027 :: SWITCH

Listen to "027 :: SWITCH" on Spreaker.


"Psychedelic Switch" by Carly Rae Jepsen, from The Loveliest Time, released by 604 Records in 2023. Listen


This is an ode to my song of the year – the song I played more times than any other song, and that played in my head countless more times than that – a perfect song, an electric song, an unstoppable, irresistible song that never failed to sweep me up and carry me away.

This song's pleasures are immediate and undeniable. But like the last time I talked about this artist, we must be careful not to overthink this music. Because what it's really about is that feeling that it stirs up inside us – that euphoria, that release, that palpable satisfaction. This isn't music to analyze; it's music that's here to make us dance and laugh and throw all our other cares away.

But there is, I believe, a little more to this song, and so at the risk of flouting my own advice, I'm going to overthink it a bit. Because I do think this song is telling us something, or at least discloses it by the by amidst its revelry and exuberance.

On its surface, this is a song about the transformative power of love: its capacity to act as a "psychedelic switch", to flip our minds into a new mode and change the very way we see the world, such that all our prior worries dissipate in the face of this new feeling. But this song is also unmistakeably a song about the transformative power of music, and its capacity to act upon us in precisely the same way. More than any other art form, music has the ability to lift our spirits in an instant. More than any other art form, the experience of music can be as euphoric and intoxicating as the experience of love. More than any other art form, music can even be indistinguishable from our emotions themselves. Like the singer says, they were "a sad, sad song" before. But now, with this song, it's like a psychedelic switch.

And what is it like to be in such a beatific state? The singer sums it up in a single lyric: they'd be "satisfied forever with a couple of years of this". Like love, music doesn't need to be timeless to be worthwhile or meaningful or even life-changing. Some of the most important pleasures we feel are ephemeral ones. And music doesn't let us forget that, because music, in the best cases, makes us feel it. So here's to my song of the year, which even if it's just for this year and no others, is more than enough to keep me satisfied forever.

Liner Notes

The Loveliest Time is the sister album to The Loneliest Time, Carly Rae Jepsen's 2022 album, and follows in the footsteps of E•MO•TION: Side B and Dedicated Side B, a series of B-side records that in many ways surpass their A-side counterparts.

And while I'm at it, might as well show my receipts:

My Top Song of 2023 screenshot from Spotify