Review: The Pains of Growing by Alessia Cara

The Pains of Growing by Alessia CaraAlessia Cara’s debut, 2015’s Know-It-All, was confident and showed promise, but ultimately suffered a bit from its somewhat generic sound. Alessia’s got an interesting voice, and her delivery is strong, but you just knew she could do better. The Pains of Growing moves things further, thankfully: it’s a reintroduction of sorts to the 22-year-old Canadian, not that she needed one. What the record proves is how Alessia works best when everything else around her keeps up with her: the more sparse songs fall flat, but when she pursues a variant of the classic Motown sound (only a few things scream maturity better than the Motown sound) she shines, the layers highlighting her delivery and giving stress to what she has to say. My particular highlight is “Comfortable”, what essentially is a song about contentment that you wouldn’t expect from someone at her age. I honestly thought I had Alessia figured out, but The Pains of Growing is such a treat; I’m glad to say hello again. [NB]4/5

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