November's release of Sabrina Carpenter's Singular: Act I introduced us to a singer determined to stand her ground alongside an array of promising rising pop acts. The album was a demonstration of the 19-year-old's ability to not only engage with an audience, but to do so in a manner that demands they hear what she has to say, through every powerhouse high note and soft driven melody. Carpenter is rounding out the final weeks of her teen years with three album releases and an upcoming lead film role under her belt, and doesn't seem to have any intention of letting this momentum slip away from her. The singer's latest single, "Pushing 20" is a declaration of reclaimed time.
Written with the help of Warren "Oak" Felder and Paul Phamous, Carpenter uses "Pushing 20" as a platform to further push the boundaries of her artistry. Lyrically, the singer is spirited and relentlessly independent, rejecting all attempts made to mold her into any particular domain. The single shows Carpenter continuing to tap into production areas previously unexplored within her discography, with its bouncy, bass-heavy production drawing heavily on hip-hop influenced trap elements while holding true to a distinct pop sound. The confidence exhibited on "Pushing 20," in the form of growls and unbothered lyrical cuts, goes to show that the assertive attitude that dominated on Singular: Act I wasn't acting as a front. In actuality, it was just the beginning of an era marked by an artist fully aware and ready to make good use of her potential.