July 28th, 2023, for most people, was the release of Travis Scott’s highly anticipated 4th studio album, Utopia. The entire day and night, people kept on asking me about Utopia. While I enjoyed Utopia, it didn’t hit me as hard as it did for many I know. For me, I had another album that came out the same day that became my favorite of the year. Carly Ray Jepsen’s The Loveliest Time, is my favorite album of the year, so far, and is her strongest project since her pop masterpiece Emotion. An ode to the beauty of experiencing life after COVID,  The Loveliest Time is one of the albums that’ll come to define the second half of 2023.

To start out explaining what makes The Loveliest Time a special album, I’ll need to give you some background on the record. The Loveliest Time is a companion piece to, The Loneliest Time. The Loneliest Time is an album that was released on October 21st of last year. The Loneliest Time is well, about loneliness. The album talks about the different types of loneliness that Carly Ray Jepsen has experienced throughout her life. Tracks like “Beach House” and “Talking to Yourself” discuss the loneliness of dating. “Western Wind” is about the loneliness of being away from family. The album seems to end on a more uplifting note, with the title track and the three-bonus track being upbeat, compared to the rest of the album. Starting as tracks meant for The Loneliest Time, the project became much bigger than her typical B sides. So, it became its own album and a companion piece/subversion of the themes found present within The Loneliest Time.

The Loveliest Time gains its own style through its stunning production. The production of the album is so crisp, with the electric pop sound that fits well into the album and what it wants to accomplish. The production helps continue the theme of freedom throughout the project. Individual songs like the opening track “Anything to be With You” and “Aeroplanes” have a beautiful atmosphere. The best example of how the production adds so much to the project can be found in my favorite song of the year, “Psychedelic Switch”.

 “Psychedelic Switch” is one of those songs that comes out and blows you away. ‘The centerpiece of the album’, according to Carly Ray Jepsen herself. Everything about the song is perfect. “Psychedelic Switch” feels like falling in love for the first time. It feels like unconditional love. The ability to be vulnerable with someone you love and care about. The production holds it together. The production of the song has the feeling of falling for that special someone. “Psychedelic Switch” shows everything that makes the album special in one song.

Of course, CRJ doesn’t shy away from her pop anthems to scream during a night drive. “Stadium Love” and “After Last Night” are the first two songs that come to mind. Throughout the entire album, but especially these two tracks, are so much fun to sing along with. The dreamy feeling of the tracks adds to a feeling of euphoria found within all the tracks. The dreamy feeling makes all the songs a joy to sing along with.

I don’t have many complaints about the album. While I don’t consider it a perfect album, I also don’t have much to say in the way of complaints. What CRJ set out to do in this project, she succeeded tremendously. You could say some of the songs could transition better into one another, or the sound can get repetitive for some, but I don’t find either to be a major fault of the album. I love the sound and feel of the album and feel that the album is cohesive enough on its own.

CRJ is one of my favorite voices in modern pop, and she doesn’t disappoint during her 7th studio album. A constantly changing and ever-evolving artist who always manages to impress. If you had told anyone in 2012 that in 11 years, the person who made “Call Me Maybe” would be one of the most unique and consistent discographies in modern pop, you probably wouldn’t have gotten much of a reaction.  Nowadays, she’s one of my favorite voices within modern pop. Whatever comes next for her career, she’s going to be one of my favorite pop artists. The Loveliest Time is my album of the year, so far, and one I cannot wait to control my Spotify Wrapped this year.

RATING: 9/10.

Photo Credits: https://readdork.com/news/carly-rae-jepsen-uk-ireland-tour/

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