispered confessions.
Success, however, didn’t follow, and in the wake of its relative failure, both E•MO•TION and Carly herself have taken on an almost ethereal regard in the pop music Twittersphere, which is a bit like the Upside-Down in Stranger Things only instead of Demogorgons there’s just a lot of moaning about chart positions and the continued career of Meghan Trainor.
Today, pop’s favourite daughter returned with a song that is definitely the greatest piece of recorded popular music you’ll hear today, if not all year – and if we’re actually going there, maybe all of time itself.
‘Cut To The Feeling’ fits in with Jepsen’s homage to the 80s but also has the good sense to whack a proper massive chorus onto proceedings. ‘I wanna cut through the crowds / break the ceiling,’ Jepsen pleads and you can hear her longing in every single syllable. Her greatest gift as both a pop star and a storyteller is the way she imbues pure emotion – longing, lust, euphoria – into her songs. You feel like you’re on her journey with her, and more importantly, you’re with her every step the way, It was the same with ‘Call Me Maybe,’ for all its detractors, there’s no denying there’s an emotional attachment to that song that resonates with a lot of people, and it’s the same now.
You might think a single this good must surely be the work of Max Martin, the Swedish svengali who has guided the careers of Britney Spears, Taylor Swift and most recently Ariana Grande. Like many of Martin’s productions, it has a crescendo of excitement towards the introduction of the last chorus and is not afraid to get a get bit iffy with grammar (‘I want to wake up with you, all in tangles, oh’). But ‘Cut To The Feeling’ is not, surprisingly, a product of Martin’s sprawling hit factory, but instead by Sir Nolan, whose had a hand in producing some of the most emotionally provocative releases in the past few years, including Selena Gomez’s sensual game-changer ‘Good For You’ and Tinashe’s sizzling ‘Flame.’ Much like the former, Jepsen has never sounded more in control of her own sound.
‘Cut To The Feeling’ sounds like a number one single but it almost certainly won’t be one, there’s too large a discrepancy between Jepsen’s internet notoriety and her appeal to the general public. What it is, however, is a pure burst of joy.
Not matter your musical inclinations – whether you’re eagerly awaiting new Wolf Alice music or refuse to listen to anything apart from Royal Blood – this song’s appeal, and its genius, is undeniable.
Pop music doesn’t have to change the world, and it doesn’t have to change your life, but when the music is as good as this, it would be criminal not to appreciate it.
Words by George Griffiths