So what I really wanted to do for this blog post was share a summer playlist, but the summer is slowly coming to an end since I start grad school next week. Plus, the truth is that I have had this album on repeat since it came out, so even if I were to curate a playlist now, it would probably incorporate all the songs on this album anyway.
At the end of the day, I have been a fan of Sabrina Carpenter since she was on Girl Meets World. I’m a fan of her, her music, and her acting career. She’s been a guest on my favorite podcast, and Sabrina was the first concert that I took my babysister to. So when Olivia Rodrigo dropped “Driver’s License” and her album, the Sabrina fan in me did not want to support her music at all. Not that she needed me to, since everyone knows who Olivia Rodrigo is now.
Since then, Sabrina has been pretty quiet and low-key. Sure, there has been a song here and there, but for the most part, this album has been the first time we’ve really heard from Sabrina since everything happened. So of course, I can’t wait to dissect it, and that is going to be the blog today.
“emails i can’t send”
So this is the intro song into the whole album, and it is supposed to set the vibe. If you have listened to the enhanced version on Spotify, Carpenter has talked about how the album started in her bedroom in a time where she was writing emails to herself because she hadn’t found a therapist yet. The songs that are on the album started as key words and phrases she found in the emails that she wrote.
Out of all the songs on this album, this one is my least favorite, but I can see how it sets the mood for the rest of the album. The song is told from the perspective of a girl who has a father who let her down, and I think that relates to a statement Carpenter made to Spotify Storyline about the track, saying, “Someone I looked up to let me down and it changed the way I love and receive love.” That sounds very significant to the album, since love is very important to relationships.
In this song, it seems that Carpenter is angrily singing about how she regrets falling for someone who is two-faced. While the public believes him to be an “angel”, the private person in her “quietly carrie(s)” his burden. He let her believe that he loved her as he wishes her the best, but at the end of the day, he seems to have chosen someone else or just viciously left her behind.
“Read Your Mind”
Every girl has been here: you’re seeing someone, and at a certain point, the lines haven’t been defined yet. You’re reading into every little thing, and emphasizing the things that could lead to what you want. At the end of the day, you can’t let go of the idea that maybe you should just be “casual”. It’s a confusing time, and that is what Carpenter is writing about in this song. She can’t read the mind of the person she is writing about, and the song seems to be her dealing with them being wishy-washy with their decisions.
I love Samsung, and at a concert that Sabrina was performing on behalf of Samsung, she talks about how literal this song was in its lyrics (I’m not sponsored by Samsung, but I wouldn’t mind a sponsorship). The first verse is probably what she told to her therapist, who she no longer sees because she realized that she doesn’t trust them enough to tell them the truth.
The story goes that she was at a park with this boy she knew she shouldn’t have gone to see when she got a tornado warning on her phone. She ignored it, and then it started hailing. She got another tornado warning, which she also ignored. While the warnings were very literal for her, they are the metaphorical red flags that the average person deals with when it comes to dating. And sometimes, you just can’t help yourself and you ignore the red flags.
“because i liked a boy”
Listening to this song makes me want to go and write about all the times that people have been crucified for liking a boy. If you want to know how Sabrina felt after the whole Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo love triangle situation, this song describes that.
No one knows what really went down in that relationship, but things really got blown out of hand. And when the public found out about it and the media had already gone into a frenzy, they had “already broken up”. It was hard for her in those times where the public was scrutinizing her, which leads her to sing, “Please tell me who I am, guess I don’t have a choice.” For me, it’s a very relatable song, because I think it’s something people go through even if they’re not in the public eye.
The enhanced version on Spotify that discusses this song mentioned how it started as a game, where everyone in the studio would have 15 minutes to write a chorus. The best chorus would start the song. Sabrina mentions some notable names, like JP Saxe and Julia Michaels. Something inspiring came from collaborating with John Ryan, an idea like, “How am I supposed to leave you when you’re already at my house?”
The title pretty much says it all: this song is about a relationship that is already over before it really gets started. She knows that they’d “probably be better off as friends,” but they seem to have already fallen into a pattern that is more pushing a relationship, or a friends-with-benefits situation. It should’ve ended already, but they can’t seem to help themselves, and can’t find real closure in the situation.
“how many things”
In this song, Carpenter sings about how she thinks about someone constantly, but wonders how often he is thinking of her. From being triggered by forks and roofs, he seems to be on her mind so often that the “corner in (her) mind is well-established”. Her lover in this song seems to neglect her, or be distant in some way, because she “feels (her)self falling further down (their) priorities”, but she makes excuses for them anyway.
“bet you wanna”
During the Samsung concert, Sabrina talks about how this song was written from the realization that they always come back when you don’t need them anymore. The song seems to start at a place of mourning, and slowly progresses with realizations of her being better off without this other person. As this realization comes to light, this person seems to make an attempt at re-entering her life. But she knows better now.
For some reason, this song makes me think of something that Ariana Grande might do, or maybe I think that because it is something she has done. Anyway, this song seems to be written about someone that Carpenter loves so much that she can’t control herself, and especially the ability to talk. In trying to articulate her feelings, her “tongue goes numb, sounds like ‘bleh-blah-bleh”, the words of true nonsense.
This song was the first one she dropped and used to announce the album at the beginning of 2022. I could see why she chose to release this song as a single, because it’s very quick and upbeat. I think that correlates well with the message of the song, which seems to be about a fast romance, where “Couple days in, (she) calls (someone) ‘baby'”. There’s no time for patience, or rewrites, and she’s kind of just living in the moment with this relationship. She’s not thinking of the consequences, only living and she can’t help that there isn’t enough time to worry about the consequences.
I feel like this is the song that has been out the longest, so it’s the one that I’ve had the most time with since she released it in 2021. Singing and reading the lyrics, it’s about accidentally running into someone from the past that Carpenter might have had an intimate relationship with. They go through the motions, and suggest maybe meeting up and catching up. Even though they aren’t who they once knew each other to be, it is still too intimate for Carpenter to revisit that relationship. She’s not at the point where she could skinny dip, or just exist in the same room as this person after all they had been through.
“Bad for Business”
My goodness, does this song hit home for me. Although, there is a possibility that I am interpreting it a little differently to fit my perception.
In this song, Carpenter sings about someone who she is so in love with that she can’t focus on business. He’s so nice and makes her happy as he grants all her wishes, but at the same time he takes up a lot of her time and isn’t good for business. In this case, she means that he is competing with her career for her attention.
The part that resonates with me is the lyric, “If I’m just writing happy songs, will anybody sing along?” It’s the writer in me that questions this. Before I was in love, I feel like all my writing was agonizing over the things that were going on in my life. Now that I’m not holding torches for men who are not worth my time, I’m not agonizing over much, and I wonder if anyone would want to read the happy stuff.
On the enhanced version on Spotify where Carpenter is explaining the conclusion, she says that when she was writing this song, she knew that she wanted it to be the last song on the album. And after listening to the album the whole way through, I would agree with her decision to make this song her last one.
Maybe that’s because I am also working on learning the lesson that this song is written about. I think the tendency to want to understand and be able to control the outcome of everything is a tendency I have, whether it’s in events or relationships. I’m still working on letting go of that control factor, because the reality of life is that you can’t control everything. Carpenter’s “decode” is her unraveling all the overthinking she used to do in situations and relationships and just accepting the fact that it is what it is.
Have you listened to emails i can’t send? Do you have a favorite song from the album? Or is there anything you feel that I have misinterpreted from the album? I would love to have this discussion in the comments below.
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