Published Nov 27, 2018It's been three years since her debut, but Brampton, ON's Alessia Cara is back with her sophmore album, The Pains of Growing, and it was well worth the wait. Cara's career thus far has been a real-life bildungsroman, unfolding in real-time right in front of us.
While 2015's Know it All acted as a critique of adolescence, The Pains of Growing explores exactly what's in it's title: an examination of the shift between teenagehood and becoming an adult. While single "Growing Pains" adresses this directly, other tracks like "Trust My Lonely," "Wherever I Live" and "Comfortable" dance around themes of lost love and newfound independence.
Cara doesn't have to prove her vocal skills to anyone. With her debut, she already grabbed our attention. Yet on The Pains of Growing, she's pushing her vocal limits even further, as she wiggles her way into being recognized alongside R&B legends Lauryn Hill or Alicia Keys. On tracks like "Out of Love" and "All We Know," she demands our attention as she shows off her her vocal range, her voice smooth and rich as honey.
The Pains of Growing, while artfully crafted and diverse, is also approachable and familiar. At times, Cara feels like your best friend. On one of the strongest tracks — "Wherever I Live" — she cites Friends' Rachel and Phoebe talking, while a TV is on in the background. On "Nintendo Game" she plays with '90s nostalgia as she compares love to the classic video game where nobody wins. It's cute and comfortable.
At only 22-years-old, Cara doesn't feel gimicky, nor like an over-produced product of a record label. She's raw and pure, an obvious example of an artist who will only continue to build momentum. (Def Jam/Universal)