Before Carly Rae Jepsen took the stage at Roadrunner on Monday night, a moon appeared on the backdrop, ready to usher the sold-out crowd into an evening of heart-on-sleeve musical confections. “I am the ambassador of love — a comfort, if you need one — here to say that everything is going to be okay,” it declared, putting one of the animating principles of pop on the table. Despite songs that touched on loneliness and heartbreak, not to mention the horrors of dating online, Jepsen delivered on that promise with a spirited, high-energy set that proved the power of the perfect song multiple times over.
The British Columbia-born Jepsen broke through 11 years ago with “Call Me Maybe,” a three-minute encapsulation of infatuation that paired her nimble voice with disco strings and a brain-Velcro chorus. Since then, she’s become one of modern pop’s best distillers of pure feeling, releasing a series of high-octane albums teeming with expertly wrought songs that contain cresting choruses, gut-punching bridges, and simple yet dazzling vocal performances. Musically and lyrically, Jepsen’s songs compress the complexities of love and romance into hooky, urgent music that, even at its most downcast, is shot through with the idea that, yes, it will all work out in the end.
Jepsen’s live show reinforces that fact with the singer’s overwhelming charm and willingness to throw herself fully into her performance, as well as some well-timed confetti boosts (including one shortly after the festivities had kicked off). On Monday, her 27-song set included a few previews of her forthcoming album “The Loneliest Time,” which comes out Oct. 21. Among them were the biting “Beach House,” a spunky electropop cut that takes aim at too-good-to-be-true suitors; the sadly strummy “Go Find Yourself or Whatever,” a bittersweet goodbye to a lover with a wandering spirit; and the pleading “Talking to Yourself,” a gleaming 2020s update of the spiky synthpop that filled Top 40 playlists in the late ‘80s.
Blending grand pop moves with meticulously described feelings makes for an intoxicating combination, and Jepsen’s awareness of that has made her one of popular music’s most exhilarating presences over the last decade. “Take me to emotion/ I want to go all the way,” Jepsen declares on “Cut to the Feeling,” a 2017 single that could be mistaken for the grown-up cousin of “Call Me Maybe.” It closed the show on Monday, sending audience members off with one last push to dig deep into their psychic reserves and realize their feelings’ jagged beauty.
CARLY RAE JEPSEN
With Empress Of. At Roadrunner, Monday
Maura Johnston can be reached at email@example.com.