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TRACK BY TRACK: Sabrina Carpenter’s 'emails i can’t send'

08-01-2022 by Skylar Zachian

(Sabrina Carpenter/YouTube)


On July 15, Sabrina Carpenter released her 5th(!) album entitled emails i can’t send”, and ever since then, fans have taken to social media to express their love for this new release, calling it “Album of the Year” and even the best album they have ever heard! We totally agree that this is a no-skips album. With help from artists like JP Saxe, Julia Michaels, John Ryan, and Leroy Clampitt, Sabrina gifted us a masterpiece. We can’t contain our excitement any longer, so let’s jump right in!


1. “emails i can’t send”

Starting the album off on a high note, the title song is delicate yet packed with raw, powerful feelings. Sabrina sings about her father’s infidelity and how it has given her lasting trust issues. While maintaining a soft, sorrowful tone throughout the song, she skillfully reveals a range of emotions from confusion to anger to residual love. From the angelic vocals to the light piano playing that slowly intensifies as the song progresses, the overall tone of the song exemplifies Sabrina’s maturity of mind and artistry. 


Favorite lyrics: “Thanks to you, I, I can’t love right / I get nice guys and villainize them...”




2. “Vicious”

This second song starts off with some light guitar strumming followed by a scoff from Sabrina. Within a few seconds, Sabrina entirely subverts our expectations of what a song titled “Vicious” might sound like. While the lyrics — that talk about a user who broke her heart — sound like they might be filled with anger, there’s no rage within earshot. The song is catchy and calm, and we’re loving it. Toward the end of the song, Sabrina takes the energy to the next level with the help of a microphone effect that amplifies her voice and lends the song a rock-esque vibe. 


Favorite Lyrics: “You don’t feel remorse, you don’t feel the effects / ’Cause you don’t think you hurt me if you wish me the best...




3. “Read your Mind”

This one’s a full-on, jump-up-and-down, dance-through-the-house, use-your-hairbrush-as-a-microphone, pretend-you're-putting-on-a-whole-concert type of vibe. In this bop, Sabrina sings about the importance of clear communication. We all know how frustrating it can be when someone doesn’t directly come out and say what they’re feeling. Do they want to be alone, or can they not live without you? Sabrina’s not too thrilled about this lack of communication, but she’s not letting that stop her from turning aggravation into inspiration and partying it up in this song.


Favorite Lyrics: “I can’t read your mind / You say that you need to be alone / But night and day want me at your beck / And call...”




4. “Tornado Warnings”

This is one of Sabrina’s personal favorites from the album, and we can definitely tell why. The soothing instrumentals are enough to heal what we didn’t even know was broken. Not to mention that the lyrics reveal a perfect balance of literal and metaphorical storytelling to really get us thinking about the intricacies of relationships and decision-making. Sabrina wrote this song after a night at the park with a person she should have been trying to get over. They were sitting on a seesaw when she started getting — and ignoring — tornado warnings on her phone. At her therapy session the following day, she didn’t mention what had happened. Performing at Samsung’s Summer of Galaxy, Sabrina shared that this experience led her to switch therapists; if her therapist was the right fit, she wouldn't have felt the need to hide anything. Sabrina reflected on an uncomfortable situation and learned from it — and not to mention created an incredible song!


Favorite Lyrics: “Sometimes I wish I kept / Some of my feelings in the basement so I’d still have some left / Don't understand how quickly we get / Right back in our rhythm without missing a step...”




5. “because i liked a boy”

Sabrina begins by walking us through an innocent love story: she falls for a boy who buys her Thin Mints, cuddles with her on trampolines, and bonds with her over their shared taste in music and past relationship troubles. The music is just as sweet as the story, but the mood changes when the beat drops. Suddenly, people are gossiping about Sabrina and slandering her name. Sabrina really tugs on our heart strings with this one, singing “tell me who I am / guess I don’t have a choice / all because I liked a boy” and “when everything went down, we’d already broken up” to illustrate that the hate she received was completely unjustified. This song draws attention to just how difficult it is to be in the public eye and emphasizes the importance of not judging people based on limited information.


Favorite Lyrics: “You said, 'I’m too late to be your first love / But I’ll always be your favorite'...” 




6. “Already Over”

This one’s for anyone who has ever been in a "situationship". Amidst tranquil string instruments, upbeat clapping, and a killer drum beat, Sabrina sings about that liminal space between being in a serious relationship and ending things all together. The chorus, which states “how am I supposed to leave you now that you’re already over?”, perfectly encapsulates the cyclical nature of a relationship where two people fall into a familiar pattern and can’t let each other go. 


Favorite Lyrics: “How am I supposed to close the door when I still need the closure?”




7. “how many things”

This track beautifully touches on the little things in everyday life that remind us of the people we love. Sabrina starts off the song with the lyrics “you used a fork once / It turns out forks are… everywhere”, and this honestly might be the most effortlessly hilarious yet painfully tear-jerking lyric ever written — but that’s only the beginning. Sabrina goes on to wonder if the person she’s singing about thinks about her as often as she thinks about him. Just as we’re peacefully vibing and crying, Sabrina hits us with heavenly harmonies and riffs. 


Favorite Lyrics: “I can’t help it / Your corner in my mind is well established...”




8. “bet u wanna”

Sabrina sings about someone who took her for granted and mistreated her when they were dating but misses her now that they have ended things. Between the dreamy instrumentals and sultry vocals, this track is a major power move. 


Favorite Lyrics: “Didn't think about it when you let me down / Hurts to see me out of your reach / Bet you wanna touch me now...”




9. “Nonsense”

“bet u wanna” is a tough act to follow, but "Nonsense" comes through with just the right vibes. This playful love song, which many fans note feels Ariana Grande-inspired, captures the feeling of liking someone so much that you completely lose your cool. The upbeat tune is dominated by genuine giddy happiness. Sabrina’s man is treating her like a queen, she’s in L-O-V-E, and the song just gets better and better as it progresses. By the end, Sabrina is throwing us some super fun lyrics like “this song catchier than chicken pox is”. 


Favorite Lyrics: “I think I got an ex but I forgot him / And I can't find my chill, I must have lost it / I don't even know I'm talking nonsense...”




10. “Fast Times”

Giving us an early taste of emails i can’t send, Sabrina released the official “Fast Times” music video on February 18; Sabrina fights, dances, crawls through air conditioning ducts, and dodges laser beams until she ultimately reaches a very important briefcase. What’s inside? We have no clue! It seems like that may be the point, though, since the song and accompanying video share the message that the journey is often more important than the destination. Specifically, the lyrics are about being impulsive and embracing the “fast times and fast nights” of youth. “Fast Times” is perfect for a late-night, windows-down drive with your besties. Grab your friends and get ready to rock out because this track includes a wicked instrumental break. Plus, just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Sabrina uploaded an acoustic clip to Instagram in March (it’s been months and we still can’t get over it!).


Favorite Lyrics: “My feelings used to be serrated / But you speak in such a perfect cadence / Tiptoeing past so many stages...”




11. “skinny dipping”

Although Sabrina released this song as a single in September 2021, months before she released “Fast Times”, she strategically swapped their order on the album to foster a new listening experience. In the “skinny dipping” music video, Sabrina reminisces on an old relationship; while imagining an encounter with a past significant other, she reads letters from her younger self and writes back. The lyrics express a desire to hold old disputes lightly and carry forward peacefully. Sabrina’s ethereal voice paired with jazzy instrumentals add to the song’s innocent, carefree feel. 


Favorite Lyrics: “We’ve been swimming on the edge of a cliff / I’m resistant, but goin’ down with the ship / It’d be so nice, right? Right? If we could take it all off and just exist / And skinny dip in water under the bridge...”




12. “Bad for Business”

In this second-to-last track, Sabrina sings about a guy who does everything right. The only problem is… he’s bad for business! Sabrina spends all of her time with him, and when she writes songs, she’s worried they won’t be hits because if she’s “just writing happy songs will anybody sing along?” Well, if anyone can turn frustration about not being able to write a hit song into a hit song, it’s Sabrina, and that’s just what she did. “Bad for Business” is happy, romantic, and wistful in the best ways possible and we’re loving it.


Favorite Lyrics: “He’s good for my heart but he’s bad for business / Tears me apart when he grants my wishes...”




13. “decode”

We all know what it’s like to overanalyze a relationship to the point where it’s more detrimental than helpful. In this last song, Sabrina sings about realizing that there’s nothing left to revisit and question. “Decode” reminds us how important it is to prevent the past from forcing its way into the present. This wonderfully wise song is the perfect way to close out the album.


Favorite Lyrics: “Done lookin’ for signs in / The gaps and the silence...”




Well, it looks like we’ve gotten to that point where “there’s nothing left here to decode”. If you need me, I’ll be listening to emails i can’t send on repeat for the rest of the Summer!