It’d be easy to write Sabrina Carpenter off as just another Disney girl with a voice, but that would be denying yourself the beautiful songs this upcoming indie-pop songstresses has collected over the past year. Her debut album, Eyes Wide Open, is as innocent as it is edgy, and worth every penny.
The album opener, “Eyes Wide Open”, showcases everything Carpenter can do with her voice, from her low, soulful tones to an impressive falsetto. She transitions between the two seamlessly as her voice floats from verse to chorus in a way that feels so natural it’s almost unbelievable for a 15-year-old girl. But it’s clear as Eyes Wide Open progresses that Carpenter is not your average 15-year-old girl.
The album’s highlights are without a doubt those that Carpenter penned herself. “Your Love’s Like” is a romantic, fun, flirty track that tells the story of a young love. Carpenter sings about love in the only way a 15-year-old can and should: positively. And while she sings the line “so good it’s hard to describe”, she compares love to the salty air of summer, her favorite songs, flowers in the springtime and Paris after midnight. It’s so beautifully innocent and blissfully nostalgic that you can only cross your fingers and pray no one breaks this girl’s heart so she can keep writing songs like this.
Equally impressive is the slow, mellow ballad “Too Young” – also written by Carpenter. In “Too Young” she challenges the idea of being too young to fall in love and puts her heart on the line. It’s honest, raw and emotional – three things often missing from an actress’ debut album. But if there’s one thing Eyes Wide Open proves it’s that Carpenter is as much of a musician as she is an actress.
The piano-accompanied “Two Young Hearts” and best friend-inspired “Seamless”, as well as the previously released “White Flag” and “The Middle of Starting Over” are also album highlights, and as a whole Eyes Wide Open is an impressive debut. Musically, Carpenter fits in among The Lumineers and Oh Honey, making her stand out among most of her label mates with similar career paths. She’s a diamond in the rough, and a force to be reckoned with.
(by Catherine Powell)