Carly Rae Jepsen taught me to love pop

Image rights to Carly Rae Jepsen. Edit done on Adobe Spark.

Image rights to Carly Rae Jepsen. Edit done on Adobe Spark.


If you ever see me strutting and just plain beaming, I am probably listening to Emotion. The album is full of peppy, 80s pop-esque songs and proves that Carly Rae Jepsen is capable of being more than a one-hit-wonder. Emotion taught me to be proud of my love of pop and helped me become confident in my music taste.

Emotion has been an album I’ve listened to since I was in high school, and I know it so well that it only ever sounds great to me. When I listen to “I Really like You” I’m reminded of late night summer drives, singing with my now-boyfriend, and feeling a teeny bit awkward because we both knew it was very relatable (tacky, I know, but the memory is heartwarming). I have a crazy clear memory of obnoxiously belting and jump dancing to “Run Away With Me” at the beach with my closest pals. I can not tell you how many times I have listened to “Boy Problems,” my favorite song on the album. Despite the lack of depth in the lyrics, Emotion is a sort of home to me.

By learning to be proud of my love for Carly Rae Jepsen, I learned how to own my music taste. I learned that there is no such thing as a “good” music taste! I play Emotion for a lot of people and they usually are curious to know who I’m playing, but nevertheless grimace when I tell them it’s Carly. When this happens, I feel like I need to defend myself. I have a tendency to want to prove that I have a “good” music taste to everyone. When I feel defensive, I remind myself that there are an unlimited amount of ways for music to be counted as “good.” If what you qualify as good is different than someone else, that's okay. There will always be people who judge you for what you listen to, but there is absolutely no reason that you need to satisfy them.

If you ever find that you are unsure of how you feel about specific artists or genres, do not be scared to talk about it! Music inspires different reactions in every person, and your response is just as valid as anyone else’s. I’ve found that talking about what I like and don’t like has helped me uncover quirks in my music taste.

For a few years, I tried hard to suppress my love of pop. I was insecure and didn’t think that I knew enough about music to talk about it. I thought pop was uncool and too basic, but listening to Emotion helped me realize that it is a key part of my music taste. It was one of the first albums I was sure I liked and I was unafraid to talk about it. After exploring Carly Rae Jepsen, I was excited to listen to Charli XCX (lately I haven’t been able to stop listening to Number1Angel), Ariana Grande, and Kehlani, who are some of my favorite artists. Emotion opened doors to other pop artists that I was afraid to embrace before I accepted my appreciation of the genre.

It is important to not be ashamed of music that you love and to remember that there are a bazillion valid reasons to love it. A song can make you feel deep emotions, have the most satisfying guitar riffs of all time, or remind you of something positive in your life. It can give you goosebumps, or simply have relatable lyrics. Almost every time I confess to someone that this is one of my favorite albums, they wince and question me, but I stand by it! Emotion brings me a remarkable amount of joy and it is proudly one of my favorites.


By Meredith Barber