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Emotion: Side B (stylized as E•MO•TION: Side B) is the second extended play (EP) by Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen. It was released on August 26, 2016, by 604 Records in Canada and School Boy Records and Interscope Records in the United States. Due to fan demand, Jepsen developed Side B as a companion piece to her third studio album Emotion (2015), featuring unreleased songs that were cut from the original effort.

Emotion: Side B
Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion Side B.png
EP by
ReleasedAugust 26, 2016 (2016-08-26)
GenrePop
Length27:38
Label
Producer
Carly Rae Jepsen chronology
Emotion Remixed +
(2016)
Emotion: Side B
(2016)
Singles from Emotion: Side B
  1. "Cut to the Feeling"
    Released: May 26, 2017

Like its parent album, Side B takes heavy influence from 1980s pop music, with narratives that revolve around love and heartbreak. Greg Kurstin, Dev Hynes, and Rami Yacoub, among others, reprised their role on Side B.[1] The EP received favorable reviews upon its release, and was placed on several critics' lists for best of the year. A Japan-exclusive reissue of the EP was supplemented with "Cut to the Feeling" from the Canadian-French film Ballerina (2016).

Contents

Background and developmentEdit

Jepsen worked on her third studio album, Emotion (2015), for nearly three years, writing over 250 songs in the process.[2] From its inception in Los Angeles, Jepsen began to stray away from "mass-produced" writing sessions where she was unable to contribute in a significant way.[3] Her hiatus in New York, where she held a brief stint as Cinderella on Broadway, influenced the album's production as it forced Jepsen to assess her frustrations and spurred a decision to seek out musicians she admired: "'I'm not into making what I’ve already made, I want to try something new and if you're open to that, let's meet.'".[3] After completing the title track "Emotion", the songs Jepsen developed thereafter became "essentials" that could anchor the album as opposed to being throwaway material. When time came to sequence Emotion, Jepsen's label gave her a hard limit of 17 tracks to work with.[3]

"The metamorphosis of the tracklists I’ve made for Emotion have probably changed six times. I have a little easel board with it painted on and I’d come home from a session and then I’d write down a song I liked better than having to decide which song to take out. I had to rebuild it and give it a facelift almost every week."[4]

Emotion was eventually released in June 2015, to underwhelming commercial reception despite positive reviews from music critics. The album developed a cult following and Jepsen grew to become a "critical" or "indie darling".[5][6] She embarked on the Gimmie Love Tour in support of the album in late 2015, which she recounts as a gratifying experience and prompted the EP's development when fans asked of leftover material.[7] Speaking to radio station WMSC in March 2016, Jepsen expressed a desire to release these songs, stating that she'd been contemplating an Emotion 2.0-type release.[8] Featuring two new songs, Emotion Remixed + was exclusively released in Japan on March 2, 2016, marking the first appearance of "First Time" and "Fever"; she began performing these tracks on the second US leg of her tour.[9] Emotion Side B was officially announced on August 21, 2016, the one-year anniversary of its predecessor's worldwide release.[10]

CompositionEdit

 
Jepsen during Gimmie Love Tour in San Francisco on February 27, 2016

The EP opens with a distorted cassette-recording of the chorus to "First Time",[11] co-written with the same ensemble behind Jepsen's "Your Type".[12][13] A synth-funk song,[14] its bubblegum instrumental contrasts with Jepsen's pleas to rekindle a relationship,[15] channeling the "breeziness" of The Jets' "Crush on You".[16] In "Higher", Jepsen contextualizes a burgeoning relationship with her past, which Brad Nelson of Pitchfork notes as "the most transparent "love" song" from her Emotion offerings.[17] "Higher" is built upon "fizzy" synths and New Wave drums.[18] Nelson describes its production as invoking "the crisp, fussed architecture of a Scritti Politti song", whereas Esther Zuckerman of The A.V. Club likens it to a Robyn outtake.[19]

"The One" is described as "bouncy synthwave-lite",[20] where Jepsen sings about avoiding commitment.[21] "Fever" is placed in the "weird and unstable space just before a breakup", where Jepsen confesses to stealing her boyfriend's bike, riding it to his empty house.[17] Nelson notes that the song is "vacuumed into the throb of a bass drum", alluding to the absence of Jepsen's romantic interest. Entertainment Weekly's Jessica Goodman highlighted "Fever" as standout track, calling it a "devastating karaoke sing-along".[22] "Body Language" is accentuated with 808 drum kicks and handclaps.[22] "Cry" is a mid-tempo ballad sung about an emotionally unavailable boyfriend, recalling the italo disco genre.[23] The song utilizes a synth bass that is "just muted enough to invert its usual effect, generating a feeling of weightlessness".[17]

In 2011, Jepsen participated in an anti-smoking campaign for her home province of British Columbia's Healthy Living Alliance coalition known as "Quitters Unite", which featured an unreleased composition that was reworked into "Store".[24][16] Several critics have noted its "bizarre" nature as a "misleadingly chipper"[25] song about walking out on a relationship,[26] its carefully sung verses juxtaposed with a "violent waking" of a chorus.[17] Maura Johnston of Rolling Stone describes it as a danceable Dear John letter,[18] while New Statesman's Anna Leszkiewicz calls it a "satire of deadbeat dad tropes".[11]

ReleaseEdit

Jepsen wished Emotion a "happy [anniversary]" on August 21, 2016, via social media; announcing that she had a "present" in the works.[10] She unveiled the EP's cover artwork in the same post.[27][28] For the week leading up to its release, Jepsen posted a different song teaser each day across several social media platforms.[29] The track listing was revealed on August 24, 2016, through retailer 7digital Canada.[30] A personal note from Jepsen accompanied Side B's release on August 26, 2016, expressing her gratitude and wishing to reciprocate her fans' support.[31]

Side B received a limited physical release on September 9, 2016, with autographed copies,[32] and it arrived on vinyl on December 16, 2016.[33] Though no singles were issued to promote the EP directly, "First Time" was previously released as a promotional single for Emotion Remixed +.[34] It charted at number 71 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100.[34] The country received an exclusive reissue of the EP on September 13, 2017, entitled Cut to the Feeling: Emotion Side B + with revised artwork, featuring the only appearance of "Cut to the Feeling" on physical CD.[35] The single peaked at number 13 on the Japan Hot 100, its highest position in the world.[36] There, "Cut to the Feeling" was used in a commercial to promote Bioré's line of makeup removers, which Kao deemed as congruent with their message of women's empowerment.[37]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic80/100[38]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [21]
Entertainment WeeklyA–[22]
Exclaim!8/10[39]
Pitchfork7.1/10[17]
Sputnikmusic4/5[20]
The 4055.5/10[40]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 80, based on 6 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[38] Pitchfork gave the EP a similar score to its predecessor Emotion, with Brad Nelson finding it to be more of a "continuation" than assorted B-sides, remarking: "[these] are pop songs, gorgeous and direct, but they are also extremely recursive spaces, blushing compressions of time, small infinities of heartbreak. [...]"[17] Nelson commended Jepsen's "talent" for maintaining a "person-to-person intimacy" in songs that still sound "enormous". Jessica Goodman of Entertainment Weekly came to a similar conclusion, highlighting its tail-end summer release: "Her timing shows she couldn't care less about becoming pop's queen bee again—she'd rather throw the coolest party in town. Side B is that bash: intimate yet inclusive, with an invitation personally delivered by hand."[22]

Jepsen's decision to release Side B in the aftermath of Emotion's campaign fumble was observed upon. Writing for Exclaim!, Jill Krajewski quipped: "[...] if the rollout of Emotion was overthinking it, Side B finds Jepsen coming to a sweet realization: Don't think it over." She praised EP for its high "single potential" and ponders if the songs were blueprints to "Run Away with Me", the megahit of its parent album, "And yet, in their raw state, they show Jepsen at her most powerful and unfettered [...]"[39] In a more mixed review, the 405's Mark Matousek states that Side B is "most instructive in the ways it illuminates her process. It lets us peek in on the misfits [...] and hints at the unsexy labor of music-making."[40] Nelson echoes this sentiment, and both reviewers found the track "Body Language" to be lacking. Reception was negative towards "Store" as well.[17][39]

AccoladesEdit

Publication Year Accolade Rank Ref.
Idolator 2016 The 10 Best EPs & Mixtapes of 2016
1
MuuMuse Top 20 Albums of 2016
5
Rolling Stone 20 Best Pop Albums of 2016
6
Gorilla vs. Bear Albums of 2016
43
The Skinny Top 50 Albums of 2016
49
Times Out London The Best Albums of 2016
19
Exclaim! 10 Best EPs of the Year
2
Pretty Much Amazing The 60 Best Albums of 2016
25
Stereogum 25 Great EPs from 2016 N/A
The A.V. Club Albums of the Year N/A
Pitchfork The 20 Best Pop and R&B Albums of 2016 N/A
Teen Vogue 15 Best Albums of 2016 N/A
Entertainment Weekly The 100 Songs of 2016 – "Body Language"
31
Spin The 101 Songs of 2016 – "Fever"
74
The Fader The 100 Songs of 2016 – "Store"
87

Commercial performanceEdit

The album debuted at number 55 in Jepsen's home country of Canada,[55] and number 74 in Australia.[56] In the United States, the album debuted at number 62 on the US Billboard 200,[57] earning 9,000 album-equivalent units in its first week, with just over 7,000 coming from pure sales.[58] It also debuted at number 26 the same week on the Top Album Sales chart.[59]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."First Time"
3:35
2."Higher"Kurstin3:54
3."The One"
  • Jepsen
  • Kyle Shearer
  • Nate Campany
Shearer3:23
4."Fever"
  • Jepsen
  • Shearer
  • Campany
  • Saul Alexander Castillo Vasquez
Shearer3:05
5."Body Language"TMS2:53
6."Cry"
  • Jepsen
  • Nick Ruth
  • Crowe
Ruth3:56
7."Store"
  • CJ Baran
  • Romans
3:12
8."Roses"
  • Shearer
  • Stewart
3:40
Total length:27:38

PersonnelEdit

Credits per the liner notes of Emotion Side B.[13]

  • Carly Rae Jepsen – vocals
  • Mitch McCarthy – mixing (tracks 3–8)
  • Gene Grimaldi – mastering

ChartsEdit

Chart (2016) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[56] 74
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[55] 55
Irish Albums (IRMA)[60] 89
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[61] 8
UK Albums (OCC)[62] 182
US Billboard 200[57] 62
US Top Album Sales (Billboard)[59] 26

Release historyEdit

Country Date Format Label Ref.
United States August 26, 2016 Digital download [63]
United States September 9, 2016 CD [32]
Canada March 3, 2017 LP 604 [64]

ReferencesEdit

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