Nice Hits!is a Reverb column that unironically dissects, reviews, and appreciates the best songs of the current Top 40. It is unsnobbishly premised on the logic that just because a lot of the music on the radio is crap doesn't mean all the music on the radio is crap.
The hit: "This Kiss," Carly Rae Jepsen, off Kiss.
Current chart position: #90 on iTunes, uncharted on Billboard.
The team: Jepsen co-wrote "This Kiss" with Matthew Koma and Stefan Kendal Gordy, both of whom also produced the track. Koma is a New York musician who's currently opening for Owl City's tour in support of his Parachute EP; he's also Jepsen's boyfriend. Gordy is better known as Redfoo, the 37-year-old vocalist and keytarist of LMFAO. (For what it's worth, "This Kiss" has little in common with the head-pounding bombast of LMFAO's music). Also credited for contributing to the track: the Los Angeles electronic producer Rob Danzen and the vocalist/LMFAO collaborator Kelly Covell.
Breakdown: "This Kiss" stands out for the same reason that Jepsen's monster smash "Call Me Maybe" first did--in the age of pop music's immersion in dark dubstep beats, it's light and sparkling. "This Kiss" is even more sugary than "Call Me Maybe," unbelievable as that may sound, and while it likely won't be able to outpace the popularity of that song, it's the more sophisticated track of the two, thanks to its fizzy, 80s-reminiscent beat and evenly measured melody. Jepsen has mentioned Robyn as one of her main influences, and "This Kiss" bears a similarity to the Swedish pop artist's quick, splashy style. It's also got a naughtier spin than the schoolgirl lyrics of "Call Me Maybe": "And she's a real sweet girl/And you know I got a boy/Details we both forgot to mention," Jepsen throws off, airily.
Sonically, the song is light as a feather, and so is the lyrical content. (That's in contrast to Robyn, whose songs often deal in dark matter). "This Kiss" doesn't go deep, but many of the most beloved pop songs don't. They don't need to, because they're about immediacy and pleasure. And Jepsen's bankrolling her image on a sort of inoffensive, flirty and sweet innocence, at least for now. "This Kiss" is just as appealingly infectious as "Call Me Maybe," and it's a good choice as the song to pull her over the one-hit wonder hump.