First Listen preview: Sabrina Carpenter hits the highway on Fast Times

Following a big breakout year in 2021, Sabrina speeds ahead on her genre-bending new single.

Sometimes, you just have to let life take you into the fast lane, even if those higher speeds carry more danger than you'd anticipated.

This is the problem that Sabrina Carpenter faces on her confidently genre-fluid new single, Fast Times, which sees her rollick through the beginning of a relationship in high gear; "you speak in such a perfect cadence, tip-toeing past so many stages, but what the f*ck is patience?"

And if there is one thing Fast Times is not, it's patient. It's very keen to get going and is constantly shifting. Initially, it carries a baroque, chamber-pop sound reminiscent of the more bombastic cuts from Lana Del Rey's influential album Born To Die and Fiona Apple's morose debut, Tidal. 

But Fast Times isn't content with just staying in one lane. It has to swerve - both lyrically ("give me a second to forget I ever really meant it") and sonically. The track naturally evolves as it travels down the highway, before reaching it's final form with a flourish of post-disco violins and a funky electric guitar solo before its full-throttle climax. 

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Fast Times is also very different to what we've heard from Sabrina's forthcoming fifth album. It doesn't have the headline-ready narrative of Skin, or Skinny Dipping's surprise pivots, but it is fast and it is fun, and ultimately you understand how freeing making this music must have been.

This is the type of material you release when you've released yourself of all the pressure of having a hit (which is, as we know, how most hits are actually made).

"These are the fast times," Sabrina declares, and it's both a celebration and a lament. That's the thing about speed - it catches up to you when you inevitably tire out. No-one can run so fast forever. 

Fast Times is out this Friday (February 18) via Polydor.