First Impressions: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You”

Kenzie: I mean, look. “I Really Like You” is a fucking perfect pop song, in my opinion. This is glittery swooning pale pink pop at its finest and most addictive, like consuming whole swaths of cotton candy and sucking on your fingertips to get every last remnant of sugar. Swooping butterflies in your stomach, it’s way too soon I know this isn’t love, the feeling at the top of a roller coaster right before you plunge, I really really really really really really like you, and I want you, do you want me, do you want me, too? This is about the huge importance of tiny braveries, the adrenaline-rush of putting yourself out there, the euphoria of a crush, of really really really liking someone and wanting them enough that you have to tell them. My roommate has already yelled at me for listening to it on repeat, but it’s fine, because I’ve already got the words memorized and I’ll just sing it at the top of my lungs instead.

Corbin: My boyfriend, whose top played song on iTunes is a remix of “Call Me Maybe,” was sitting across from me when I started playing this song yesterday afternoon. “What is this?” he said, within the first fifteen seconds. “The new Carly Rae Jepsen single,” I said. “Hmm,” he said, and feigned going back to his work. “Not into it?” I said. “I think ‘Call Me Maybe’ was a one time thing for me,” he said. Then the first chorus hit, and his head snapped up, and we locked eyes and started laughing like, oh my god, this is happening, this is real, this is an actual song, can you believe? Laughing because it’s hilarious to say “really” six times in a row, especially when you know there are going to be people who call your songs stupid no matter what words you’re saying, but also laughing because every one of those reallys is piercingly honest and set to a backbeat that sounds like the entire glitter budget for an 80s fantasy film upended in front of a fan and like, isn’t that what delight is, just truth and bright things? Before we even got to the bridge he was like, “you know, this is really catchy.” And I was like, “Really really really really really really catchy. I know.”

Aria: I knew I was going to love this song because “Kiss” is possibly my favorite pop album of all time, like, album, as far as every song being solid, play all the way through every time, no skips. I don’t believe Carly Rae Jepsen can make a bad pop song.

So other than the obvious hand-clasping jumping-up-and-down squealing of this being a perfect slumber party song, hairbrush-mic singalongs and plush pajamas and all, other than telling you that this song is perfect and everything I wanted from CRJ dipping her toes back into the charts, other than this being in that distinct Carjeps way a song that I have listened to about 12 times on repeat (and is still repeating as I write this) that still refuses to wear thin on me, what strikes me as incredible and special about “I Really Like You” is that it’s SUCH a Pisces. The tide of the mood comes in and out, a light verse leading into a slightly higher energy bridge, cresting over a punchy but still gentle chorus, washing over you. Never too big, never not enough. It balances the external and internal emotion of both the narrator and subject. She says “I’m so in my head,” but also, “all I wanna do is get into your head.” She’s cautious, analyzing her feelings, their feelings, should she stay or go, she shouldn’t but she wants it. Pisces are so interior-oriented, and this song is about the interior of crushes in the simplest way–trying to decide how you feel about someone, and how they feel about you. And I like the element of self control, how the deliberate withholding and tension between them is palpable, and recalls every kiss that doesn’t end in an invitation inside, that temperance of desire. It’s a soundtrack to a very specific kind of romance, not the sinkhole of love that hits like a natural disaster, but something more tender, something to be nurtured rather than consumed by. As much as I hate to ascribe maturity to love–what the fuck do I know about that, anyway–it seems like a more grown up approach to romance, and it’s also just a more Piscean one. Gentle, internal, elusive. Though the (arguably false) distance of cautious constraint often begets more desire, it also raises a question–“I really like you, and I want you, do you want me too?”

I only have one “complaint” and it’s not really a complaint so much because I am weird, but the line “who gave you eyes like that, said you could keep them,” dragged me right out of the song and still does every listen, like, what? I felt very eyes emoji about it, but honestly I like the line because it reminds me of campy body horror. I can’t decide if I think it’s totally out of place or the perfect sneaky weirdo addition to take it to the next level of “this song is amazing” to “oh my god, I fucking love this song and I’m going to chew my own arms off about it.” The line’s position in that kind of stripped-down verse towards the end made it stand out more but also fit in rather than if it were just a really strange line in a bridge or something, so I think I’ve decided it’s perfect and I love it. Or at least, I really really really really really like it.

Sophia: My favorite thing about this song is the “—and I want you, do you want me, do you want me to(o)”. Probably it’s “do you want me too” but I am captivated by the idea that it could be “do you want me to”—do you want me to what? This is Carly Rae Jepsen hurling herself into the void between “I like you” and “I love you” clumsily and wholeheartedly and in shining twinkling lights, in this giddy soap-bubble of a song. It’s perfect. It makes me think spring might come after all. She asks “oh, did I say too much? / I’m so in my head / we’re so out of touch” and then the chorus kicks in again and we know the uncertainty was never real, forget about anything but I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY LIKE YOU!!!!. The space between “I like you” and “I love you” is liminal and strange and she barrels right through it and fills it with confetti, and because she’s Carly Rae you forgive her, you love her for it. There’s no such thing as too much.

Aly: I LOVE THIS SONG SO MUCH I’M GONNA PUNCH A HOLE IN THE SUN. SHE’S BAAAAACK, I shrieked at everyone at work. Who’s back, they said, and I opened my mouth and a swarm of glittering bats flew out. CARLY RAAAAAAAAAE. IT’S BEEN SO LONG. I’m trying to have more coherent thoughts about this but my main emotion is just PURE JOY, excitement, fulfillment beyond my wildest dreams, so it’s difficult. But! I do have some specific non-glitterbat feedback. One of my favorite things about Carly Rae is her voice, which is like Gwen Stefani to the nth-degree level sugar. She has the cutest voice! Like! She’s an amazing singer but she has SUCH A CUTE VOICE and it makes me want to talk to her late at night on the phone. Make her giggle, you know. Anyway. This song is SOOOO good for cutevoice, especially in the quasi-whispered breathy “-but I need to tell ya somethin’-“, but also in what MIGHT be my favorite sequence of lines to date, “Who gave you eyes like that / said you could keep ’em?” I’m not saying Carly Rae has a thing for Harry Styles, I’m just saying that I have shrieked those exact words at a picture of him on more than one occasion. And it’s delivered so well! God! Carly Rae. I love this song as much as if more than I loved Call Me Maybe, and I am so ready for the backlash because I will go to the MAT for Carly Rae. She is the pinnacle of what people don’t like about pop – too catchy, remember they said about Call Me Maybe, to which my friend Britt aptly and perfectly replied, “Sorry… it… did what it intended?” I think about that all the time. This song is SO catchy and SO bubblegum and soooooo beautifully “not about anything important”, which is exactly what makes it so important. Crush biz is real and it is everything! If you don’t believe that you are lying to yourself! And if you can’t relate to something as pure and perfect as “I Really Like You”, both the song and the sentiment behind it, I really don’t know how I’m gonna relate to you, like ever, like at all. 11/10, would recommend, put it in my earballs a thousand more times. Long live Carly Rae, long may she reign.

Tess: There’s something animal about a crush, or at least its something that happens more bodily than the long yeses and nos of love, leaning away and back in, the straight-mouthed dealings that came later even in the happiest stories. I am gluttonous about my own feelings, an offshoot of self-obsession, a walkway on the path to the imaginary mansion in which I think and preen. I like the taste and touch of experiencing myself experiencing the world. It’s selfish, it’s why I get quiet on good dates, luxuriating already. Cotton candy weighs nothing and rots your teeth, and someone who smiles gummy like in a fourth grade class picture and says they like your chewed up nails, holds them up toward the light for only a moment on the street, is like a thousand soft pink dinners when you don’t even know their middle name. Get light and jumpy. You remember, suddenly, that you have got all of these nerve-endings, entirely alive, somehow, still, and you can’t believe. It is– to be hideous and awful, to reveal myself to be one entirely without shame– a lot like the moment when a wave arcs up over your head, when the spray hits your face and every sound made by anything but the water is blocked out, a high wild tumbling second before the full weight of the ocean crashes on you. Portentous, bombastic, it could be done in a week. You could drown. The maybes are the most fun. I am greedy for those inbetweens when you’re free to be nobody’s somebody, move your own bones, but you’re looking. You’re seeing. I like when you can bite your cheek after a phone call, say, hands up. The drop is coming and you’re a big girl. I like the great sugar-soaked ecstasy of new wanting, when you’ve looked in someone’s eyes (“who gave you eyes like that? / said you could keep them”) and felt that click in your brain that can’t be explained or predicted, just, yes. I say yes.

That’s what “I Really Like You” sounds like. I imagine it will be a hit.

About Elisabeth

Elisabeth Sanders is from California and owns four different pairs of gold shoes.

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