Six gay men pay E•MO•TIONal tribute to the underrated popular music star, cutting to their feelings in honour of she 33rd birthday.

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Queen that Birthdays. Carly Rae Jepsen performs in January 2018 in las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Queeries is a weekly pillar by arts producer Peter Knegt that queries LGBTQ art, culture and/or identification through a personal lens.

Don't obtain me wrong: Like any type of warm-blooded gay male born in the 1980s, ns love Carly Rae Jepsen. I unquestionably take into consideration her 2015 album E•MO•TION the biggest pop album of this decade. I have actually spent numerous hours explaining to straight people why the is so attack to ever before utter the sentence, "What, the 'Call Me Maybe' girl?" And mine most-played tune of all time ~ above Spotify is — in a little bit of a twisted — "Roses" off Jepsen's 2016 EP E•MO•TION: side B (I reference a perfectly timed breakup).


See, it's true.

While I an ext than enthusiastically wish she a very happy 33rd birthday (a date of birth she shares v Björk, Goldie Hawn, Amanda Lepore and Cherry Jones, saying today really should be a stat holigay), I do feel choose in bespeak to effectively serenade her increase to a happy pop messiah (33 is your Jesus year, after all), I needed some reinforcements native the military of gay men who make my very own fandom look relatively casual. So I made decision to open up up this week's shaft as a forum the sorts because that a party of six rabid CRJ fans to discuss both your love because that her and why specifically they feel she has come to be so specifically renowned with our ilk. (In the way words of the true prince of gay Twitter luigi Virtel, "It feels like only gay men can hear the indigenous 'Carly Rae Jepsen.'")

Daniel Laurin

I only realized the Carly Rae Jepsen to be a queer symbol after finding out that she was not "straight famous" — that is, as central to the rest of the civilization as she to be to me and my friends. My directly friends didn't know her music past "Call Me Maybe." They assumed it was odd that three other homos and I would schlep to Detroit for her concert because her just Toronto display was opening for Hedley (yes, the Hedley) in ~ the air Canada Centre. The border agent seemed just as perplexed when we told him who we were crossing right into the United says to see.

I didn't know why castle didn't acquire it. Her second album, Kiss, is fun, if not greatly fluff. Yet her third, E•MO•TION, is a piece of popular music perfection: smart, earnest, synth-y and new Wave-y but also cutting-edge. "Your Type" is a sexy, heartbreaking jam the dares you not to you to mouth its text while providing it your all on a sweaty run floor. "Boy Problems" is a shimmering, shoulder-shimmying send-off bop who accompanying Petra Collins video is cute and campy v that gauzy, of-the-moment aesthetic (which would certainly later obtain Collins recruited come shoot campaigns for Gucci). Despite the album to be the subject of several breathless Pitchfork features and made plenty of year-end best-of lists, that still stayed that album the my right friends preserved "meaning to listen to."

Perhaps it's due to the fact that these are particular queer pleasures. And perhaps her relative obscurity is part of her queer appeal. Gay males love one underdog: a popular music star who's struggled publicly (think Britney, Kesha) or one who they feel has been mismanaged through their label (Tinashe, Ciara). It seemed clear that Carly's management didn't seem come know just how to market this post-"Call Me Maybe" version of her. The an initial single turn off of E•MO•TION, "I Really choose You," is not an especially indicative the the much more experimental sound the the rest of the album, but it absolutely sounds the most like "Call Me Maybe." The video mostly stars Tom Hanks, and also CRJ only makes an appearance near the finish (Justin Bieber shows up, too). Did she label not think she could carry her own music video? and then there was the tour through Hedley — what to be the vanguard of pop music doing opened up because that this aging pop-punk-turned-arena-rock band?

It's no that Carly isn't leaning right into her status as queer icon. She's played Brighton Pride, turned a festival outing right into a Pride performance (inviting viral video clip star note Kanemura onstage to snatch literal meaning wigs) and sported that Joan Jett mullet. All of this earns she rainbow points. Yet Carly cemented her queer symbol status because that me through the track "I Didn't just Come here to Dance," a bonus monitor on the deluxe edition that E•MO•TION. End a home beat, the monitor tells the story that CRJ going to a club with the on purpose of capturing the eye of her crush and also leaving through him. "I didn't simply come below to dance, if you recognize what ns mean," she sings. "Do you recognize what i mean?" ns think queers, in particular, know what she means.

Daniel Laurin is a PhD student in Cinema studies at the university of Toronto.

Tyler Shaw

There's an undeniable wave of elation the rushes over me as soon as the first few chords of "Cut come the Feeling" or "I Didn't just Come below to Dance" (or insert plenty of hits here) chime out. A sonic scintillation, a sweet aroma because that the ears, a warm-and-fuzzy for the soul. Mine pouty mood have the right to do a complete 180 the minute among her delicious monitor belts the end of a speaker. Over current years, Carly Rae Jepsen has end up being a go-to artist that myself and also an military of "Jepsies" deserve to plug into and immediately beam a little brighter together we listen to the pop tunes she so specifically masters.

I recall see this 22-year-old hopeful on Canadian Idol because that the first time in 2007 and recognizing the she to be destined for pop royalty. As a keener production assistant on the TV franchise — whereby young Canadians aspired come dream as huge as your American counterparts — ns remember feeling as though my being there and her functioning her means up the ranking were somewhat cosmically connected. I was captivated with this precocious bubblegum princess who wanted nothing more than to make it big.

While her trip was cut brief on season five, those who've followed any kind of of the Idols understand that the isn't the really winners the these reflects that walk on to better fame. She fate to be ironically sealed after no snatching the winning spot, together she'd walk on to elevate it s her even higher than past winners Kalan Porter or Melissa O'Neil. (Speaking of, where space they now?) She could now develop the music she want to, there is no being compelled into the music an equipment that future producers to be obviously going to cram her into. Or, at least, that was the stare I produced for my little starlet.

Our cumulative dreams — visions of one ascension come stardom — came true soon thereafter, when she was quite literally catapulted into pop paradise. "Call Me Maybe" was an insatiable earworm (snaps come Bieber and pals for making the happen), and to my and my queer friends' salivation alike, the heartthrob she lusted ~ in the video clip was together boy-obsessed as she was! Hark, the gay angels sing! She was embracing a demographic that would inevitably come to be her largest audience, and also I couldn't have actually been more thrilled.

Her song recount story of unrequited, fleeting and misguided love — facets of life I'm certain my happy brethren deserve to all too familiarly called to. She likewise offers a feeling of humility and also sensitivity that we often seek the end in our male crushes. Ns mean, what's an ext appropriate for a gaggle of homos than a track dubbed "Boy Problems"?

The Carly the 2018 has seen unavoidable success due, in volumes, come the administration of her brand: bopping musicality merged with a sweeter-than-maple-syrup image. Anthemic choruses, sax riffs and all the synth you have the right to handle finish in a sound so pure in that poppiness. Her critics might say her songs all have actually a straightforward repetition, but fans would respond to by saying the this familiarity is exactly why castle come back each and every time and endure such a rousing, aural embrace.

Now, v multiple albums under she belt and also a brand-new record on the verge the dropping, a group of adoring CRJ devotees have the right to barely contain their anticipation for a post-E•MO•TION banger. I was so keen that I put out feelers to publication her because that an upcoming family festival. Obviously, my darling comes through a not-surprisingly-out-of-budget price tag. And so she should! Girl has actually done she homework, and also it's ultimately time to construct her bubblegum queendom.

Carly, babe, if you're out there, i think it's safe to say: i really, really, really, really, really, really prefer you.

Tyler shaw is an arts and society producer.

Matthew Poirier

Growing increase in rural Nova Scotia as a closeted happy boy, I gained used come hiding all of the "girly" music I delighted in listening to. Britney, Christina, Mariah, the Spice girl — girl power wasn't intended for boys. However that adjusted slowly with time as ns became an ext comfortable in my own skin.

Cut come the emotion in in march 2016, once I found myself crossing the border right into Detroit to watch Carly Slay Jepsen's Gimmie Love tour, the an initial of many shows I'd attend. My friend and also I cryptically told the border security officer we were visiting to view a concert. As soon as he asked that we to be seeing, ns bashfully responded. "The 'Call Me Maybe' girl?" the asked. Ns politely notified him the it to be arguably the weakest of every her songs and then launched into a well-rehearsed lecture on Carly's recently released, critically acclaimed, however undersold album and her rise in the "gay icon" ranks. That politely let me have actually my soapbox moment and then waved united state on our way. Ns proudly stan because that Carly! Is that what the kids are saying these days?

In hindsight, a "gay icon"? Well, probably not yet, but she's on she way. An LGBTQ ally with lyrics the make you feeling seen, heard and also understood? Absolutely. In a civilization where pop culture craves songs around relationships and also love stories, Carly's music concentrates on other we have the right to all relate to: feelings. Her songs storage the intimacy and primacy of those extreme emotions the forbidden desires and mystery crushes, recognized vividly by that young, closeted gay boy from landscape Nova Scotia. The homages Carly payment to feeling — excitement, anticipation and the are afraid of impossible love — are something that young, queer Matthew needed, but couldn't find.

You don't have to act on her feelings or desires because that them come matter. They still deserve a fun, bouncy, synth-pop saxophone riff with all the glitter and also disco balls only Carly Slay have the right to offer.

Matthew Poirier is a Non-Profit policy & communications Manager.

Brett Ashley

I mental the first time my friend Vanessa played me E•MO•TION. The timing to be perfect: I had just met a man who ns was head-over-heels for, but I didn't understand if that felt the same means or if anything would work-related out. In fact, he to be leaving city in a couple of weeks. (Is over there anything that intensifies a relationship an ext than offering it a time limit?) I to be a true water authorize in an s of emotion. So as soon as my girlfriend threw ~ above CRJ, ns dove deep.

I was in shock — this wasn't the "Call Me Maybe" bubblegum pop i was expecting. This to be layered, raw and also a lot more grown up. There to be a little of a negative girl in there, a most hurt and some great moments when her Scorpio was yes, really showing. I was hooked! I'd run to "All That" if falling hard for this guy, then, when he to be gone, I'd weep to "Your Type." Later, when I was out and around trying to discover a rapid fix to heal my damaged heart, "I Didn't just Come right here to Dance" became my anthem. The album had everything I necessary to take care of myself during that time. (And Carly's music would attach me with the next large love in mine life quickly after that, as well, but that's too facility to get into here.)

After plenty of replays the E•MO•TION, i felt favor I had actually to re-publishing the album through the world, or at least other queers in the city. Therefore my friend Kevin — who was likewise under the CRJ order — and I decided to throw boy Problems: A Queer dance Party. Us threw together some homemade Carly Rae cardboard cut-outs, make a poster and also got some friends to DJ. That night, us filled a meet of about 100 in under one hour and also had a heat up under the block — turns out we weren't the only gays devouring the album.

With the release of Side B, Kevin and also I threw a followup party at a bigger venue, finish with traction performances and also another Carly Rae cut-out come pose with. We had an also bigger turnout (expect the following one in the new year v her following album release), and this time, Carly take it notice. She re-posted Instagram photos, retweeted partygoers and also even sent out in a video saying that she wished she can have attended! A few months ~ the party, a woman came approximately me and said she met she newest lover at the party. They had danced with each other to "Warm Blood," my favourite song, and had been inseparable ever before since. That's the power of Carly.

To me, Carly Rae Jepsen brings all kinds of civilization together, also if only for one night. She's come so much from to sing "Torn" on Canadian Idol. Carly is love, sex and tears ~ above the dance floor. She's the Canadian Queen that Pop, Queen that Scorpios, Queen of Emotions, Queen the Swords.

Happy birthday, Carly Slay!

Brett Ashley is a reality television producer.

Juan Barquin​

Practically every mrs who has actually released a pop album in she career has actually ascended to the status of queer symbol in part capacity, but trailing Carly Rae Jepsen's rise is miscellaneous fascinating. She concerts — or at least the persons I've to be to — room filled with two distinct audiences: preteen girl who want to shout along to "I Really prefer You" and queer people (mostly happy men) in your 20s and also 30s who have the right to quote every letter of every tune the mrs has ever released. For numerous people, she'll never ever ascend past being recognized as the "Call Me Maybe" girl, yet for queer folks, Kiss and E•MO•TION offer as the Old and brand-new Testament of pop music, the latter thought about by part as the ideal pop album the the 2010s (and rightfully so).

First off, Jepsen understands the struggle. She's out here, ~ above every album, singing about her crushes. Whatever is falling apart in the world, but sometimes the most important thing in life is having actually "Boy Problems," wanting a young to "Call Me Maybe" or dreaming of someone who will "Run Away through Me." It's what popular music artists have done for decades, what Taylor Swift to be unfairly criticized because that doing in recent years (by misogynists who would fairly jack turn off to Ryan Adams' boring consists of her pop debut) and also what we'll proceed to hear to for an eternity.

There's likewise something endlessly enchanting about existing in this people of pop pleasure: a people where our troubles can it is in danced away, one of two people on our own, through our girlfriend or v the male we met in the club that "Didn't just Come below to Dance." Carly Rae Jepsen has countless joy flowing with her music, also when she's singing around heartbreak, and it's impossible not to loss hard as a queer person.

Calling Jepsen's music "queer" may be a stretch because that some, but we live in a civilization where people taken on Lady Gaga's cheap effort at encompassing a bevy the identities ~ above "Born This Way," so probably making the declaration isn't lot of a stretch. After all, what's queerer 보다 a crush you can't act on? Than having actually to hold in your desire? than longing because that someone you can't have? There's an pure sincerity in the way that Jepsen sings every line of she music, which makes it simple to make funny of (cue the "Run Away through Me" meme that brushed up the country — or maybe just Twitter and also Tumblr), yet it's hard not to discover oneself enamoured with that level the earnestness.

In her music video clip for "Party for One" — a single that's derivative that works prefer Robyn's "Dancing on my Own" and Hailee Steinfeld's "Love Myself," however no less enjoyable due to the fact that of it — she renders a interlocutor declaration that we've all already known: her music is because that everyone. By featuring a widely diverse selection of persons dancing and embracing what others could perceive as an oddity, we have actually an anthem come self-love from the artist who seems to understand every nook and also cranny of love, indigenous the magic of see a crush for the an initial time come the heartache the comes v the end of it. Now, if you'll excuse every my leaps into hyperbole, I'll be off to hear to some more Carly Rae Jepsen, one of the just pop stars that will forever stay "stuck in my head, stuck in mine heart, stuck in my body, body."

Juan Barquin is a freelance writer and programmer because that Flaming Classics.

Derek Aubichon 

How weird it was to be struck by this plucky theatre kid on a random episode of the 5th season of Canadian Idol the I happened to catch. How was it the she had just perform "Chuck E's in Love," Rickie Lee Jones' groovy, largely forgotten, late-70s folk-jazz hit on primetime Canadian television? It to be a deep reduced by one of my all-time favourite singer-songwriters and also a pretty left field an option for a 22-year-old come be singing on TV in 2007. Where did she destruction that up?

The Jepsen of Idol was practically naively earnest, a bit like Amy Adams in Enchanted — a sweet-as-pie Disney princess through a clear and reedy music theatre voice, however with a note of cheekiness to she aw shucks-isms (her schtick to be cheese, however it to be cheese notified by some aspect of taste and also sass). To be it all a showbiz act, playing to the family members audiences in ~ home, and was she actually, maybe, privately cool? Or at least a cool nerd? go she actually, maybe, "get it"?

Despite Canadian Idol judge Sass Jordan's assertions the Ms. Jepsen to be gonna it is in a star, i hadn't supposed to hear from she again. Flash-forward a couple of years under the heat — after ~ labelmate Biebs tweeted out his appreciation because that the pure-pop earworm "Call Me Maybe," spawning a global viral video clip phenomenon that spontaneous, fan-made sheathe versions — and also she suddenly had the track of the summer. An additional surprising revolve — homegirl made an excellent on the global stage. It to be a squeaky clean popular music confection around the very first blush that infatuation, other than it additionally had a wink constructed in, once you scratched that surface. The song has some interesting lyrics that invert cliché and syntax ("Before friend came into my life, i missed you so bad"), and Jepsen wasn't being specifically coy about how she handed out her number to hot men ("Ripped jeans, skin was showing"). A lot was made about the really teen-pop-like sentiment of the song around being express by a mrs in her late 20s, yet I was by this suggest a guy in mine mid-30s — recently dating again ~ a long period of coupledom — and though i didn't instantly love the monitor itself, it seemed to me that unbridled enthusiasm, romantic melodrama and also horniness weren't the to exclude, domain of the really young, and that certain dismissal that the singer and also the song's merits to be bizarre.

A year or 2 later, i was ~ above the brand-new York City subway and saw posters announcing Carly Rae Jepsen certification in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella top top Broadway (opposite Fran Drescher, no less). The seemed around right. She was play the Disney princess, and also she was gaining work — an excellent for she — but she also seemed, well, favor a one-hit wonder top top her way back down.

That is until the spring of 2015, when a new single was announced to drop. I remember reasoning it was feasible something good was coming. In ~ first, "I Really choose You" (accompanied by an inexplicably uncool video clip featuring nice-guy square Tom Hanks) seemed favor a "Call Me Maybe" 2.0, but with closer listening, that revealed chin to it is in a complete electro-pop banger and an additional paean come the gushing excitement of play the field, together told by a 30-year-old grown woman. The singer "knows this isn't love," but really likes you, and girlfriend both keep finding yourselves in undisclosed positions, late at night, the town hall television. Was this good? It might be good.

Jepsen soon played the track on SNL and likewise debuted a new cut called "All That," a lite-80s synth ballad co-produced through Blood Orange's Dev Hynes (who you might know indigenous his occupational with skies Ferriera) and Ariel Rechtshaid (Charli XCX, HAIM). This was, unambiguously, expected to be cool — and it was. Ns hadn't made the up. And each successive cut I heard seemed to confirm this. When a second single, the sax-heavy, Debbie Gibson-esque "Run Away through Me" was released, it was apparent I to be going to be spending some real time through this record. What ns didn't suspect was that the LP, called E•MO•TION, would finished up top top near-constant rotation because that the numerous months that followed.

Song ~ song, the record hit that perfect note, combining man Hughes-hued production with emotional, heart-on-your-sleeve sophistication, when Jepsen sang around taking chances on love and sex in ~ the hazard of landing flat on she face. They to be all incredibly catchy, but additionally incredibly heartfelt. She had arised as an artist and also writer with a voice who, though she collaborations with a range of producers and co-writers (Jepsen's said to have recorded as numerous as 200 cut in developing the album), was finding a means to marry her love of popular music idioms v the confessional technique of her individual idols. In interviews, she to be smart, articulate and also magnanimous, and also seemed come know simply what she was after, positioning herself together the writer of the brand-new downtown mindset she to be displaying (i.e. Disney princess it s okay a loft in the city and also navigates hookup culture).

At the very same time, she embraced couture, trading she long, safe, girl-next-door locks because that a black, Joan Jett-style fashion mullet (that has due to the fact that evolved right into a bleach blonde bob). While the was, perhaps, an too many daring format experiment come go in addition to her development as an artist (a discuss the YouTube page for her "Boy Problems" video clip read just "Hair Problems"), it prove a willingness come transcend small definitions. She was farming up, trying new things, finding out what she liked, obtaining over herself and letting loose, regardless of a society that would have celebrities emerge completely formed. She was someone that had always wanted to it is in cool and had finally identified how to do it.

E•MO•TION's bungled rollout (it to be released a month earlier in Japan 보다 the remainder of the world, likely hurting its commercial prospects, together everyone interested could download the via file-sharing sites) and the album's hip, retro-poptimism added to a crucial consensus the it to be an overlooked gem — and that with her on-point sonic references and one-off chart-topper, Carly Rae Jepsen was an underdog precious championing. I drank this Kool-Aid and also was easily subsumed in finish Jephead-edness.

I wasn't the just one: every gay ns knew was whispering around the album and also was gobsmacked regarding why they liked it for this reason exceedingly. When, some months later, part friends and also I decided to litter a pair of queer Carly Rae dance parties, we had lineups about the block. Why was all of this resonating for this reason profoundly through an LGBTQ audience? Of food they didn't just pertained to dance (if girlfriend knew what she meant) however specifically to run to songs that made them feel something.

Who have the right to never it is in sure, but it occurs to me now that she previous, an ext basic popular music LP, Kiss, had actually perhaps been a semi-awkward overcorrection, a shift away from her earnest, drama-club folkiness as she do the efforts to number out that she might be and also the form of art she would make. Maybe shaking off several of her youthful preconceptions and also pretences — Carly's twink phase, if you will — was a step she had actually to go through to unify integrity and also fun, and get to the much more fully-realized, post-E•MO•TION iteration of her career that she was currently enjoying. This is relatable. That gets better and that got far better for Carly Rae Jepsen.

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Gay masculine taste regularly seems to overlap through that of teenage girls, perhaps because there is a willingness to indulge and celebrate a sentimentality and extra-ness that straight adult culture dismisses together juvenile. I think the crucial to CRJ's take on by a queer fanbase has a lot of to perform with her advancement from a charming geek right into someone comfortable v being self-possessed, easily accessible and an imaginative on their very own terms, and also with carving their very own niche. Revelation: you deserve to be a kind, fully-actualized person with great taste, a wealthy emotional within life and an active sex journey who additionally loves a killer bop — every at the same time. Carly Rae is an interesting situation of one adult mrs artist who embodies all of these characteristics.

It provides sense that someone who displays a romantic girlishness in the work-related she makes, yet with adult preoccupations and also perspectives, would certainly play well through a queer audience, due to the fact that this dovetails with an especially queer rigid of perpetual self-discovery. Contact it Peter Pan Syndrome (or everything the lady variation of the is), yet maybe there's naught wrong with that. Maybe it just takes some world longer to obtain where they're going 보다 others — or possibly they don't obtain there in ~ all, and also opt to go get lost in the beauty beauty of the scenery along the method instead. And maybe that's awesome.

HBD, Carly. I (and we) really prefer you.

Derek Aubichon is one artist and the co-host of miss out on Thing: A Podcast around Women & Songs