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Please Please Please


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Caleb Gottry

Album Review

I don’t think Sabrina Carpenter is ready to be a pop star.

She’s popular, sure. But listening to her newest song, “Please Please Please,” the public scrutiny of her personal relationships seems to be getting to her a bit. And in this pop hit for her upcoming album Short n’ Sweet, the message to her partner is clear: Don’t embarrass me.

Don’t let the upbeat nature of the song fool you. This is a serious warning, seemingly to her current boyfriend, Barry Keoghan, who is all but named in the song and featured in the music video.


You could say that Carpenter is well aware of herself and her social situation. She knows she has a spotlight on her and doesn’t want to sully her reputation. So, she is aware of what bad choices look like, encouraging her partner to “act like a stand-up guy” and to keep his inner devil inside.

She acknowledges everyone makes mistakes but wants her partner to be perfect. If presented in a different way, this would be a heartwarming song about helping your romantic partner grow as an individual.

Also positive, she is not going to let peer pressure determine who she can love, even if no one agrees with her, which takes a certain self-confidence. (“I know I have good judgment, I know I have good taste. It’s funny and it’s ironic that only I feel that way”).


All of that said, to Carpenter, nothing is more important than her reputation. She sings in the chorus, “Heartbreak is one thing, my ego’s another. I beg you, don’t embarrass me.”

She also doesn’t want her partner to act out and bring her to tears, not because she doesn’t want to cry, but because it would smear her makeup.

Verse one might be reference to Carpenter’s Irish boyfriend’s drinking problem and her trying to justify it to save face (“I tell them it’s just your culture and everyone rolls their eyes”).

In verse two, we get an even clearer picture that Carpenter doesn’t want anybody to know about her boyfriend (“And we could live so happily if no one knows that you’re with me”).

In the outro, Carpenter lays out the punishment for embarrassing her. She will hate prolifically and write music about it (and that angry breakup song in this culture would certainly boost her record sales).

Finally, Carpenter drops two f-bombs paired with “mother” in a very catchy part of the chorus. In the “clean” version, this is replaced with “little sucker.”

The music video only serves to enhance these concerns. We see Barry Keoghan (Carpenter’s love interest in the music video and in real life) fight with men in a back room (his face is bloodied), rob a woman at gun point, and get hauled off to jail multiple times. Every time he gets out, Carpenter is waiting for him.

Carpenter herself was in jail at the beginning of the music video. A guard says to her, “Somebody bailed your a– out.”

Carpenter’s wardrobe consists of short, tight and often revealing dresses. Near the end of the music video, Carpenter puts Keoghan in handcuffs seductively and kisses him through duct tape on his mouth.

A man smokes in a back room.


In her previous single, “Espresso,” Carpenter sings, “I can’t relate to desperation.” But in “Please Please Please,” desperation seems to be central.

Carpenter’s song climbed to No. 1 on the mainstream Billboard Hot 100 chart, and clips of “Please Please Please” are being used in viral Instagram reels.

Basically, you’re going to be hard pressed to avoid this song. But it might be smart to avoid putting this often egocentric and harshly vulgar song in your playlists or watching the music video that leaves little room for interpretation.

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Caleb Gottry

Caleb Gottry is the Plugged In intern for Summer 2024. Caleb studies journalism with a minor in music at Texas Christian University, where he will be a junior in the fall. He loves playing with words, listening to and making music, and spending any spare time with friends or family.