It’s the 1-year anniversary of underrated pop artist Carly Rae Jepsen’s fourth studio album ‘Dedicated’ released in May 2019. On this acclaimed 70s and 80s inspired pop record, Carly details her dedication to an ex-lover in 15 songs. Even more compelling is that all tracks together tell us a whole story about a relationship from start to finish, in a way that resonates with all of us.
How a romantic relationship begins differs for everyone and experiences are radically different, but we can all agree on this one. ‘Dedicated’ opens with ‘Julien’, a template for the person you’re going on this journey with. It starts off with complete infatuation and nobody else comes close to that special person, ‘’I tried another to keep me satisfied, but all your colors are still dancing in my mind’’. When you have met your Julien, their name just radiates through your mind waiting to be whispered on the tip of your tongue.
The next stage, No Drug Like Me, takes us on a high where the infatuation becomes physical. ’’If you make me open up, then I’ll blossom for you’’, a physical connection that makes us bloom. In the heat of the moment it becomes a fling, for lack of a better word, happening so fast – but very common – already in the second stage of the relationship.
Now That I Found You joyfully takes us to the next phase of romantic and sexual liberation. Catching feelings for someone can be a blessing taken for granted, so of course, you celebrate that. While all up in your feelings, you just keep wondering: where were they all this time in my life?
Want You In My Room picks up where the previous stage left off, celebrating that stage in new romance where you just want that person to be close and with you all the time. This is not just for sex, but their sole physical presence becomes very important to us. ‘’I’m like a lighthouse, I’m a reminder of where you’re going.’’
In the following stage, in Everything He Needs, we’re getting more serious as emotional attachment develops for your Julien. You start to realize being a couple is actually possible because we get convinced that we are everything our significant other needs, and “not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, sexually. All the ways.’’
Happy Not Knowing marks the end of the honeymoon phase and becomes the first negative thing to develop in this relationship. Insecurities arise and whether it’s the case of innocent heartburn or not, we just think: don’t tell! Because we’re happier not knowing… so let us still enjoy this while we’re still too caught up in the heat of the moment.
Consequently, on I’ll Be Your Girl, you try to compensate for these insecurities your lover may have. You let them know that you’ll always be there for them and you pray that that’s what it takes to keep this relationship going the right way for you.
Entering the all too well-known stage of self-doubt in Too Much, you start to question the fragility of this relationship. Insecurities get the better of you and these thoughts infiltrate your mind: Is my love too much? Did I give too much that could potentially scare them off? ‘’I’ll do anything to get to the rush. ‘Cause if I love you, then I love you too much.’’
On the ninth stage, The Sound, you need more than just words from them to avoid a fading relationship. ’’Love is more than telling me you want it. I don’t need the words, I want the sound’’. Whatever that might be, from the smallest thing of a heartbeat to a giant laugh or cry, body language will affirm us, because actions speak louder than words.
Fortunately, on Automatically In Love, there is mutual reciprocation and this is definitely love what you’re both feeling. You take pride and joy in being in love with them like a chemical rush going so fast, you never want it to slow.
Combined with Feels Right (feat. Electric Guest), it is a joyful celebration of that love. ‘’One more night with you, always turns to two.’’ You feel dedicated to that one you can proudly call boyfriend or girlfriend.
Heartbreakingly, after a while, you commence the downward spiral on Right Words Wrong Time, where – unfortunately – you fall out of sync with each other. You’ve become aware that your significant other might not feel the same way that you do. Whatever it might be, their actions don’t match their words and the love you feel is in jeopardy.
“The limbo phase does no relationship good and you need to establish clear boundaries for your emotional and mental health”
You enter the 13th stage, Real Love, where you’re not afraid to say what you really want. ‘’All I want is real, real love’’; as much as it hurts, you have to force your lover to make this decision: either be with me or not. The limbo phase does no relationship good and you need to establish clear boundaries for your emotional and mental health.
On the penultimate stage For Sure, it begs the question after nightless back-and-forths: is this really over? You need to know for sure before you move on with no bouncing around words anymore. Are they still committed to you and this relationship? Maybe we won’t ever know for sure, but the most important thing you have to know yourself is: If they are not fully dedicated, how can we ever dedicate ourselves to them?
The final track is unapologetically Party for One, ‘’If you don’t care about me, I’ll just dance with myself.’’ Realizing there’s no more trying left, you’ve come to the end of this short whirlwind relationship. As quickly as it began, it ended abruptly, and for what it was worth, you’re still grateful for the experience, but ultimately you’re better off on your own partying for one. Even though you may not be over it yet, you take pride and liberty in knowing what you want and what’s best for you, because the last stage here means a new beginning somewhere else.
Cover: Sharon McCutcheon
Final editor: Eva de Boer