Carpenters, wait no longer: Sabrina is back and better than ever.
The multitalented singer, songwriter, and actress signed to Island Records last year, releasing singles like “skinny dipping” and “Fast Times” to tease her upcoming LP. After much anticipation, it’s finally here! emails i can’t send is the pop star’s fifth full-length album, released this past Friday. It unpacks her trauma and trouble with romantic relationships, with a few much-needed glimpses of hope wedged in between.
As an emotional album, most of its tracks are at least somewhat slow-paced (“decode,” “Tornado Warnings”). The first track, though of a similar ilk, is one of the standouts. Borrowing its name from the title, “emails i can’t send” is intense. By stripping things down to just a piano and her voice, heartbreaking lyrics like “When I’m forty-five and someone calls me their wife/And he f*cks our lives in one selfish night/Don’t think I’ll find forgiveness as fast as mom did” hit that much harder. “how many things” is just as memorable, a raw account of a failing relationship. Her breathy vocals are the true star of this song, expertly conveying her feelings of helplessness.
If you’ve come for the drama, though, you won’t be disappointed: songs like “Vicious” and “because i liked a boy” give Sabrina’s perspective on all the Olivia Rodrigo/Joshua Bassett drama that went down last year. The former is less clear, though there’s much speculation that it refers to Bassett’s ill treatment of her. The latter…well, it’s a doozy.
Though this album is chock-full of personal details, “because i liked a boy” –whose music video dropped a few days ago – is the most revealing. After SOUR was released, many were quick to paint Sabrina as the undisputed villain, hurling insults and death threats that, in her words, could “[fill] up semitrucks.” The song’s gentle melody and Sabrina’s lovely vocals make it difficult not to sympathize with her. It’s time to stop the hate, okay? Consider this a lesson learned.
It’s not all slow and sad, though. Songs like “Read Your Mind” and “Already Over” are well placed and pick up the pace a bit, giving listeners a much-needed opportunity to put their tissues away. The second half of the album is similarly reassuring: these songs are all about new love (“skinny dipping,” “Bad for Business”). “Nonsense” is bright, hopeful, and catchy, ending with a charming soundbite of Sabrina giggling over the lyrics. “Fast Times” and “bet u wanna” are perhaps the most inventive of the second half, if not the whole album. Each has a wholly different tone than its counterparts, opting for more complex and engaging beats, rather than spotlighting Sabrina Carpenter’s voice. And while this is a total shift from the rest of emails i can’t send, it pays off. “Fast Times” feels like a total throwback; the electric guitar solo at the end is a totally welcome surprise. More, please? “bet u wanna” is more sensual. It’s super fun and devious, revealing a different, much more exciting side of Sabrina: the side that wants revenge.
Ultimately, emails i can’t send is the product of a clearly talented singer and lyricist who’s unafraid to tangle with her past and stride towards her bright future. After delivering some solid hits, we just want to know one thing: can she take us with her?