The new generation of popstars are making themselves known. As the “ex-acts” (Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato) begin the second decade of their music careers, the next crop have been slowly building their fanbases for when they eventually eclipse their predecessors. Sabrina Carpenter is one of the best in her class, and “Pushing 20” — the lead single to the second act of her Singular project — continues to make that case for her. With an electro-trap soundscape to support her surprisingly strong vocals, the singer bursts into adulthood on this competent kiss-off.
Despite starting things off with a practically nonsense first verse, the track picks up in its lead-up to the chorus; here, she chastises what could be a friend, a lover, or even a member of her team for inserting themselves too far into her decisions. “You’re tryna paint a picture, but you runnin’ out of paint” is the most incendiary line of the bunch, as Carpenter spells out just how unwanted their opinion has become. Once we’ve reached the chorus, “Pushing 20” really begins to pick up, where the singer’s punchy delivery brings the lyrics to life: “I’m pushing 20, got not time for others.” The track goes a bit haywire towards the end, with the frantic ad-libs of the final thirty seconds coming in at the most inopportune times. Carpenter is still searching for the perfect musical balance some of her peers already have, but the star power is already light years ahead.