Sabrina Carpenter's "Espresso" Is Addictive

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BY Sydney BrasilPublished May 1, 2024

Last night, my partner — who loves music but rarely keeps up with new releases — said to me with total confidence, "Oh yeah, they were playing 'Cappuccino' at King Slice.'" It tracks that someone whose favourite pop hits are of the "Say So," "High Horse," and "Levitating" variety would clock the siren call that is Sabrina Carpenter's latest — separate from me singing nothing but its gummy hooks since its release.

At every turn, "Espresso" is elastic. It's one last gasp of air from pop's disco revival that's outlived many a micro-trend, boasting sticky synth licks, sparse beachy guitars and wordplay — sensical and otherwise — that lounges like it has no other job.

Of course, that lyrical star is the passive "I'm working late / 'Cause I'm a singer." Carpenter phrases it slowly, slightly annoyed that it wasn't abundantly clear before. The line's detached glamour is what makes it burrow into seemingly everyone's dissociative thoughts, as it emerges from a mall-wave pool of one-liners.

The only crash from this limerant caffeine high is how short "Espresso" was pulled. Though a gem of vertical video strategy, a bombastic bridge with room for some more of Carpenter's R&B-tinged vocal runs would've helped. Either way, its timelessness has revealed itself in a matter of short weeks, and for that, she's conquered the algorithm against all odds.

(Island Records)

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