My sophomore year of college was a haze of marijuana smoke, trying to impress the frat brothers by going shot-for-shot, dancing in the center of the room. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” wasn’t a new release in 2013 but was a group favorite, a staple at parties. I had the privilege of lurking in the house when those parties were over, the security of a group of lmen who’d protect my girlfriends as they slowly began to experiment. A safe place for excess. Though the boyfriend who introduced me to the frat wasn’t worth the drama, and though many of the friendships turned out temporary, Carly Rae Jepsen still transports me in an instant to sweat on my neck, a hundred people crammed into a little room, singing. Happy. Cool.
Six years later, I’m getting ready for work in Orange, California. It’s April and getting warm enough to hang out on the front porch again. I don’t trust Spotify’s taste in recommendations — it keeps throwing me fouls — but I’m giving my Discover Weekly a try. And as I wing out my eyeliner and lean in closer to the mirror, a shiny, familiar voice rings over the lilting, unfamiliar beat:
Am I bad for you?
’Cause I live for the fire, and the rain, and the drama too, boy
And it feels like you never say what you want
And it feels like I can’t get through, babe
Ooh, that melodramatic boy.
When I party, then I party too much
When I feel it, then I feel it too much
When I’m thinking, then I’m thinking too much
When I’m drinking, then I’m drinking too much
All those shots. Those crowded rooms.
I’ll do anything to get to the rush
Now I’m dancing, and I’m dancing too much
So be careful if you’re wanting this touch
’Cause if I love you, then I love you too much
I listen on repeat till it’s time to go to work. Dance around my house to “Too Much” when I get home again. Transported, if only for that instant, by Carly Rae Jepsen back to sweat, back to dancing, singing, happy. Cool.
(Song recommendation by Carly Madison Taylor)