Sure, Carly Rae Jepsen’s E•MO•TION was a critical darling with a loyal cult following, but it’s somehow still feels like an underdog compared to other Top 40 juggernauts. Jepsen’s earnest pop purity, warmed with ’80s-style synths, never quite achieved the mainstream ubiquity it so dearly deserved. That is, until a few weeks ago when the Internet found itself a new muse — and gave E•MO•TION a second life as a meme.
Turns out that the opening sax blare that kicks off the record’s lead track, “Run Away With Me,” makes everything hilarious; same goes for the drop right before the chorus blasts off. Intrepid Vine creators used the triumphant riff as a loving bait-and-switch punchline. Ross from Friends is playing bagpipes? *Cue epic sax solo.* Jennifer Garner shows off her secret talent? *Cue epic sax solo.* Christina Aguilera opens her mouth? *Cue epic sax solo.* Even after you’ve watched enough of them and start to expect Jepsen’s infectious single to come from unexpected places, it’s still funny.
Some of the best “Run Away With Me” memes, (or “RunAwayWithMeme,” as they’re sometimes hashtagged), have been rounded up by BuzzFeed, MTV News, and New York, so SPIN decided it was time to catch up with the singer behind it all. We briefly quizzed Jepsen about the meme over email, and she gave us her three favorites.
When did you first learn that “Run Away With Me” had become a meme? What was your reaction?
I first learned about it when a couple friends hit me up. They sent me the meme of the guy dancing extravagantly down the street and I thought it was hilarious and awesome. Slowly but surely the snowball effect happened and then I got the one with Pikachu and the one with the kid at the playground and from there I could see the storm coming.
What do you think it is about that sax riff that’s so perfect for making jokes?
I think it’s dramatic, I mean it’s a Celtic saxophone riff! When I was in Sweden working on this song, we hadn’t even finished writing it yet and I already had the feeling that I wanted it to be the opening of the album. It was a bit of a punch in the face, a really happy punch in the face.
Does it feel good that the meme is bringing a new wave of love to E•MO•TION? It seems to support the general feeling that people who like the album really love it.
Yeah, I think the fact that these are fan-made is what makes them so special. It’s one of those things that I find really joyful and it makes my day when someone sends me a new one.
The Rihanna one; I think it’s funny because her face is absolutely priceless.
The guy dancing down the street; I keep going back to this one. I think its so charming and weird.
Is there anything else you want to say about the meme?
I just want to say that it’s been so cool that fans have taken the time to do this. They really make my day! Thank you!