Die-hard Carly Rae Jepsen fan, Christopher Tyer, reviews Jepsen’s new single, “Party for One”, which leads off the forthcoming release of her currently untitled and unannounced 2019 album.
After months of rumors and speculation, Carly Rae Jepsen finally confirmed her new single, “Party for One”, on Tuesday, October 30th. A few hours after her initial teaser photo was posted, it was announced that it would be released two days later on November 1st 2018; and the Carly Rae Gays took to social media to rejoice! Over the next twenty-four hours, Carly released four teaser videos with the final footage revealing that “Party for One” would be released in 12 hours. And, with that, the clocks started ticking (mine included)!
Soon enough, Carly Rae Jepsen graced the world with “Party for One” at 8:00 AM CST on Thursday, November 1st, 2018.
The first verse of the song finds Carly Rae Jepsen in a situation to which we can all relate. She’s just realized that someone who she thought was right for her isn’t reciprocating her feelings. Everyone’s had that moment — the one where you fall head-over-heels for someone and suddenly they just stop making any effort with you whatsoever. In those moments, you’re left wondering what you did wrong and why you weren’t good enough for them instead of realizing that maybe they’re just not a good person or, at the very least, that they’re not good for you. The next couple of days — or maybe even weeks — you keep telling yourself to let them go and to get over them but as much as you keep trying you just can’t stop dwelling on what they’ve done to you.
At the top of the first chorus, the instrumentation all but drops out. During the first verse there was a steady crescendo, but when we get to what is arguably the strongest lyrical moment in the song “Party for one. / If you don’t care about me, / I’ll just dance by myself, / back on my beat” the instrumentation is significantly lighter. It’s that moment in your life where you’re saying “I’m a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man” … except that you don’t really believe this just yet. By the second time that she’s singing the chorus the drums and bass are reintroduced; and now you’re starting to believe that you actually are strong and independent. But you’re still not convinced you don’t need a man in your life.
The second verse is that part of your life after the breakup where you’re still blaming yourself and wondering why you weren’t good enough. It’s a short verse (poetic, really, as this should be a short period of greiving in your life before you move on to realize that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH) where Jepsen’s asking herself all of the questions we ask ourselves. Was he only with me because nobody else would give him the time of day? Did I just convince myself that everything was going great? Did he ever really love me? Why can’t I get over this even though I keep trying?
The foundation of the bridge is that moment when you finally believe what you’ve been telling yourself the entire time: that you are strong and you are independent and that you don’t need this man. Jepsen repeats “back on my beat” throughout while layering in “’cause you don’t care about me” and “party for one.” It’s when you’ve finally come out of the other end and you realize that you’re better off without him and you’re finally able to start relinquishing that control that you were allowing that person to have over you.
When we get to the final chorus, the drums become super syncopated and accent every word that Jepsen is singing. Finally, this chorus that has been building in power comes to this strong, energetic climax and Jepsen finds conviction while singing in lieu of the contemplation that was once present in its place.
Hours after its release on streaming platforms, Carly Rae Jepsen released one of the most queer music videos of 2018. The video features queer people of color, a glass butt plug, a double-sided dildo, and Mark Kanemura (who became famous for his videos dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut to the Feeling” last summer) looking like an absolute SNACC!
Regardless of your feelings about Carly Rae Jepsen, it takes a wonderful songwriter to capture so many emotions and the entirety of what can feel like such a long and perilous journey in a way to which people can relate. Unrequited love is one of the worst feelings in the world — while also being one of the most common — but “Party for One” is the uplifting track that we need to remind ourselves that what’s more important than being loved by another is loving yourself enough to keep going when you’re not.
In a year where some of our favorite pop stars (most notably Robyn) have steered away from making pop bangers, this is a breath of fresh air — a quiet respite and reprieve — and I’m excited to see how Carly Rae Jepsen follows up 2015’s forever iconic E-MO-TION with her forthcoming 2019 album.