Spin: “Charli XCX’s Carly Rae Jepsen Collaboration Could Use a Bit More Carly”


Spin.com posted up an interesting critique of the song “Backseat”:

Heartsick uncertainties are stock in trade for Jepsen, who’s a friend of PC Music herself. She’s a perfect fit here, even though the final product can’t cash the check that “Charli XCX ft. Carly Rae Jepsen” wrote.


Between the two, Jepsen is the more convincing romantic. Hearing someone whose own songwriting tends toward coy singing explicitly (even if feeling ambiguously) about a kiss and a touch is a genuine surprise. “Backseat” lifts off when Jepsen sings, “And so I turn it up,” but sinks in a flood of “all alone” trills. (“Unlock It” shares a similar disproportioned cut-and-paste technique, warping Charli’s repeated “lock it, unlock it” into a pattern of cracking Ks, and it works better there.)


Jepsen sells her part of “Backseat” so well that the remainder of the song can’t help but feel like a letdown. The already odd structure unravels after the second chorus, and by the final third, Charli and her co-producers are noodling with music box noises and recycling vocal clips in a way that would probably feel more productive during a live DJ set. On record, “Backseat” just isn’t quite clever enough to carry it. Still, maybe you, like Charli and Carly’s twinned narrators, are just looking for a distraction from a dimmed relationship. If so, “Backseat” is plenty shiny and metallic enough to do that. –Anna Gaca

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