Sabrina Carpenter’s Honest Lyrics Have Melted Minds Once Again


Sophia Elizondo-Bean (she/her), Staff Writer

Actress and singer-songwriter Sabrina Carpenter released her Fifth studio album, emails i can’t send, in the summer of 2022. This March, Carpenter announced a total of four bonus tracks to the album in a deluxe version titled emails i can’t send fwd. While she displayed her bold and often comedic songwriting skills in the original tracklist with songs like “because i liked a boy” and “nonsense”, the bonus tracks brought a whole new level of transparency and insight. 

The first track, titled “opposite” covers the self-comparison that many experience after the end of a relationship. There is a universal feeling that you are not good as your replacement. This is especially true in situations that involve infidelity. Carpenter illustrates the feeling of needing to change yourself to fit someone else’s wants with the lyric, “If you wanted brown eyes, I coulda’ got contacts.” The introspective lyrics follow Carpenter as she questions what is real, destroying her self-esteem. She shows this with the lyric, “When you said I’m beautiful, was I being lied to?” She uses reflective harmonies in the chorus to explain her acceptance of the situation. Carpenter recognizes that even if she changed who she was, the ending would remain the same. “And I know now even if I tried to change that somehow you’d end up with her anyway.”

Next is “Feather” an upbeat breakup song that focuses on the relief of removing someone from your life. The concept of the song is illustrated with a metaphor by Carpenter singing that she feels “so much lighter, like a feather” without stressing about where her ex is or what their words actually mean. Carpenter expresses how she looks forward to not being involved with this person with the lyric, “got you blocked, excited to never talk”. Her smooth vocals layered over a contagious beat practically forces listeners to sing along. 

“Lonesome” is the third bonus track on emails I can’t send. Carpenter wastes no time using bold lyricism on this album and it’s illustrated perfectly at the beginning of “Lonesome.” Carpenter starts by singing “If I fall in love with all my problems, will they leave me too?” Her humming throughout the chorus is both beautiful and emotionally unsettling. The vocals and lyrics show emotional intensity as she describes being kept awake by her partner’s disassociation from her. She describes this through the lyric, “Why were you somewhere else when you were next to me? I know, you know, it keeps me up.” 

The final and most emotional bonus song is “things i wish you said”. The lyrics switch between Carpenter’s perspective and things that she wishes someone would say to her. Throughout the chorus and verses she lists things like, “When I saw you cry I didn’t handle it well,” to show that it would have been meaningful for them to validate her feelings and the absence of that reaction left her wishing for something else. Another stand-out lyric pointed to a medical emergency where Carpenter was met with apathy. She expresses this in the lyric “Darlin’, I hope you know it scared me to death, the night that your sister said that you got in an accident.”

The storyline in “things i wish you said” served as a call back to the original closing track on emails i can’t send, “decode”. The song “decode” brought the album to a thoughtful end by acknowledging that there was nothing left to overanalyze and the relief that comes with not having to worry anymore. Its message is similar to that of “Feather” but the lyrics in “decode” are more reflective and detached from the heat of the moment. In “things i wish you said”, Carpenter sings “I waste my time, I waste my life on idiotic things. Like things you never said, things you’ll never say to me.” The regret within the lyrics tells listeners that she needed to daydream about what could have happened before reaching acceptance in “decode”.

The self-reflective lyricism, beautiful harmonies, lyric parallels, and themes of acceptance make the emails i can’t send fwd bonus tracks a critical addition to the album. She was able to weave in relatable metaphors that helped fans connect their own lives with the songs. The music world would simply not be the same without the knowledge that Sabrina Carpenter feels like a feather. If you’re in need of an identity crisis, confidence boost or journaling soundtrack these songs are for you.