Review: Espresso by Sabrina Carpenter

Sabrina Carpenter’s hit single, “Espresso,” was released on April 11. The song quickly became a TikTok favorite and was added to a plethora of “Summer ’24” playlists. She debuted the song in concert a day after its release, at the first weekend of the Coachella Music Festival. Carpenter’s attempt to boost the song’s popularity at an early stage in its release was a huge success, with the fun choreography, gorgeous outfit, and catchy song quickly becoming crowd favorites. The song has also garnered attention with many people assuming it is about the singer’s current boyfriend, actor Barry Keoghan. “Espresso” has been described by many media outlets as the type of song to be stuck in your head for days and a perfect beach day tune. After listening to this piece almost everyday at tennis practice and on social media, we can confidently say we agree, and rate this masterpiece a ten out of ten. 

Sapid. Cozy. Velvety. Three words to describe Espresso — both the drink and the hit single by Carpenter. The Barbie-blonde pop star has soared to the top of the Billboard Global charts, all while she was opening for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, performing at Coachella, and dazzling at the Met Gala. Carpenter really means it when she opens verse two with, “I’m working late ‘cause I’m a singer.”

In terms of the song itself, “Espresso”’s retro opening synths, funky bass line, reverbed instruments, and mellow, dreamlike drum instantly captures the essence of summer. The beat drops and the listener is mentally transported to an aquamarine coast, as Carpenter is pictured in “Espresso”’s music video. The video is especially perfect and completely captures the essence of a hot summer day on an old-timey, California beach. 

She starts the song with the chorus first, instantly revealing the energy and message of the song to the listener. Through her lyrics, Carpenter depicts herself as a sweet, alluring figure who, like a cup of coffee, will keep you up at night dreaming about her. 

During the pre-chorus, the line, “too bad your ex don’t do it for ya,” exemplifies her feeling of being better than her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend and how she makes him forget about other girls. When she sings, “I know I Mountain Dew it for ya,” she is elaborating on a similar idea that she is like an energy boost for the men around her. Her later reference to Nintendo symbolizes the idea of her being desirable and addicting, just like a video game. Sassily, she explains, “I can’t relate to desperation,” as her love interest is “wrapped around her finger.” She then branches off into a floral metaphor, saying she has pollen and perfume for her “honeybee,” also demonstrating how like a bee to pollen, she attracts the man she is singing about. Her fun lyrics are truly sing-in-the-shower and dance-in-the-mirror worthy.

Apart from the clever lyrics, Carpenter’s stylistic and melodic choices boost the creativity of the song and bring it to the next level. The major key it’s written in, combined with the fast and upbeat tempo, make for an exciting and energizing listening experience. The repetitive lyrics make it easy to learn and sing along to, making it a stellar candidate for this year’s song of the summer. “Espresso” is ideal for working out, playing at practice, and blasting on the lawn with friends. 

One could loop “Espresso” into the “pop hit” suite where some of Carpenter’s other hit singles “Feather” and “Nonsense” reside, but “Espresso” feels especially unique and mature. Her cheeky personality shines through as she sings about her “twisted humor,” and the background tracking feels experimentally vintage. The promotional cover art and music video are reminiscent of a Wes Anderson film, with its blue, yellow, and brown pallet. “Espresso” encapsulates Carpenter’s growing confidence in herself as a singer-songwriter–a trend shown through her evolution from the Disney show Girl Meets World, to her 2018 song “Sue Me,” to “emails i can’t send,” her latest album filled with piano ballads and glitter pen tales. For that, “Espresso” by Sabrina Carpenter receives five out of five stars.