As she’s spun up new pop jelly beans in recent years, Carly Rae Jepsen has developed a reputation for ludicrous productivity, reportedly generating hundreds of new songs for each album. So it’s hardly surprisingly that a pesky annoyance such a global pandemic isn’t going to abate the constant swirl of melodies, rhythms, and words inside her head. Given her backlog of material, she could keep dropping previously unheard singles from now to the end of days, diving into her vault of songs like Scrooge McDuck plummeting into his dune of doubloons. Instead, Jepsen went ahead and made a new song, inspired by her longing for the yesteryear of life as a touring musician.
“Me and the Boys in the Band” is sunshiny and charming, positing life on the road as the ultimate opportunity for reinvention (“Driving all night to make that show/ I’ll be a whole new girl tomorrow”), a necessary balm as she shakes off a bad romance (“One day we will meet as friends/ But I am not good at pretending/ You were so good at pretending”). It has all the sturdy girders of the best pop songs, dressed up in glittery new buntings. As a celebration of the time when Jepsen could still step on a stage in front of fans and sing her heart out, sharing herself one night at a time, it’s like the long-awaited counterargument to Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty.” That fitting, because Jepsen’s tank is always full, and yet she also manages to keep topping it off.