A line-by-line analysis of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWNaR-rxAic&ob=av2n]I threw a wish in the well, Don't ask me I'll never tell: She opens the song by establishing that she has no control over the situation. The act of throwing a wish in a well is an act of desperation and one that betrays her inability to influence her position. Yet establishing that she’ll never tell what it was for gives her some degree of control, if only in her mind.I looked at you as it fell, And now you're in my way: Carly Rae then turns the focus away from herself momentarily as she acknowledges that her wish-throwing was meant to have an impact on some unknown “you.” Saying that this person is in her way puts the onus on them to act and serves to deflect attention from her actions.
I trade my soul for a wish, Pennies and dimes for a kiss: For the first time, we get a glimpse into the romantic motivations for Carly Rae’s wish-throwing. She first admits she’d give up her soul for the wish she had thrown, yet quickly clarifies to say she’d pay some loose change to lock lips with “you.” Now it becomes clear that she is wishing for a kiss and that the wish was really more than the seemingly urbane act of tossing coins in a well to symbolize wishing. I wasn't looking for this, But now you're in my way: Once again, Carly Rae tries to make herself more of a bystander by saying she wasn’t looking for this and that this mystery person is once again in her way. This implies that the attraction is present but that she perhaps wants him gone as well. This line is crucial in understanding the complexity of the relationship.
Your stare was holding, Ripped jeans, Skin was showing, Hot night, Wind was blowing: We are finally given some clues about the environment in which this all takes place. She’s clearly outside on a warm, summer night. There is some minimal sexualization of the subject as she acknowledges his stare and that one of the two figures was showing their skin through ripped jeans. Where you think you’re going baby?: Here Carly Rae finally gets down to business. No longer is she alluding to vague wishes; instead, she effectively tells the subject not to go anywhere and clarifies that she views him romantically by calling him “baby.” This line is notable for the subtlety it employs to let the boy know that she is interested in him without directly saying anything so crude.
Hey I just met you, And this is crazy: Having already sexualized the situation, she takes it a step further by offering up a salacious line clearly intended to conjure images of a gas station bathroom hookup fueled by nothing more than reaching for the same Toblerone at the checkout counter. So crazy. But here's my number, So call me maybe: Yet Jepsen brings the tension right back down by introducing the innocent element of a number swap. She also reveals her personal insecurities by including a “maybe” at the end to create an air of aloofness. She put herself in a vulnerable position by offering her number, and this theme of an insecure teenager will resonate throughout the song. It's hard to look right at you baby: Does anyone have any idea what the fuck this is about? Other than getting the word “baby” in here to rhyme with "maybe?" But here's my number, So call me maybe: By repeating this line in the chorus, Carly Rae makes it clear that it is up to him to call her if he has any interest in furthering their relationship. It’s as if she’s trying to pretend that despite everything she’s said, she doesn’t really care whether he calls or not.
Hey I just met you, And this is crazy, But here's my number, So call me maybe: Catchy as shit, amirite?
And all the other boys, Try to chase me: Here Carly Rae just takes her insecurities to another level. She has clearly become nervous that maybe he won’t call her, so she tries to increase her worth in his eyes by informing him that many other boys consider her a prize. This is an attempt to make him jealous while reminding him that “maybe” he should call her. But here's my number, So call me maybe: By immediately transitioning back to this line, she draws a contrast between the other boys and the object of her attention. Jepsen tells him that he has privileged status in her opinion and does not have to chase her. This is at once a desperate and bold move by Carly Rae that really puts her in a position of vulnerability if he maybe rejects her.
You took your time with the call, I took no time with the fall: Jepsen finally acknowledges the subtlety she’s been hinting at from the beginning: that the boy in this story is in a position of power because she is clearly more interested in him than he is in her. She openly states that she fell for him immediately, but you can sense her pain and anguish in the fact that he waited to call her. You gave me nothing at all, But still you're in my way: She now cleverly moves once again to blame him for her agony. Rather than saying that she got carried away, she accuses him of not giving her anything yet simultaneously acts as if he chose the situation by saying he was in her way. Suddenly she is transformed from the over-eager number-giver to an innocent girl who has been hindered and given nothing in return.
I beg and borrow and steal, At first sight and it's real: The previous line makes much more sense when taken in the context of this startling admission of criminal guilt. Jepsen had to shift the blame to the man to justify her crazed stealing fetish. She also alludes to love (the “it” in this line) to try to rationalize her robberies in a two-pronged approach. I didn't know I would feel it, But it's in my way: Having shifted from blaming the boy to blaming love in the previous line, Carly Rae now continues blaming love by claiming that amorous passion is actually what’s in her way. She claims to be surprised by the whole encounter as well, as if to say that she in no way planned her actions.
Your stare was holding, Ripped jeans, Skin was showing, Hot night, Wind was blowing, Where you think you're going baby?: Shit was getting real. About time to lighten the mood with a little repetish.
Hey I just met you, And this is crazy, But here's my number, So call me maybe, It's hard to look right at you baby, But here's my number, So call me maybe: I literally cannot not dance to this shit.
Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad: This is either the most beautiful or most idiotic line of the song. Regardless, her point is clear: until she saw his hair blowin’ in the hot night wind, her life was incomplete. This successfully takes him from a mere object of lust to the love of her life to such a degree that any time spent without him was a time of despair. I missed you so bad, I missed you so so bad, Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad, And you should know that, I missed you so so bad bad bad bad....: She feels this way very much. And is apparently quite proud of herself for thinking of this.
It's hard to look right at you baby, But here's my number, So call me maybe: In case you missed it before.
Hey I just met you, And this is crazy, But here's my number, So call me maybe, And all the other boys, Try to chase me, But here's my number, So call me maybe: Jepsen reverts to her comfort zone by repeating the chorus again here, but it is notable that she chooses to emphasize in her final chorus that other boys continue to try and chase her. She seems still unsure that he will call her and is desperate to make herself seem as desirable as possible in the waning moments of the song.
Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad, I missed you so bad, I missed you so so bad, Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad, And you should know that: Jepsen is practically begging for the call at this point. She repeats incoherently her assertion that her life was nothing before she met this rando. She uses “so” multiple times to convey all her emotion. She even says he should know this, as if it is vital information to his pending decision about calling her. So call me maybe: After all that, Carly Rae just can’t help herself. One last time she tries to pretend this is all casual, that the encounter meant next to nothing to her. But we all know the truth. We know how much she missed him before he came into her life. He can’t just “maybe” call her; he must call her. They must become betrothed. They must have offspring. This is not a choice, it is a destiny. And it is glorious.