Other track reviews: Sufjan Stevens/Bryce Dessner/Nico Muhly/James McAllister: “Saturn” (2017) | Weezer: “Feels Like Summer” (2017) | Double Feature: Alt-J “3WW” & Fleet Foxes “Third of May / Ōdaigahara” (2017) | Lorde “Green Light” (2017) | Depeche Mode “Where’s The Revolution” (2017) | Brand New “I Am A Nightmare” (2016) | Ariana Grande “Into You” (2016) | Radiohead “Burn The Witch” (2016)
Compared to this time in 2016, when Ariana Grande had just unleashed Dangerous Woman, it feels like 2017 is lagging a little bit behind in the department of fun, carefree summer jams. I believe it is a necessity to have these kinds of songs: these melodic, sunny anthems of youth that remind us why it’s okay to pull our ears away from the emotional depth of our favorite indie record or the technical precision of the best new metal song out there. Just as it is important to have those bands that comprise our musical foundations, it’s also valuable to occasionally indulge in surface-level pop that allows us to dismount from our collective high horse and simply let loose. That’s Carly Rae Jepsen’s niche, and she delivers as strongly as ever with her latest synth-pop offering.
“Cut To The Feeling” is just one of E•MO•TION‘s purported 250 tracks. We heard eight that failed to make the cut via Emotion: Side B, but that still left a pretty large void for those who felt the 2015 album was among the best in the pop genre within recent memory. Some sources have begun reporting that “Cut To The Feeling” – which will be featured in the upcoming animated film Leap! – is also the lead single from a yet to be officially announced fourth LP entitled Spread Love. If that turns out to be true, then that just means that even E•MO•TION‘s offcuts are good enough to lead the charge on a new full-length effort. Regardless of context, however, one thing is certain: “Cut To The Feeling” is a colossally enjoyable standalone track. It has everything a pop tune needs to sound larger than life: thunderous drum beats in the intro, rhythmic handclaps, joyous ahh‘s, and a chorus that launches into action a mere 0:30 seconds in. “I wanna cut through the clouds, break the ceiling” she exclaims with earnestness and exuberance, combining one of her catchiest choruses ever (it’s almost on par with “Call Me Maybe” and “Run Away With Me”) with 80s-influenced synths and a level of jubilence that can’t be matched – perhaps only imitable by speeding down the freeway in a convertible with the top down on a sunny July afternoon. It possesses that warm vibe, and it’s the banger we all needed heading into Summer ’17.
There’s not much more to delve into here, as it is a standard fare pop track instrumentally. However, some things simply can’t be reproduced: Jepsen’s knack for crafting a knockout tune, the profound excitement her music elicits, or the ability to encapsulate everything it means to be young and on top of the world in a three-and-a-half minute window. “Cut To The Feeling” would have marked another highlight had it been included on E•MO•TION, but I’m actually glad that it wasn’t. For as strong as that record was and still is, it feels like Jepsen is spreading the wealth – and her timing couldn’t be better. Whether you’re bummed out by the events occurring all around the world, or you just need a pick me up to help kick start your summer, “Cut To The Feeling” will most assuredly serve as a deserved escape for a ton of listeners.