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Jay Som’s infatuation with Carly Rae Jepsen’s purist pop is a sign of her growing confidence

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Melina Duterte is loosening up. In 2016, under her Jay Som moniker, she released the compilation Turn Into, a collection of songs from the past few years that earnestly bounces between fuzzed-out folkie dream pop and more tightly wound shoegaze, though less with glee than with purpose. But with her new album Everybody Works (Polyvinyl) everything has started to blend. Songs rollick more, less bound to metronomic rhythms, and every once in a while Duterte just lets melodies fly, dabbing a little melisma here and unfurling her vocal rhythms a bit there. It’s tempting to point to the influence of Carly Rae Jepsen, whose Emotion was supposedly in constant rotation for Duterte during the recording of Works. But it’s more likely that the infatuation with Jepsen’s purist pop—along with Duterte’s growing willingness to relax on record—is just a sign of growing confidence, which was undoubtedly boosted by 2016 tours with Japanese Breakfast and Mitski. “For me, it felt like we had a mission,” Duterte told Pitchfork in February. And with Jay Som now holding top billing on its 2017 tour, Duterte seems committed to carrying that mission forward.   v

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