Alessia Cara’s new album The Pains of Growing is blunt and brilliantly intertwined

Alessia Caras new album The Pains of Growing is blunt and brilliantly intertwined

I’m pretty sure we all can say our favorite artist writes about “real things,” and I won’t argue you on that. But what I will say is that there is a difference between every artist and Alessia Cara. She started off writing songs straight from her life, back when the only people who were listening were her few Youtube viewers. This same frankness and bluntness about life have remained her staple point even today with her second album, The Pains of Growing.

One thing that specifically lets Alessia Cara stand out like a broken chameleon is her ability to create themes throughout her albums and songs, each one interwoven into the next. In her first album, Know-it-All, she spun her different meanings of the words throughout her songs as if she were a master seamstress. In one of her songs, “Seventeen,” she talks about wanting to grow up until she finally does and then only regrets it. In her newest album, she manages to keep with this same theme.

The first song to open up the storybook that is Alessia Cara’s album is her single, “Growing Pains.” In an interview with Harpers Bazar, Cara explains what the song means to her, saying, “I knew I was supposed to be happy because I was fulfilling my dreams, but I just wasn’t quite happy with myself… I think all pain is something we can grow out of, or grow through, at some point. That was my way of saying this isn’t forever.”

The song is also a nice ode to her prior album by mentioning the title of the album saying “Starting to look like Ms. Know-it-all. Can’t take her own advice. Can’t find pieces of peace of mind.” This idea of being “forced to grow up” is also present in her music videos that are all connected as well. Each video matches up with the release of the songs on the album, The Pains of Growing, being the beginning of the album and the beginning of the story.

In all of her music videos, she reps a loose-fit tux, which I guess could be interpreted in many ways— either her refusal to follow any rules including gender norms or following the idea of growing up not fitting her and that she would much rather do her own thing. Either way, her approach to music videos creates a story you can and want to watch all the way through.

The song that follows directly after “Growing Pains” is “Not Today,” in which she talks about how it’s okay to have days where you simply can’t get out of bed. The thing I love so much about Cara is she accepts that people–and herself– have bad days and doesn’t try to sugarcoat it. She mentions, “Someday I won’t be afraid of my head. Someday I will not be chained to my bed. Someday I’ll forget the day he left. But surely not today.”

The beautiful thing about her songs is that they are left up to so much interpretation. Although this song does contain the elements of a broken heart, it can also be applied to struggles with depression and stress.

Because her songs are all based on her real life, which she admits are quite “angsty,” her songs often mirror those very thoughts. Despite this, Cara is able to write deceivingly upbeat songs to masquerade the despairing lyrics. The song “Easier Said” is no exception to this rule.

When I first heard “Easier Said” I made the pleasant mistake of listening to it with headphones. It has “Bohemian Rhapsody” vibes, meaning the voices of the opening notes ricochet back and forth through your headphones, creating a discombobulating effect. The song contains the same theme throughout the whole album— that it is not a bad characteristic to take time healing because, like she says, everything is “easier said than done.”

Of all of the female celebrities that are popular today, I think she is one of the best role models in the business. She writes from the heart and has positive messages behind all of her songs. She doesn’t just write music to earn deals or awards but because it’s what she wants to do. All of these are ideas mentioned not only in interviews but also both of her albums. She is, at the very core of it, doing everything right.

Cara’s was the first album I ever bought, back in her 2015 debut days with Know-It-All, and I’ve grown musically since then. I owe her for being the first artist to enlighten me to the true diversity a singer can have. I can thank Cara for broadening my music spectrum and taste. Her music will always have this comforting vibe to it because it reminds me of the beginning. She is to thank for setting me on this path of discovering that music can tell moments and not just fabricated ones.

Although I don’t foresee myself listening to this album every day– just because it isn’t the type I typically listen to–it doesn’t mean I won’t desire that feeling of nostalgia and candidness once again and put on her album just to be taken back to those times. She will always be an artist I support wholeheartedly, and with music that has this much passion and this much power, that’s a decision I take full pride in.