Having achieved a certain amount of credibility by auditioning with her own self-penned song and performing tracks from the likes of Melissa Etheridge, Feist, and Sarah Slean during her 12-week stint on the show, third-placed 2007 Canadian Idol finalist Carly Rae Jepsen's respectable status was further consolidated when she received two Juno Award nominations for her acoustic folk-pop debut, Tug of War. However, her follow-up, Curiosity (trimmed down from an intended full-length album to this six-track EP), unexpectedly abandons her previous singer/songwriter approach in favor of an unashamed bubblegum sound which harks back to the early 2000s pop princess glory days of Britney, Christina, Jessica, and Mandy. It may be something of a curveball, but it's one which Jepsen and regular collaborator Ryan Stewart's glossy, carefree production pulls off in style. Co-written with Marianas Trench frontman Josh Ramsay, lead single and Canadian chart-topper "Call Me Maybe" (the first number one from a home-grown act since Justin Bieber's "Baby") is an irresistible slice of cutesy teen pop which combines anthemic stabbed synth strings which a chorus that just about straddles that fine line between sugary sweet and sickly; "Just a Step Away" is a similarly jaunty love song adapted from a tune written by Jepsen's father for his wedding day; while the bouncy title track and the shimmering "Picture" are convincing forays into infectious synth pop. The brave but flawed electro-tinged cover of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" will no doubt be seen as sacrilegious by fans of the melancholic original, but it's the only real question mark on a confident comeback which leaves you wondering why Jepsen didn't have enough faith to commit to a studio album proper.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien