The album's back cover revealed some of her playful, new wave energy, and another shot from the same session was used on the cover of that very downtown magazine, After Dark (both on the right). Is it possible, in the latter, that Carly has just spat her champagne at the camera? We'll probably never know, but her laughter suggests she is enjoying playing up to her new image.
Of course, not everything on Come Upstairs was new. The song-suite that closes side one, "Jesse" and "James", would not have been out of place on most of her earlier albums. The acoustic ballad "Jesse" uses its catchy melody to tell a story of trying - and failing - to resist the charms of an irresistable lover. It is a perfect pop song, and it makes a disarmingly lighthearted lead-in to the quiet pleading of the beautifully melancholy "James". When Warner Brothers decided to release "Jesse" as the album's first single, the company took another step back from the edgier side of Come Upstairs.
As convincing a rock-and-roller as Carly can be, and as capably as she struck her new wave pose, this image did not last long and the album did not fare particularly well. "Jesse" became a huge hit, but the album made less impact and, after a few years, it became her first to fall out of print. For many years it was only available on CD as an import from Japan. The problem was not this album in particular, but that the musical style was short-lived. The new wave was new back when Jimmy Carter was president and some foolish people thought that The Knack might be the new Beatles. It was old not so long after that. The image was also shortlived because, as it soon became clear, Carly could not sit still, musically speaking, in this period. The album that followed Come Upstairs did not build on the pop success of "Jesse" or try to rock harder than "In Pain". Instead, Torch would delve back in time and into the great American songbook. Thus, the energy that is so apparent on the cover of Come Upstairs, and in the desire to pull down the backdrops and see what might lay behind them, was not specific to any one musical genre. In this phase of her career, Carly would travel in many different musical directions, and Come Upstairs was just one lively step along the way.