Sabrina Carpenter’s “fruitcake” Album Review

fruitcake album cover - Spotify
“fruitcake” album cover – Spotify

From former Disney actress to popstar, Sabrina Carpenter’s latest release, “fruitcake,” is the perfect youthful album for the holiday season.  Carpenter’s first Christmas album release spotlights how successfully the now 24-year-old transitioned from child actress to true pop star. The festive journey of “fruitcake” is just shy of 16 minutes, and features five original Christmas songs plus one personal spin of a classic Christmas tune.

Since her original rise to stardom with her appearance on Disney Channel’s “Girl Meets World,” the singer and actress has been front and center for her musical talent. In late 2023, Taylor Swift announced that Carpenter would be featured in several of the Eras Tour international shows, which is presumed to conclude in December of 2024. As one of the opening acts, Carpenter performs the deluxe version of her 2022 album, “emails i can’t send.” 

Her holiday release “fruitcake” was first released on Nov. 17, 2023 through Island Records, but the album was hinted at for over a year when Carpenter released one of the songs, “A Nonsense Christmas,” as a single.  The minature album’s debut received positive feedback with  2.2 million streams. 


Official “fruitcake” track list. The “ingredients” are the song titles and the “total prep time” is the album’s duration.

“A Nonsense Christmas”

As mentioned before, in 2022, Sabrina released a holiday remix of her most-streamed song, “Nonsense,” on popular social platforms. Almost a year later, the single “A Nonsense Christmas” is featured as the first track on the album. 

“Nonsense” spiked in popularity during her “emails I can’t send tour” from Sept. 29, 2022, through Aug. 4, 2023. The song has a playfully explicit outro, which Carpenter would then improvise her own version to play off of whatever location she was performing in. Carpenter continues this trend for her performances during the Eras Tour. 

Discography-wise, it makes the most sense that Carpenter would start off the beloved single. “Nonsense” has over 553 million streams on Spotify, and the Christmas remix is at 32 million. 

The remix follows the same flow as the original, but the holiday version has cheeky, Christmas-themed tweaks to the lyrics. For example, the original song ends with “woke up this morning; thought I’d write a pop hit,” but the Christmas version fades out with “woke up this morning; thought I’d write a Chris-mash.” 


“buy me presents”

The second track, “buy me presents,” continues the upbeat pop melody and the comedic lyricism, such as “spend your cookie dough, dough, dough / spend it on my heart.” Throughout the song, Carpenter jokes that if her love interest does not buy her everything she could want, she knows somebody who will; that somebody being Santa. The lyrics also play off of the iconic Christmas song, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” with lines like “he knows when I’m sleeping / and knows when I’m not.” 


“santa doesn’t know you like i do”

The opening instrumental of Carpenter’s third track sounds similar to the enchanting Selena’s “Dreaming of You.” The song has a soft vocal track and is a sentimental letter to Carpenter’s love interest, highlighting relationships’ ups and downs. Carpenter’s message is that Santa does not understand her love interest as much as she does because she has seen all sides of her love interest: the good, the bad and the ugly. 


“cindy lou who”

Going further into the softer, emotional tone from the previous track, “cindy lou who” is a sad heartbreak song. The song tells how her love interest left her for someone she considers the “perfect girl,” using the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas’” character Cindy Lou Who as a symbol. The song is drastically different from the other tracks. Still, it makes the varied emotions throughout the album feel complete and emphasizes that Carpenter wrote the song from her own personal experiences.  

Fans speculate “cindy lou who” to be about Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, who originally broke up after over two years of dating in 2021, then got back together in April 2023. Between the couple’s breakup, Mendes began dating Carpenter in February 2023. Specific lyrics imply that Carpenter is indeed singing about Cabello, such as “scrolling five years back, I’m obsessed,” which follows the same timeframe of when Cabello and Mendes would have begun dating, as well as “maybe we met once, I forget.” 


“is it new year’s yet?”

The fifth track is an upbeat, catchy song with Carpenter’s extreme hatred toward the Christmas season because she does not have a lover to celebrate with. “is it new year’s yet” also includes the album’s title in the lyric “never, never get what’s on my list / fruitcake just makes me sick.” 


“white xmas”

The album’s final track covers the Christmas classic “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby. Carpenter’s rendition of the song gives it a modern feel and showcases some of her best vocals. The album’s concluding melody includes the “Jingle Bells,” a famous tune, bringing in the ultimate Christmas feels from “fruitcake” as a whole.

“fruitcake” is a cutesy album that offers a unique perspective on feelings that arise during the holiday season.  My personal favorite tracks are “cindy lou who” and “buy me presents.”

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