Def Jam Recordings
Release Date: December 5th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Make It to Christmas (Stripped)
- The Christmas Song
- The Only Thing Missing
- Moody’s Mood For Love (Live)
Singer songwriter Alessia Cara, native of Canada and writer of the hit song “Scars To Your Beautiful”, released her sophomore album The Pains Of Growing in November 2018 (which I reviewed right here!). Following that album, Alessia dropped her latest EP This Summer in September last year. I reviewed that project here, as well as blogged about Alessia as well. Now once you’ve read all of those posts, you can read on, alright? There were times in the past where I thought an album was lesser if it didn’t speak about Jesus. But now that I know to treat reviews of mainstream artists and of Christian artists the same, as God speaks to both types of artists the same, and we can be inspired and encouraged by whatever He chooses to speak through… in that respect, Alessia’s latest EP, which I have recently found to be one of the most inspiring and honest EP’s of 2019 in retrospect, is well worth the listen. Fast forward to now, and Alessia has unveiled a brand-new project. A 4 song Christmas EP, titled Holiday Stuff, dropped to retailers recently- and though not as polished, or popular, or even compelling as other releases this year from artists like Pentatonix, Meghan Trainor, Delta Goodrem, Carrie Underwood or Phil Wickham; this collection of poignant and heartfelt songs do have their place in society, especially as Alessia still encourages us all to dig deep and look past our circumstances, to look at the brighter things of life.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Alessia has only recorded two full length albums. Because her level of lyricism overall is sometimes comparable to veteran artists like Andrew Peterson, Bebo Norman, Jason Gray and Nichole Nordeman, in my honest opinion. That’s good company right there, I reckon, as even on Holiday Stuff EP, Alessia sure seems like a veteran of many, many years; both in her music and her lyrics, which makes me respect her all the more. With 2 originals and 1 Christmas song, and 1 obscure song from the 50’s; this collection of holiday tracks is such a lyrically strong project; in the respect that Alessia covers quite a lot lyrically, and still manages to keep these topics relatable and manageable in terms of our ability to understand our emotions and how our choices affect our day-to-day life. “Make It To Christmas” is an emotional tear-jerker, as Alessia recounts a broken relationship and the persona’s plea to ‘make it to Christmas’, and reminds us that during the holidays, not everyone is happy and not everyone has loved ones to depend and rely on. It’s a sad reality, and one that we all need to be mindful of so we can actively try to make someone’s life a bit better during this holiday season. “The Only Thing Missing” is another melancholy and reflective Christmas tune, as Alessia dwells upon her lost love that she’s not spending Christmas with because ‘…You’re making traditions with someone else…’; while “Moody’s Mood For Love” is a verse-less, chorus-less song about the longing for love of someone unattainable- it’s a mystery why this song is classified as a Christmas song, but here you go. The final tune here is “The Christmas Song”, sung with the piano at the forefront and with a jazz atmosphere- and a worthy addition on a short but punchy and impactful track list.
It’s not really known how Alessia Cara will market this EP or what will eventuate from this. Perhaps a full-fledged world tour (once COVID-19 is under control!) or more music (a full length Christmas album or covers album would be cool!). But whatever the case, Alessia should be extremely proud of herself. From these three projects alone (Know-It-All, The Pains Of Growing and This Summer; plus a host of other collaborations, including “Stay” with Zedd and “1-800-273-8255” with Logic) and the amount of work she’s put in, not to mention the fact that lyrically she’s singing about what we’re all probably feeling; it’s hard not to be a fan, of which I am definitely one now. And with Alessia in my opinion already having written plenty of deep lyrics that probably several artists haven’t even recorded that deep in their longer careers; well, if you’re not listening to Alessia’s music by now… one is you’re missing out, and two is well you better hop on the bandwagon straight away! So…bring on the third full length album, Alessia, or a world tour! Whichever way, I’ll be waiting…with probably a host of other fans and listeners.
3 songs to listen to: Make It To Christmas, The Christmas Song, The Only Thing Missing
RIYL: Rachel Platten, Dami Im, Demi Lovato, Britt Nicole, Selena Gomez, Sara Bareilles, Lauren Daigle