The great CRJ may be the only person in history who can give you a one-year anniversary gift made entirely of last year’s leftovers and leave you feeling blessed beyond belief. Released on August 26 almost exactly one year after the release of its first part, E•MO•TION: Side B is actually a short and sweet compilation of the songs that didn’t make the cut for the former album. It drips with simple pop and cascades into a kind of positive despair at the difficulty of relationships which culminates in the standout “Store” which — oh, oh, we need to have a chat about “Store.”
I remember not wanting to like her music when she came out with her earlier albums; they felt vapid, they had empty lyrics and a spaced-out ’90s background that felt like some selection of music chosen from a deflated volleyball. I mean, “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy/Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry/Sunshine on the water that is so lovely/Sunshine almost always makes me high” is not groundbreaking lyricism; neither is “You talk so sweet and it’s dribbling like honey/It’s just one taste/I see what your tryin’ to do, oh oh, yeah yeah/It’s hot, stakes are getting higher.” But at some point I decided that there’s something in there, some strange Krabby Patty secret recipe that hits you with that dopamine and makes you crave the replay button. To be fair, the Krabby Patties weren’t cooking too well in her first Album, Tug of War.