Carly Rae Jepsen is a Juno-nominated Canadian singer/songwriter from Mission, B.C., who first came to the public attention in the summer of 2007 when she came third in the fifth season of Canadian Idol. After being part of the Canadian IdolTop 3 concert tour, Jepsen retreated to her home state to focus on writing and recording. Her demos attracted some attention and a deal with Fontana/Maple Music followed, leading Jepsen into the studio with producer/writer Ryan Stewart. Her debut album, Tug of War, was released on September 30, 2008.
This is the lead single from Jepsen's first EP, Curiosity. She penned the song with Tavish Crowe, and Josh Ramsay, with the latter also producing the track. Ramsey is the frontman of the Canadian Pop-Punk band Marianas Trench. It was released on September 21, 2011.
The song hit #1 on the Canadian Hot 100, dated the week of February 11, 2012. It was the first time that a Canadian artist had topped the chart since Young Artists for Haiti (a charity collection of Canadian artists) reached the summit with their cover of "Wavin' Flag
" on March 27, 2010. The previous non charity single by a Canadian artist to reach #1 was Nikki Yanofsky who led for four weeks with "I Believe
" starting February 27, 2010.
The song has acquired some famous fans. Justin Bieber tweeted: "'Call Me Maybe' by Carly Rae Jepsen is possibly the catchiest song I've ever heard lol," and his then-girlfriend Selena Gomez added, "This smile is because of Carly Rae Jepsen. We have not stopped listening to your song girl!"
This piece of Teen Pop distinguishes itself through the integration of various contemporary Dance/Club elements. This is apparent in the song's immediate aesthetic, which skillfully blends electronic production and acoustic recordings to create a sound that is both intimate and dynamic. It is stylistically similar to work produced by Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, and uses an extremely catchy chorus, bubbly instrumentation, and familiar Pop song structures to create a work with broad mainstream audience appeal.
The lyrics describe what is at first a straightforward romantic situation, but various lines such as "and now you're in my way" complicate things and create a much more thematically complex song. This is tempered by Jepsen's vocals, which are both upbeat and innocent, creating a powerful interplay between subject and performance that considerably strengthens the songs memorability. Additionally, each verse is punctuated by a non-rhymed concluding declaration, which serves to draw attention to the lines and give them increased emotional weight. The chorus in particular is infectiously memorable, and the structure of the song smartly utilizes this, with choruses taking up almost half the song and further sections (the bridge and breakdown) integrating the melody of the chorus. Throughout all of this, the song makes smart use of shifts in mood and intensity, making it consistently and diversely affecting for the listener.
By taking an extremely popular formula and tweaking it in compelling and attention-drawing ways, "Call Me Maybe" establishes itself as an inviting work that easily has the potential to draw in audiences on a single listen.
This returned to the top of the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 after a video featuring Jepsen singing the song with Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale was uploaded to YouTube on February 18, 2012.
The song's narrator is obviously no shrinking violet and is confident enough to ask a cute boy out. MTV News asked Carly Rae if she is anything like that girl on her song? She replied: "I generally just play eyes at a guy and hope he comes and approaches me, but in this particular instance I was thinking this is how I would do it."
Jepsen told Artist Direct
that it's "a welcome surprise" that "Call Me" took off the way it did. She said: "When you write a bunch of songs, it's like being asked to pick a favorite kid. You wonder what will be loved and which will just be my own little journal entry that I personally like. It was a surprise that it took off the way it did, but a welcome surprise. I think how it was written - it was a folk song to begin with - and how it is about trying to pick up a guy. It is simple and feels good, and I am a romantic at heart. I like the idea of being in the moment of meeting someone, feeling that buzz and that feeling of attraction that you act on. You have to be spontaneous and brave. I have never been brave enough to ask for his number, but that's how I would do it if I was."
This song topped the UK's first ever music streaming weekly chart, which was unveiled on May 14, 2012. The countdown is compiled by the Official Charts Company and is based on music streamed via on-demand services such as Spotify and We7. However, video streaming services like YouTube are not reflected in the tally.
Jepsen was asked by NPR whether guys ever use this song's lyrics as a pickup line. The Canadian songstress replied: "It's happened a few times, yes. And they usually think that they're the first person to do it. Some guys start with, 'Hey, I just met you and this is crazy...' It's not very original."
This was the first Hot 100 #1 by a Canadian artist in over five years. The previous citizen of Canada to record a chart-topper was Avril Lavigne who reigned with "Girlfriend
" in May 2007.
"Call Me" was also only the second #1 recorded by a Carly - the other one being Carly Simon whose "You're So Vain
" led for three weeks in January 1973.
The song was Jepsen's first to enter the Hot 100 and in topping the chart she became the first lead female to reach #1 in a debut visit in two and a half years. Kesha was the previous one to do so, when she sent "TiK ToK
" to the peak position in January 2010.
It's a rare feat for a lead artist with a three-name moniker to appear at #1. The previous treble-named singer to top the Hot 100 was Terence Trent D'Arby, who reached the summit with "Wishing Well
" in the week of May 7, 1988. Co-incidentally, Jepsen refers to a wishing well in this song, when she sings: "I threw a wish in the well, don't ask me, I'll never tell."
Jepsen told Billboard magazine that this got written the way a lot of her songs happen. The singer explained that when she and her guitarist Tavish Crowe are on the road together, during downtown she'll sing out ideas whilst he plays off some chords on an acoustic guitar. "Actually, the chorus lyrics came out really easily," she added, "the entire thing: [singing] 'Hey I just met you, and this is crazy.' We thought it was a nice little pre-chorus or something. We brought the idea to Josh and he was like, 'That's your chorus right there, keep that, that's it.' After a little while of production and just working together we had the song done. It was really easy to write."
The song's mainstream pop sound differs from Jepsen's 2008 debut album, Tug Of War
. The Canadian songstress explained to the Associated Press that when she and her collaborators were penning this tune, "we used the idea of [it] being like a modern-day Annie Lennox-type pop [song], like 'Walking On Broken Glass
Jepsen continued: "So, we decided to add some different instruments like strings, things you don't normally hear in pop songs right now. [But] we weren't expecting that it was going to be a game-changing song, we just thought it was a little bit of a tune and now we're all just kind of looking at each other like: 'What happened?'"
The song spent nine weeks at #1 on the Hot 100, the most by a Canadian-born woman in the chart's history. The previous best had been the six weeks spent by Celine Dion with both "Because You Love Me
" in 1996 and "I'm Your Angel," in 1998 plus Nelly Furtado with "Promiscuous
" in 2006.
The song's music video features Canadian model Holden Nowell as Carly's love interest, who in the end turns out to be interested in one of her band members. The gay reveal at the end was first seen on MTV in 1981 when Olivia Newton-John did it in her video for "Physical
The hit tune topped Billboard's 2012 "Songs of the Summer" chart. The annual survey tracks the most popular songs based on cumulative performance on the weekly Hot 100 chart from Memorial Day through to Labor Day.
The Ukrainian singer Aza filed a lawsuit in L.A. accusing Carly Rae Jepsen of stealing her Christmas song "Hunky Santa" and turning it into "Call Me Maybe." According to the suit, producers simply tweaked her tune before adding Carly Rae Jepsen's voice.
This won Best Song at the 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards. Carly Rae also won Best Push at the same ceremony.
This was #1 on MTV News' list of Best Songs of 2012. They said: "Was there any song catchier than Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' in 2012? Rather, has there been a catchier song ever? Probably not, which is why the flirty track has landed in the top spot."
The song's music video was the most viewed clip on Vevo in 2012 having delivered over 360 million views across the service. One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful
" was the second most watched visual.
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, this was the best-selling single of 2012 globally, with 12.5 million units sold worldwide during the year.
This won Single of the Year at the 2013 Junos. Carly Rae also took the prizes for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year for Kiss at the same ceremony.
Josh Ramsay told Billboard magazine that Jepsen came up with the song's hook but he then chose to push the tune in a dance-pop direction. "She came in with such a different song at first," he recalled. "It had what became the chorus' lyrics and melody. She already had that as the pre-chorus in a different song that was like a folk song. So we put that into a different song and built a new song around it."
In 2017, Billboard named this the song with the greatest chorus of the century (to that point). When the magazine asked the songwriter Bonnie McKee
, who placed on the list with "Dynamite
" by Taio Cruz and "Teenage Dream
" by Katy Perry, she said: "'Call Me Maybe' is so fascinating, because first of all it just completely f--king came out of left field. These two basically unknown writers write this f--king song of the century. It was interesting, because the melody is so simple and the concept is so simple, but it's very original. It was not derivative of anything you heard before."
In 2012, Sesame Street's Cookie Monster tried to get everyone to give him cookies by singing a parody version called "Share It Maybe."
Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Ashley Tisdale recorded a lip dub video tribute to the song that hit YouTube in February 2012. The popular clip garnered 30 million views in three months and inspired other celebrities to create their own versions, including Katy Perry and James Franco.
The song also inspired a slew of image memes with funny twists on the lyrics. For example, a Star Wars-themed meme has Darth Vader saying, "Hey, I just met you and this is crazy. But I'm your father, so join me maybe."