#100 of 100
Carly Rae Jepsen is the apple of pop’s eye and “Cut to the Feeling” was her only solo release of 2017, meaning it bore great expectations on its neon pink shoulders. It’s a skyscraper of a song that both describes and enacts the modus operandi of pop music as an entire project, rising so high with every new chorus that you’re dizzy by the time it’s done. It’s best heard in a sweaty room with a bunch of other people who’d quite like to cut to the feeling too. —Lauren O’Neil
#30 of 100
You know the feeling: sinking, stomach-twisting, life-consuming longing—the kind that seems to grow from the earth and take hold of your whole self, cell by cell. It sits at the very edges of total euphoria, and “Cut to the Feeling” is crucially about that pull toward the ecstatic. Carly Rae Jepsen wants to cut to the feeling; she’s not there yet.How is it possible that this perfect pop song didn’t spend 2017 hovering at the top of every chart in existence? Who let her keep it off E•MO•TION? Jepsen’s best single since “Call Me Maybe” was allegedly axed from her 2015 album for being “too cinematic,” but the song will now soundtrack millions of lives that feel like movies for the rest of time. It is the dark and glittering sound of running full speed on a boardwalk at night, of sitting on a roof under the stars, these perfect places with proximity to the infinite. –Jenn Pelly
#25 of 100
To her rabid fanbase, Carly Rae Jepsen is the Queen Who Keeps on Giving. In 2015, she bestowed upon us the immaculate pop masterwork Emotion; then last year, extras collection Emotion Side B, better than most pop artists’ A-sides. Then, in late May, the glittering pop gem “Cut to the Feeling.” Only true Jepfriends would remember where the song even came from (it was on the soundtrack for Leap!, a Canadian-French cartoon film that earned 37% on Rotten Tomatoes). But did it matter? This was a belt-it-from-your-car distillation of all things wonderfully Carly Rae: yearning for something grandly romantic (“I wanna dance on the roof, you and me alone”) with a breathless, stratospheric chorus, not unlike “Run Away With Me.” No shade to “Despacito,” but for a select segment of the pop-loving masses, it was the song of the summer. — R.M.
#4 of 30
Nobody in pop does songs about navigating sexual tension and making the first move better than Carly Rae — and this E•MO•TION-era gem, left off both her 2015 LP and its b-sides collection before finding a home in the movie Leap!, reaches the same giddy heights of “Call Me Maybe.” —N.F.
No song title more plainly represents what Carly Rae Jepsen does: She cuts straight through the crap and injects you with that raw, uncut feeling. No artifice. No posturing. “Cut to the Feeling”—which, like most of Jepsen’s work, trades in the rush of first falling in love—is so ecstatic in its celebration of boldly “canceling your reservations” and diving in headfirst with a new guy (or girl) that you can almost see the song itself smiling. It was the smile we all needed in 2017.
…Jepsen writes about love as if it’s always just out of reach. She’s always just about to fall in love (‘Run Away With me’, ‘Call Me Maybe’, ‘EMOTION’), or just about to walk away (‘Store’, ‘Cry’) — we’ve never witnessed her in the full grip of it. Her ability to strike so accurately at the spaces that bookend a relationship is what makes her writing so compelling, powerful and singular.
Which makes ‘Cut To The Feeling’ – an off cut from the EMOTION sessions — almost an in joke for Jepsen. Here, over bombastic synths and galloping drums, she confesses her desire to finally stop living in the prelude, and instead begs someone to “take [her] to emotion.”
And sure, the love isn’t quite there yet — will it ever be? — but Jepsen whips up so much pop euphoria that even the prospect of it feels just as good.
For some reason, Carly Rae Jepsen still isn’t the biggest pop star on the planet. We have no idea why. Consider the evidence: 2011’s Kiss is a genuinely fantastic pop record, even if no one seemed to pay any attention to it, other than ‘Call Me Maybe’. 2015’s Emotion is just as good and contains two of the finest songs of the millennium in ‘I Really Like You’ and ‘All That’. And now this. This. This absolute 100%, 24-no-make-that-25-carat balls-out pop anthem banger.
It is hard to imagine how you could fill three minutes and 27 seconds of your life with more joy and singalongability. It is amazing and it is the best song released in 2017. Best bit? The ‘woo’ at 2:08, followed closely into second place by the ‘hey’ which immediately follows: for this is the stardust from which great pop is constructed.