It’s been over three years since Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion turned the Canadian singer from a one-hit-wonder into a cult pop figure and critical darling. In the intervening years, Jepsen has kept herself busy with film and TV roles—including last year’s Leap!, which featured her song “Cut to the Feeling”—but she finally seems poised to make her official comeback with “Party for One,” the first single from her fourth album.
Jepsen teased that a new era was imminent on Instagram earlier this week, posting a cryptic photo of herself lounging in bed with a magazine in her lap, a slice of pepperoni pizza in one hand, and licorice in the other, her cat sniffing the candy curiously as she stares despondently into the distance. The image is an apt personification of the song’s theme of self-care in the face of rejection: “If you didn’t know that you were right for me/Then there’s nothing that I can say,” Jepsen sings in the track’s opening verse before declaring, “I’m not over you, but I’m trying.”
Clips of dark, stuttering beats posted on Jepsen’s social media suggested “Party for One” might invite comparisons to Taylor Swift’s Reputation, but the song is quintessential Carly Rae: all shimmering synths, swirling strings, and bouncy keyboards reminiscent of “Call Me Maybe.” If the hook isn’t as immediate as that hit or “Cut to the Feeling,” it’s probably because the song delivers its message of self-love with a wink rather than a sledgehammer: “If you don’t care about me/Making love to myself/Back on my beat.”
The music video, directed by Bardia Zeinali, finds Jepsen dancing around her hotel room in her Calvin Kleins, intercut with scenes of other hotel guests throwing parties for one throughout the building. A sudden blackout brings them all together in the lobby for a dance party.
Jepsen’s forthcoming album is set for release in 2019 by Interscope Records.