Carly Rae Jepsen, "Kiss" (604/Schoolboy/Interscope Records)
The challenge for Carly Rae Jepsen following the monster success of "Call Me Maybe" -- arguably 2012's biggest pop-culture moment -- was to steer clear of one-hit wonder status. She did that with another pop smash, the anthem "Good Time," and Jepsen shows she has even more hits on her second album, "Kiss."
The Canadian singer, brought to our attention by country-mate Justin Bieber, delivers what fans are probably looking for with the help of Max Martin, Toby Gad and others: More effervescent pop, unencumbered by a plot too thick or societal issues too weighty. Bass lines and hand claps, please and thank you.
"Good Time" features electro-pop singer Owl City, aka Adam Young, and is the heir apparent to the radio-overkill throne. "Hands up if you're down to get down tonight," goes the refrain as Young shares microphone time with Jepsen against a heavy backbeat and an echoing chorus of "Ohhhh ohhh ohhh."
"Call Me Maybe" is here, of course, and remains the catchiest song of the year. This impossibly cute tune from this impossibly cute singer is all hook, sugary lyrics and lure-the-boy posturing. It's everything pop hit-makers strive for, delivered to near perfection.
The duds on "Kiss" include "Turn Me Up" and "Tonight I'm Getting Over You." They're both boring ditties about getting over someone by hitting the town. Light toe-tapping may ensue, but these are forgettable tracks.
Jepsen redeems herself with the upbeat "This Kiss," co-written and co-produced by LMFAO's Redfoo. Her slow duet with Bieber, "Beautiful," is also a fine track, delivered smartly in a less-is-more production approach that humanizes them both.
Check this out: "Curiosity," which originally appeared on Jepsen's EP earlier this year, gets a soaring remix and it's the most club-ready song of the bunch.