Sabrina Carpenter Sings to Her Twenties on “emails i can’t send fwd:”

Sabrina Carpenter sends listeners four new songs with her newest re-issued album emails i can’t send fwd:. Cleverly titled, the album includes four additional tracks.

emails i can’t send is already a successful and spectacular album on its own. Both Rolling Stone and Billboard named it one of the Best Albums of 2022. So why release it again? Carpenter herself shared that the decision wasn’t caused by a lack of completion or satisfaction. Rather, she felt that there were stories that could be told and added to this chapter of her life.

All these experiences encapsulate the singer’s twenties, and by writing music, Sabrina Carpenter is hashing it all out. After all, everything is new and everything becomes a first.

So the album, for me, was really a time capsule of a special time in my life when I dealt with many things for the first time. I feel like I came out of that with a much greater perspective, and all these songs are based on real nights or experiences and reflecting and foreshadowing.

– Sabrina Carpenter

emails i can’t send” has a simple piano accompaniment as the singer nearly whispers. The song talks about losing faith in love because of someone else’s mistakes. With a softer tone of choice, the lyrics almost sound like a plea to restore what they’ve ruined.

Vicious” comes with a change in tone and tempo. The lyrics are much more powerful and straightforward, calling someone out for pushing her temper and letting her down. Sabrina Carpenter is very much over it, so maybe the questions are simply rhetorical.

Read your Mind” continues the upbeat pace as it illustrates a similar situation of being in a frustrating relationship. The tone is a bit warmer though, even playful, giving the impression that she still likes this someone.

Tornado Warnings” transitions into a mellow mood to reflect more difficult relationships, incompatible ones. Tornado warnings are equivalent to red flags for Carpenter, yet she chooses to ignore them because of this attraction she feels. She even lies to her therapist, lines that are sung over quickly.

because i liked a boy” switches the tone once more with a very stripped melody. The minimal accompaniment— electric guitar, piano and some beats— allows for focus on the lyrics. This track details the load of criticism and hate Carpenter received for simply liking someone. There is such a contrast between those private moments and public assumptions that is conveyed in a change of tone as if she is assuming the public’s voice in some lines and her own in others.

Already Over” picks up but with a soft and off-beat rhythm. The tone is lighter than the previous track as it discusses wanting closure in an already-ended relationship. The slanting way of singing almost mimics this back-and-forth as she treads this line between friends and more than friends.

how many things” returns to that soft voice Carpenter uses best. It starts with an interesting lyric: “You used a fork once.” The thought is beautiful though, as she shares how mundane things and events remind her of this person. With just her voice and the picking of a guitar, the singer wonders aloud.

bet you wanna” sounds like the opening of a Western film. With a minor key, there is something a bit sultrier for the first time in the tracklist. It well suits the narrative as she talks about reclaiming control and knowing her worth. Tables have turned and now she’s in charge.

Nonsense” is the most popular track and is instantly recognizable and catchy. There is something so honest and clever about Carpenter’s lyrics. Every verse conveys just how head-over-heels she is, and it all sounds like a charming pick-up line.

Fast Times” subtly shouts disco with a laid-back intro as Carpenter eases into the song. With a hissing hi-hat and synthesizer-type sound, the music creates a funky tempo to which the singer describes a montage of flashing moments.

skinny dipping” begins sounding like a conversation. She sings like she’s speaking, retelling encounters she had with an ex. The chorus then transitions into complete melody with a kind of echo effect that evokes a sense of reflection and nostalgia.

Bad for Business differs in pitch and rhythm throughout the song with catchy lyrics and an infectious melody. It almost parallels the singer’s shift from what she wants and what she knows is best. As the beat slows and fades, it sounds like she’s decided to side with her lover.

decode” switches the tone by featuring an orchestral accompaniment. Intonation rises as she poses questions, which are common throughout the song. There seems to be a moment of clarity, however, as everything falls silent and all we hear is her voice.

But now I wonder why

I let your indecision keep me up at night

I’m so tired

Unpacked every single word you wrote…

– decode

opposite” is much lower in register, giving depth that resonates with the narrative of the song. The lyrics are heart-breaking as Carpenter looks back, wondering about her worth if she was never her ex’s ideal type in the first place. 

Feather” picks it up once more with a pop-song beat. The chorus is so airy and light, conveying that freedom after ending an unrewarding relationship. There is a sense of freshness and renewal.

Lonesome” brings back the Western-type vibe. Compared to bet you wanna, the track is a bit more somber and slow. There is a lilting and swinging that is reminiscent of a whistle, a kind of raw and stripped tune.

things i wish you said” closes the album on a rather reflective and nostalgic note. The lyrics list all these expressions she wished she had heard. Something is lingering, like regret, but at the same time, it feels like closure for the artist. It makes sense that this is the final song on the album.

Sabrina Carpenter herself seems happy with the way her sound has evolved, learning to sing like she speaks. As of March, the artist has started the second leg of her tour, emails i can’t send. Not only will she be performing in venues throughout the United States, but is scheduled to appear abroad in South America, Europe and Asia throughout the summer.

Veronica Yoo Author
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