Triangles can be fun, but they’re not the best shape you could use to describe a song, are they?
For a first release under her new record label –the former Disney actress broke out of her contract with Hollywood Records in favour of one with Island Records. In this new record with a new label Sabrina Carpenter certainly did not hold back.
‘Skin’ feels more like a sphere, an all-around sensation that draws you in and permeates the air with its multi-dimensional production. The song gives off an overall feeling of maturity both from its lyrics and its music, without omitting some elements of well-expected naiveness coming from a young woman in her early 20s.
Talking of naiveness, it would be oblivious not to address the three-pointed elephant in the room: is this a comeback to a very recent, very successful debut single release? Carpenter’s track seems to be sprinkled with references to Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’, with the former taking it as far as singing about how “maybe ‘blonde’ was the only rhyme” after the latter sang “and you’re probably with that blonde girl”. This is where the maturity I previously hinted at comes into play: despite whatever kind of speculations people could make about the song, ‘Skin’ feels like everything but a way to add more fuel to the possible drama around the releases. What it mostly comes off as is one young woman speaking to a slightly younger one from a place of experience, addressing a situation she most likely has been in herself before without feeling the need to talk her down, making sure to let her know “it won’t always be this way”.
The opening verse itself sets the mood for the entire track, making it clear how from Carpenter’s perspective there is no bad blood between the two, stating they “could have been friends / if I met you in another life” and assuming that “maybe you didn’t mean it”, something that perfectly shows her approach to the situation. “And I’m not asking you to let go”, she sings in the pre-chorus, reinforcing the fact she is well aware of how valid feeling certain emotions for the first time is, but she also makes it clear how important it is for her to share her own side of the story since “some people will believe” the other girl’s version of what the truth is.
All in all, the song seems to be more of a way for Carpenter to let people talking on the internet know that she won’t let their negative comments get to her because, having been under the spotlight for most of her life, she’s unfortunately had to grow thicker skin in order to create a safe space for herself.
‘Skin’ points in a direction Carpenter has been aiming at ever since her last releases under her former label, now refining the edges of a more adult sound that could potentially help her step even further away from the Disney idea the public has of her, and closer to the main pop scene where she should very well be.
Text by: Benedetta Borgese