Sabrina Carpenter – Singular: Act 1 (Album Review)

Every artist wants to be seen for their creativity and individuality. No exception to the rule, a singer, songwriter, and actress, Sabrina Carpenter is dedicated to her craft. From previously working on the Disney series Girl Meets World to starring in feature film The Hate U Give, this nineteen-year-old’s journey continues to role on at a steady pace. Now, following a good deal of anticipation, Carpenter is set to release of her third studio album, Singular: Act I, on Friday, November 9th through Hollywood Records.

Looking back, Carpenter signed with Hollywood Records and debuted her first EP, Can’t Blame a Girl For Trying, in 2014 – a release which charted on Disney radio. From there she grew a loyal fanbase that was consistent in growth during the cycles of her 2015 debut album, Eyes Wide Open, and 2016 sophomore album, ƎVO⅃ution. Marking her territory in pop culture, Carpenter sold out her first headlining tour with her sophomore album and through a slow, steady climb, continues with stand-alone certified gold single “Why.” 

Looking at the build-up to Singular: Act I, the writing process began about two years ago, ever since the release of ƎVO⅃ution. The progress of this period for Carpenter is best reflected within a John Green quote, “slowly, then all at once.” That said, the Pop star has teased fans with the idea of a new release since the first official single “Almost Love,” which dropped in May. Ever since then, news had been slowly trickling out until the release date of the record was finally unveiled.

Building a good amount of buzz, the new album takes a direction of being multi-layered and overall in a more elaborate direction, which Carpenter has been very vocal about, saying, “With every song I wanted to act and be able to tell the story theatrically, and that was something I don’t think I got to do with ƎVO⅃ution… ƎVO⅃ution shared the darker and more vulnerable parts of Carpenter, where Singular: Act I produces a bigger sense of self discovery in feel-good, bumpin’ tracks that emit more R&B influence in comparison. 

The 8-track playlist displays the self-awareness that comes with entering adulthood in dream-like states and theatrical numbers. First release, “Almost Love,” shows a saucy yet bubbly, catchy yet racy glimpse of the nineteen-year-old as she grows comfortable in her skin. Carpenter has matured in the limelight and respectfully done so admirably. She tells stories of her experiences on growing up, which she has done in sync with the majority of her audience, without being overly graphic or tacky.

Then, songs like “Hold Tight” carry a slow tempo that is dripping wet with sexual tension and spirit, lyrically expressing slowing down and staying in for the night. Short and wispy vocals contrast with the bouncy synth while thick and heavy bass create a comfort blanket. Furthermore, the sensual atmosphere continues in “prfct,” a soft ballad-like track incorporating similarities musically to Camila Cabello’s “Never Be The Same” where Carpenter tells the story of knowing a relationship may not be perfect, but that it’s worth staying and fighting for.

Something you can appreciate with Singular: Act I is the fact Carpenter remained true to herself and allowed her voice to shine through, even with new stories and sounds. In truth, the slight jabs of sarcasm and honesty keep it her own. That in mind, “Sue Me” carries a light-hearted yet sarcastic attitude of a youngster sticking his/her tongue out in an adult’s face. Carpenter spews confidence in herself and her music, and she  does so unapologetically. The same honesty can also be found in “Bad Time,” this time in a more sassy manner while sticking closer to her catchy Pop roots. Imagine if “No Words” and “Space” had a lovechild mixed with the wit in “Why,” that is “Bad Time.” 

Moving toward the end, the final two tracks really showcase both Carpenter’s vocals and the theme of this album. In fact, the most diverse and unexpected track from Carpenter comes with “Mona Lisa,” which is the most derailed from her traditional sound. The theatrical aspect shines through as the R&B influence continues, this time with added synths and sounds that add layers of texture. This is before she wraps things up with the waltzing “Diamonds Are Forever” where strings are present to achieve a more elegant sound and a fitting conclusion. 

Overall, the entire album shows an evolution of the artist. Singular: Act I holds more edge without completely deriving from her catchy Pop tunes from Eyes Wide Open and ƎVO⅃ution. The world will be anticipating the visual content to come from Singular: Act I, as well as the release of Singular: Act II, which is to be expected to release some time in 2019. For now, kick back, relax, and enjoy the show. That is why CrypticRock gives Singular: Act I 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Singular: Act I

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