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  • Kiss
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75 of 89 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2012
With its unembarrassed set of slick pop confections, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Kiss" - her major label debut and second full-length - hearkens back to those Mandy Moore-Jessica Simpson days of the early 2000s.

Heavily padded with classy, agreeable filler - light on memorable hooks, heavy on high fructose corn syrup - "Kiss" is certainly frontloaded with its strongest tracks, none of which come close to the relentless appeal of summer 2012 chart blaster "Call Me Maybe." Still, listeners craving guilty pleasure pop have some lollipops to suck on until the next Britney or Kylie record.

Her breathy, professional performances almost make anonymous hi-BPM dance tunes such as "Turn Me Up" and "Hurt So Good" sound memorable. In fact, her cooing, confident vocals are consistently her biggest asset, turning even the album's weakest moments into boldly executed excurions which, in spite of themselves, are far from faceless.

"This Kiss" sounds like a hit from one of Britney's first records, complete with sugary, swirling, vanilla-coated beats - Jepsen makes it clear from the outset that this is music made for fun's sake, with no deep feelings in sight. The comparatively thoughtful "More Than a Memory," for instance, still surfs on dance floor-ready waves.

These tunes are designed purely to make listeners forget their troubles. "Tonight I'm Getting Over You," a pulsing slice of Eurodance, is the most exemplary:

"No more crying to get me through," she sings over the track. "I'll keep dancing 'til the morning with somebody new."

"Kiss" is a typical pop album with one very strong single, several other juicy tunes and many album tracks that are both listenable and rather unmemorable. It leaves improvement for Jepsen's future releases and illuminates the niche she intends to fill. Why no voting buttons? We don't let customers vote on their own reviews, so the voting buttons appear only when you look at reviews submitted by others. Permalink
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
"Call Me Maybe" is the highlight of Canadian Idol contestant Carly Rae Jepsen's U.S. debut Kiss. While successive singles "Good Time" featuring Owl City and "This Kiss" are solid, they are less impressive than the aforementioned juggernaut. Overall, Kiss is an average affair that suits is purpose as an album of `records' but nothing more. Some cuts are more distinct or notable than others, but most use the same blueprint, which underwrites Kiss as an entire entity.

"Tiny Little Bows," produced by Dallas Austin and Cory Enemy, yields a solid neo-disco sound. Catchy, the chorus highlights as Jepsen sings "How do you think it goes/with those tiny little bows/you're the one I want/you're the one I know/and everywhere you are/is a place I wanna go..." "This Kiss," produced by Redfoo (of LFMAO) and Matthew Koma, is slightly more distinct despite similarities to the opener. Sound proves more important than Jepsen's voice ultimately, with the chorus again being a highlight.

"This Kiss" certainly does not outperform "Call Me Maybe," which eclipses everything. Josh Ramsay produces/co-writes the `big-time hit' every artists wishes they could land. The refrain is easily memorable: "Hey just met you/and this is crazy/but here's my number/so call me maybe/it's hard to look right/at you baby/but here's my number/so call me maybe..." Locked into the neo-disco sound and confirmed by those lovely signature disco string swirls, "Call Me Maybe" is `larger than life'

"Curiosity" isn't incredibly distinct, particularly since it follows up the `queen' of the effort. The biggest flaw is an odd key change which isn't smooth in the least. While it is meant to intensify, it just comes off as clunky. "Good Time," featuring Owl City atones, yielding one of the highlights of the effort. The production is solid, notable for its synths and rhythmic components. "Good Time" is incredibly `schmaltzy' to the chagrin of more edgy-pop enthusiast, but to its credit, the songwriting structure itself is sound. The chorus is by no means intelligible, but then many aren't these days right? "Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh/who-oh-oh/it's always a good time..." Definitely not Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen songwriting.

"More Than A Memory" seems to recycle ideas more than revolutionize. Jepsen's lower register rears its head on the verses, though her upper register, `teenage-like' vocals are more desirable. "Turn Me Up" atones, even if it just `tweaks' the formula that predominates the album. Hand it to Jepsen to deliver a catchy chorus: "I'm breakin' up with you/you're breakin' up on me/You kiss me on the phone/And I don't think it reaches/What am I to do/And how's it gonna because breakin' us in two/is breakin' me in pieces/breakin' up with you..." Every Jepsen song referencing `calling' seems to be effective.

"Hurt So Good" has its catchy moments, but is ultimately not memorable. "Beautiful," co-written by Toby Gad and Justin Bieber provides a welcome change of pace that features accompanying acoustic guitar. The results still underwhelm somewhat, even when both vocalists combine forces. "Beautiful" comes off `too light' with not enough `punch.'
"Tonight I'm Getting Over You" punches, with Max Martin producing; the songwriting credits are lofty here. Josh Ramsey produces "Guitar String/Wedding Ring", with less notable results than his brilliant "Call Me Maybe." "Your Heart Is a Muscle" nearly works, but still lacks that extra `oomph.' Toby Gad's second production falls short like her first one (the Bieber/Jepsen duet "Beautiful). But listeners who are science enthusiasts will be glad to learn `your heart is a muscle.'

Overall, Kiss yields some potential radio hits, but as a album, it is nothing more than average. The main issue lies in the fact that the same formula is used for almost every cut, which makes all the cuts seem less distinct than they should be. 3 stars.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2012
I don't buy much music like this. I mostly listen to hard rock but this one had a catchy sound so I grabbed it. I'm not gonna go on and on here. If you like call me maybe then buy it. I liked all the songs and will bet you were gonna here a few on the radio because this girl is good.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2013
When I bought this album I already knew some of her work from owl city and other songs on the radio, but when I got the album i was a little afraid that it would not be a good exercise or work album, maybe even a little too bubble gum. I was happy to find that not only did it fit in well in every situation but also left be feeling better for having bought it. No cussing, makes this a good album for the whole family and the up beat nature of the album leaves you happy to leave it on repeat all day long.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2013
This album shows that Carly has more to offer than a one-hit wonder. Kiss offers 16 strong tracks for more than the teen audience. The album is fun, well-produced, & the ultimate is super-pop music. Stand outs on the record include: Guitar String/Wedding Ring - a heartfelt mid-tempo song produced & co-written by the remarkable hit-maker Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench; Turn Me Up - a dance track co-written by Kevvy Mental of Fake Shark Real Zombie; & a Tonight I'm Getting Over You co-written by pop powerhouse Max Martin.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2013
One of the all time best dance and feel good cd's I have ever bought! Enjoyed Carly more then all the other CD's I have bought of all the current stars that you get tired of hearing about! Wish more people could discover this music. Call Me Maybe is the reason I purchased it but the entire cd is just as great!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2012
This is a great album to have going in the background of a party or BBQ. Yes, after awhile the songs do sound the same but they're quite enjoyable
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2012
*3.5 Stars*

Carly Rae Jepsen is most known for her girl-next-door persona. And that personality could not be any more apparent on "Kiss", which is technically her sophomore album. Her debut set "Tug of War" failed to chart or make any significant impact, which definitely made Miss Jepsen squirm for her time in the spotlight. So, to finally make it big, she brought in a couple of pop song writers, and the end result of this collaboration was the best pop single of 2012: "Call Me Maybe". If that song doesn't represent sugary, simple, irritating pop, then Miss Jepsen would be in for the biggest flop of her life. But "Call Me Maybe" is the exact single that Carly Rae needed to put on the radio. Its synth-strings, simple lyrics, and glossy sheen is the to the tee formula for an inescapable pop song. But what's a girl to do to extend her 15 minutes of fame? Once her second single "Good Time" was released, there was really only one viable option left for Carly, her sophomore album. Don't let "Call Me Maybe" or "Good Time" fool you, "Kiss" is not a 12-track clone of those two tracks. No, this album is not nearly as modern, or unfortunately as good, as those irresistible lead singles. But fret not, "Kiss" is not by any means a terrible album, but it's not exactly a fantastic one, either. Carly did manage to accomplish an albumm with different varieties of pop. She pulls songs straight out of the 80s and early 90s, back when Madonna was ruling the charts. And while Carly is not nearly as provocative as Madge, she still manages to amplify hyper emotions and efficiently make every song on the album sound just as addictive and catchy as "Call Me Maybe" itself. And let's face it, who else could have made a Justin Bieber assisted track sound good? Carly sticks to what she's good at, and that's milking her sweet and endearing persona for everything it's possibly worth. She works it well throughout the confection that is "Kiss", but she also could have spent more time on developing the flimsy production and adding stronger hooks.

Putting 12 high gloss, fizzy, and sugary pop songs on one album will be a little too much to consume at once. This is poppy and pop music can get, which means by the end of the last song, you will already forgot most of what you've heard since most of the content here only skims the surface and lacks any nutritive substance. While "Call Me Maybe" and "Good Time" relentlessly get under your skin, songs like "Your Heart is a Muscle" and "Tiny Little Bows" seem calculated and their hooks are indistinct compared to the rest of the album. In fact, the only songs that linger for any time after their listen are the lead singles, "This Kiss", "Beautiful" (which is surprisingly good given the fact that Bieber was featured, by this only proves how hiddenly brilliant Carly Rae is), and "More than a Memory", which is definitely a cliched ballad about waiting for a special someone you met at a club to call you back, but is also more distinctive than its successive songs. These songs are what prevent the album from crumbling under its own weight, and what will make Carly relevant for at least a year longer than the release of "Call Me Maybe". But if she wants to make a real influence on the mainstream pop of this generation, Carly Rae Jepesen is going to have to hit the books and enter the early 2010s. For now, she can get away with retro pop and singing content which is far below her age of 26 years. Eventually, she will have to grow up and when that happens, her aspirations will be reached and her full potential will skyrocket her to superstardom. "Kiss" is a pyrrhic victory, while it does finally put her on the map, it is never as sleek or as addictive as "Call Me Maybe".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
I bought this album when it was on a $1.99 special. Being that I liked two of the songs, I figured it wasn't that much of risk. If you like the two hit songs, you'll probably like the rest of the songs, as they all pretty much sound right around the same. In fact, if "Call Me Maybe" wasn't on the radio, I probably would not have thought it to be hit-worthy by the time I got to it while listening to the album. Her vocals suggest she has a small range and does not know how to add infliction in her voice, and the music all sounds the same (similar drum and keyboard sounds throughout all the songs).

The furthest breakway to the apparently cookie-cutter formula that Carly Rae Jepsen used was Good Time, which features Owl City in both music and vocals. It sounds like Owl City was the one who wrote the song. The only other song that breaks the standard model was Beautiful, the prerequisite ballad, which sounds like a lot of other ballads out there currently.

Again, there is nothing bad about this album. There is no song on here that I just had to skip because it was painful to my ears. Other than the two hit songs, however, there really isn't anything that really stands out and screams "I'm the next hit song!!" either. If you can get it on special like I did, it's alright to pick up. Just don't pay full price for this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2013
I listen to a pretty diverse selection of music and occasionally that includes pop. I have to admit I enjoyed this album a lot more than I thought I would. The two main reasons I bought this album were for tracks like Call Me Maybe and Good Time but it turns out there were a lot more songs I enjoyed on this album.
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