It was easy to dismiss Carly Rae Jepsen during the summer of 2012 when “Call Me Maybe” became a phenomenon. The bubble gum pop track seemed tailor-made to future “one-hit wonder” specials, and to occupy an unfairly-maligned corner of music history alongside songs like the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” and Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee).”
It was easy, and it was wrong.
Jepsen’s latest album, “Emotion,” is one of the best pop albums of 2015. An antidepressant in aural form, the Canadian singer-songwriter transports listeners to times when love was all that mattered, when feelings were way more important than real world banalities. It does so with a bouncy, synth-pop soundtrack that manages to be both of-the-moment and oddly timeless.
Amazingly, it’s only been three years since “Call Me Maybe” ruled the world. But taking a look at her contemporaries from the summer of 2012, Jepsen is not the only one who has seen her status in the music industry change substantially. Who from 2012’s song of the summer race has gone on to great success? Let’s look back three years:
“Somebody I Used to Know” was such an odd radio hit that many celebrated it just for breaking up the monotony of the commercial airwaves. He’s since released an album with his band, The Basics, and mostly stayed in Australia. The song’s featured act, Kimbra, may have maintained the bigger American presence.
FROM THEN … The flag-bearer for previous decade’s folk-tinged indie pop.
… TO NOW Somebody we used to know.
Like Halle Berry or a McDonald’s hamburger left on a kitchen counter (depending on one’s taste in music), Maroon 5 simply doesn’t age. “Payphone,” the band’s 2012 Wiz Khalifa-assisted megahit, could fit on any of the 5’s albums and not sound out of place.
FROM THEN … Los Angeles-based glossy rockers with a love-him-or-hate-him frontman.
… TO NOW Los Angeles-based glossy rockers with a love-him-or-hate-him frontman.
A song added to a reissued version of 2010’s monster smash album “Teenage Dream,” “Wide Awake” was never light enough to become “song of the summer.” The follow-up album, “Prism,” contained massive hits as well, (“Dark Horse,” in particular, was inescapable), but was overall toned down and, seemingly, missing the spark from her earlier work.
FROM THEN … Competing with Taylor Swift to be the biggest thing in pop.
… TO NOW Losing to Taylor Swift in the race to be the biggest thing in pop.
“Lights” spent more than a year on the pop charts and made her a name in America. While follow-up singles like “Anything Can Happen” and “Love Me Like You Do” may not have hit the lofty highs of “Lights,” they’ve cemented her as a force on the radio and in concert ticket sales; the world tour to support her latest album, “Delirium,” will play venues like Madison Square Garden and Staples Center in Los Angeles.
FROM THEN … Out-of-nowhere summer starlet.
… TO NOW Established pop superstar (and Taylor Swift #squad member).
If you go: Carly Rae Jepsen performs on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. at Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 212-777-6800, sold out.