Known for her impeccable bops and bangers, Sabrina Carpenter has thrown listeners a curveball in the ballad that is “Exhale.” The second song from the upcoming Singular Act II, the singer follows March’s buoyant “Pushing 20” with an understated track; employing solemn piano chords and rich strings as a backdrop, Carpenter utilizes her breathiest vocals to superb effect as she pleads for a moment to find her bearings in this life of hers. If “Pushing 20” was meant to celebrate youth and the devil-may-care attitude of your early twenties, “Exhale” is the gasp of air you need to take when everything begins to catch up to you.
Carpenter begins the track with an exhausted inquiry, asking “who put the baby in charge?” As she moves through the verse, she describes how hard its been for her to run things lately, the learning curve of adulthood overwhelming her at times. She uses the pre-chorus to build up her strength to ask for a moment’s peace, her vocals stepping higher and higher into her register as she sings “think I’m reaching my limit;” the chorus finds Carpenter at her most upset, begging to “sit down for a second” at the top of her range. The back half of the song allows the singer to question her worthiness of the success she’s had, as well as if she’s losing who she is in this whirlwind of a life. At her absolute breaking point, “Exhale” allows Carpenter to finally shatter how she needs before rebuilding herself as she so chooses.