St. Austell – Carly Rae Jepsen

BEER STYLE: LAGER

ALBUM GENRE: POP

Hear me out.

The bottle beside me this week is St. Austell Brewery’s Korev. It’s a Helles style lager that I unwrapped as part of an impromptu makeshift beer advent calendar that my girlfriend lovingly made after I, fortunately, missed out on a pre-packaged one. (Okay?) 

Since becoming a “hipster” I’ve begun, regrettably, finding myself unable to drink lagers. Regrettable not so much because of the inevitable torrent of sarcastic abuse but more the money I’d save if I would simply succumb to the chemical hangover.

But I’m a big fan of St. Austell’s Proper Job when in need of a cheap bottle or two, so seeing their logo restored some hope after having noticed the word lager plastered across Korev’s neck.            

Following a similar vein in terms of music, I’ve received plenty of just abuse for my aversion to the majority of recent pop music.  As with most things, however, if you look hard enough, you’ll find something you like. Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2015 “Emotion” was one such exception to the rule. In the right crowds, to be fair, Emotion is a well recognised break from the monotony of feel good ukulele tunes, club bangers and acoustic Elton John covers, but to many, just the name alone invokes memories of her break out hit “Call Me Maybe” and very little else.

Emotion’s biggest single, “I Really Like You” came along with a video starring the likes of Tom Hanks and Justin Biebs, and the first time I heard it, I wasn’t exactly impressed. It’s over inflated nonsense written and designed to sell.

But damnit does it get stuck in your head. 

The true genius of Emotion lies deeper than it’s big hit single, however. On her previous album, Kiss, Jepsen had become another victim of the Pop industry. She suggests, in interviews, that she had little to no creative control over that album and that Emotion was her attempt to seize back some of that power and create the music she wanted to create.

It’s in the lyrics that you can really notice the honest, open vibe that Carly wants to portray. Songs such as the title track “Emotion” or “Your Type” take very direct approaches at drawing you in to the song. The lyrics are as far from bashful as imaginable. Very rarely on this album can you not read into the exact emotions that the artist is trying to portray.

Musically, prepare to hear a cacophony of synthesisers, drum machines and the like on an album that more than panders to the modern trend of making music that sounds like the CD collection of someone who wears leather jackets, aviator sunglasses and bright blue jeans. 

It’s a wonderfully self aware take on the style, with Jepsen having stated that the idea for the album grew largely from attending a Cindy Lauper concert in Japan and nurtured by listening to Prince and Madonna. 

Anyway, the beer. As I previously stated, much like most recent pop music, I generally, don’t like lager. So, when I opened up the bottle to be greeted by a smell that reminds me of nights spent binge drinking down Southend seafront, wedding receptions and waiting for a takeaway curry, my hopes weren’t exactly high. It pours the familiar, pale, translucent gold of lager, complete with the racing bubbles of fairly substantial carbonation.     

Similar to Emotion, this beer, at its heart, is mainstream, easy and mass produced but it offers something different. Taking a sip, this lager has a definite kick of hops, not an overpowering one that leaves a metallic tang but one that gives a pleasantly surprising break from the monotony. There’s a floral, almost fruity hint to it that gives it a slightly more refreshing taste than a normal lager. 

I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that I hold St. Austell’s lager on the same, prestigious podium as the one that Carly Rae’s Emotion stands upon, but it strives for a similar cause. Both, on the surface, look to be something that I’m unlikely to enjoy. But it just goes to show, with the willingness to set aside your prejudices, you may just find a rough diamond amongst the diamantes.

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