Def Jam Recordings
Release Date: November 30th 2019
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Alessia Cara– The Pains Of Growing (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Growing Pains
- Not Today
- I Don’t Want To
- 7 Days
- Trust My Lonely
- Wherever I Live
- All We Know
- A Little More
- Nintendo Game
- Out Of Love
- Girl Next Door
- My Kind
- Easier Said
- Growing Pains (Reprise)
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 last November. One may think a ‘review’ right now for the 8-and-a-half-month-old album isn’t necessary though, given the number of critiques (positive and negative) that you can source online (see some reviews here, here and here). And you’d be right. I could write a review about this 15-track near-flawless masterpiece (which I should have done way back last year!) and make it as long as an essay. I could have written 1 or 2 paragraphs per song for each of the 15 songs. But the fact is that I didn’t write a timely review because of a number of reasons, the main one being that it was a mainstream album, and I haven’t reviewed much mainstream albums to know overall what to say. But now I know that I just treat reviews of mainstream artists and of Christian artists the same. 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 new album, which I have recently found to be one of my favourite 2018 albums in retrospect, is well worth the listen. In fact, before you finish my review, take a listen to these songs and be amazed. Then you can carry on.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Alessia has only recorded two albums. Because the level of lyricism in this album is sometimes comparable to artists like Andrew Peterson, Bebo Norman, Jason Gray and Nichole Nordeman, in my honest opinion. That’s good company right there, I reckon, as on The Pains Of Growing, 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. The Pains Of Growing is musically on the polar opposite side to Know-It-All (pop on album no. 1 vs acoustic ballads and more jazz/soul/r&b on album no. 2!), and is lyrically such a ground-breaking album; 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.
With Alessia tackling a myriad of topics and issues including, but not limited to:- feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness despite success (“Growing Pains”), the dangers of living life like it’s a computer game (“Nintendo Game”), lamenting the loss of a relationship and asking them why they fell out of love (“Out Of Love”), examining our comfortableness in anything, seeing if that’s a flaw or not (“Comfortable”), the acceptance of healing eventually but knowing that right now it’s ok to feel sad and a myriad of other raw emotions (“Not Today”), and even a heated conversation with God (“7 Days”) asking Him about whether He knows what’s happening here on Earth and why things are the way they are; it’s mightily evident that Alessia has searched her soul over and over, and has dug deep into herself for this album, which is definitely a good thing. The result being songs of solid gold. The fact that Alessia wrote all of these songs by herself (as opposed to having co-writers for her first album!), as a way to prove to herself that she can do an album by herself and own the creativity and the deadlines; gives The Pains Of Growing all the more power and us all the more reason to check out such a unique and diverse album.
It’s not really known how Alessia Cara will market this album or what will eventuate from this. Perhaps a full-fledged world tour or more music (a Christmas album or covers album would be cool!). But whatever the case, Alessia should be extremely proud of herself. From these two albums alone (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 album, Alessia, or a world tour! Whichever way, I’ll be waiting…with probably a host of other fans and listeners.
4 songs to listen to: Growing Pains, 7 Days, Out Of Love, Easier Said
RIYL: Rachel Platten, Britt Nicole, Selena Gomez, Sara Bareilles, Lauren Daigle