ALESSIA CARA

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Alessia Cara

The Pains of Grow­ing

It’s been three years since her de­but, but Bramp­ton, ON’s Alessia Cara is back with her sopho­more 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 its ti­tle: an ex­am­i­na­tion of the shift be­tween teenage­hood and be­com­ing an adult. While sin­gle “Grow­ing Pains” ad­dresses 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 and 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 a clas­sic videogame where no­body wins. It’s cute and com­fort­able. At only 22 years old, Cara doesn’t feel gim­micky, 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)

POP SOUL

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