A Carly Rae Jepsen song is not unlike a gift of fresh flowers: colorful, ripe with feeling and a reminder of the beauty of the ephemeral: Despite an impending end, there is still much to celebrate and cherish now.
That could be why Jepsen’s lovingly cultivated pop blooms continue to captivate audiences in the years following her megahit, “Call Me Maybe,” which dominated U.S. charts in 2012. Feeding the bright synths, well-placed saxophone hooks and simple-but-deliberate lyricism is an iridescent lust for life. The songs are not overly saccharine or secretly cynical; they are joy laid bare. The Canadian singer-songwriter can do loneliness, longing and heartbreak, but she leaves room for light and love.
“The butterflies stage doesn’t stop happening as you get older,” the 33-year-old said in a Guardian interview earlier this year. “In fact, it intensifies as you realize how present you should be, because it’s not going to last. You are more awake for it. Which makes it bittersweet.”
Jepsen reemerged as a critical darling with her 2015 album, “Emotion,” a shimmering, ’80s-inspired pop sound featuring collaborations with respected artists such as Sia and Dev Hynes. In her latest album, “Dedicated,” Jepsen used a similar sound but with a more subdued, slinkier feel, adding elements of disco.
She brought her radiant bouquet of songs to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Sunday. The show was dazzling, and not just because of the vivid lights and the white-and-neon ensemble she first wore. Jepsen’s easy, charming energy did not waver from the first song to the last .
Although her energy was immediate, it did take time on Sunday for Jepsen to find her ideal singing timbre. The opening song, “No Drug Like Me,” was a hip-shaker, but her vocals tripped along in the lower register. By the third song, “Run Away With Me,” Jepsen had hit her stride alongside the saxophone hook, gliding into an ecstatic release in the chorus: “Baby, take me to the feeling / I’ll be your sinner in secret / When the lights go out!”
And she didn’t shy away from “Call Me Maybe.” Jepsen sang the global earworm while bathed in pink lights as the crowd yelled the words back to her in what seemed like a valiant attempt to ward off the Sunday Scaries.
For the second part of the show, Jepsen emerged in a one-piece that evoked a runner’s uniform with a pattern that looked like burning embers and launched into the flirtatious and sprightly rendition of “Want You in My Room.” Then, as she sang the anthemic “Cut to the Feeling,” cannons filled the air with bits of white confetti that fluttered like petals in a warm summer breeze. It was a reminder to savor moments, no matter how temporary.