There is roughly an internet’s worth of conspiracy theories floating around about why Carly Rae Jepsen is not one of the world’s biggest pop stars. Her vocals are pristine pop, ranging from the kittenish to the powerhouse. The music backing her up is radio-ready, danceable and sugar-sweet. She’s cute as hell, with a cloying smile to boot. She’s got proven singles, from “Call Me Maybe” the song that introduced her to a world of Bieber-crazed tweens, to the more mature “Come Away With Me” off last year’s Emotion. She’s got the critics–from Pitchfork to MTV-in the bag. She’s even got the venerable Tom Hanks on her team. Dear America, what more do you need?
But beneath all of Jepsen’s standard pop storyline, there is an artist refusing to follow the industry’s rulebook. After the fame-rocket that was “Call Me Maybe,” Jepsen quickly released the follow-up EP, Kiss, which failed to turn heads critically or commercially. Then she did something largely unheard of in the pop world. She took a two year break. Even weirder, she wasn’t in rehab or passed out in a club bathroom. She was focusing on her next album, on becoming something bigger than “Call Me Maybe.” The men who control the women of the music industry don’t generally like this kind of quiet and don’t like losing creative control. Enter the biggest conspiracy, that Jepsen, in refusing to follow the rules, has not gotten the kind of promotional boost that makes a megastar.
But Jepsen can not be slowed up forever. Emotion is pop gold and it’s only a matter of time before the world catches on. In the meantime, those of us in the know should take the chance to see her in the relatively small venues she is currently playing across the U.S. She’ll be at the Wonder Ballroom this Tuesday night and you should be there, to tell Jepsen that you too, really, really, really, really, really like her.