Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Party For One' Lets Us Dance On Our Own, Together


Two years after her final challenge, Carly Rae Jepsen is lastly again with a brand new music, “Party For One,” and an accompanying video. And within the spirit of wistful pop queen Robyn, who made her personal long-awaited return with a brand new album this previous weekend, Carly Rae is dancing on her personal, form of.

The video begins out (after an surprising Bread Face Blog cameo) with Carly Rae getting into a resort room. She sheds her fur coat and her skirt, flops down on the mattress, and begins flipping by means of the TV channels. We reduce to different resort company, alone of their particular person rooms, wanting bored and distraught. Carly Rae sings, “If you didn’t know that you simply have been proper for me/ Then there’s nothing I can say.” We can join the dots: these individuals are right here as a result of they’re all in some way going by means of a breakup on the similar time. It is the considerably literal Heartbreak Hotel.

The company show all method of banal and outrageous coping mechanisms: taking an opulent tub, dancing round in a single’s underwear, burning a cigarette in your ex’s image, giddily unpacking a suitcase filled with intercourse toys, crying whereas watching TV. It’s solely when the fireplace alarm goes off and everybody congregates within the foyer that the company, together with Jepsen, appear and feel actually comfy. They dance round to “Party For One” prefer it’s the one factor holding them from going off the deep finish.

The “Party For One” video could also be frivolous and implausible, however identical to the giddy, euphoric movies for “Call Me Maybe” and “Run Away With Me” earlier than it, its utter devotion to fantasy, empathy, and camp cuts by means of any cynical qualms about its logic and makes the expertise of watching it purely pleasant. On a primary stage, “Party For One” works as a result of it does what any good music video ought to do: It tells you, the listener, why these 4 minutes of pop confectioner’s sugar ought to exist within the first place.

No matter what style or type they fall into, nice music movies information the viewer/listener alongside a path of emotional sympathy and solidarity with a music, whether or not by convincing the viewer that the music “will get” them or demonstrating precisely what the music can be utilized for – often, as a factor to bop or to cry to. Videos could be suggestive in how you can hearken to the music (just like the impromptu dancing that sparked The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” video) or they could sort out the music’s applicability by the use of one thing extra summary or impressionistic, something from the Robert Longo lithographs in New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” to, sure, the schoolgirl fantasy of Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time.”

Part of that is advertising — visually engaging you to maintain streaming the music, or perhaps even buy it — however an iconic music video, as with all types of artwork made professionally, transcends its industrial worth. Rather than being prescriptive, these movies tune into what a listener may subconsciously already be considering or feeling a couple of monitor and improve it. “Party For One” doesn’t attempt to persuade you there’s one proper solution to undergo a breakup, or that there’s one kind of breakup that the music is ideal for – it’s suggesting that it’s an ideal soundtrack for each breakup, all of sudden, on the similar time.

It’s the identical concept that propels Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” video, from 2010, with its twin scenes of Robyn’s lonely silhouette on the membership and her interior monologue on the microphone, frenetically belting out her emotions to the rhythm of her personal physique language. She gives you with two sides of the identical lived expertise, and a particularly private one at that, however its universality permits for a right away, intimate connection to the photographs, and thus, the music itself.

Lorde’s “Green Light” clip, launched final 12 months, replicates not the breakup itself, however the feeling of the breakup, the preliminary liberating rush through the first solo stroll dwelling, earlier than all that being alone and single entails comes crashing down on you within the morning. The complete video seems like an inside monologue: attempt imagining Lorde washing her arms in entrance of the toilet mirror as an alternative of singing into it, or strolling down the road silently along with her headphones on, and it’s simple sufficient to check the music taking part in in her head quite than out within the open. The inherent suggestion, then, is that in case you ever end up in that breakup situation, you could possibly be taking part in it in your head, too.

What units Carly Rae’s narrative aside is that she’s not completely alone. Staging “Party For One” in the identical resort setting brings all of its characters collectively into one narrative, quite than have them be completely separate vignettes. And that fireside alarm that comes two-thirds of the best way by means of the video is each a intelligent change of tempo and a pleasant solution to deliver everybody collectively for a hopeful ending. It additionally demonstrates a self-awareness of Carly Rae’s stereotypical fan base: largely queer, typically into theater, and really into dancing on their very own… collectively.

In an essay for Pitchfork, Judy Berman explored how visible albums like Beyoncé’s Lemonade create and form associations with their music. She wrote that they could possibly be thought of “a piece of criticism — an instruction guide for studying the music.” “Party For One” affords no such directions ­­– narrowing the interpretation of Carly Rae’s common topic issues would solely diminish their attraction — however the video does present a gap, a permission slip to utterly throw oneself into the fun of the music with all its Technicolor simplicity and stage-ready optimism. It says you shouldn’t be afraid to bop, even when others are watching.