Canada has its answer to Lorde and her name is Alessia Cara, a 19-year-old from Brampton, Ontario who sings about teenage angst and not conforming to the norm. But where Lorde’s talents are her ability to dig deep with her lyrics, Alessia’s key is in her vocals.
On her breakthrough hit Here, she makes not wanting to be at a party sound especially soulful as her velvety voice goes through the motions of hiding in the corner, by the refrigerator and waiting in the car while being unimpressed with her surroundings.
Know-It-All is Alessia’s first full-length album, expanding on the Four Pink Walls EP from earlier this year.
Where Lorde’s songs contain wisdom seemingly beyond her years, Alessia’s observations are more youthful. There’s a lot more innocence as she sings about the fear of growing up too fast on Seventeen, self-acceptance on Scars To Your Beautiful or taking pride in being different and nonconforming on Wild Things, with the chorus “find me where the wild things are,” – an obvious nod to the story.
While both Lorde and Alessia sing about not following the norms, Alessia is less vehement about it. Nothing about Lorde was forced, but her lyrics quickly defined her persona to the point where it started to become her gimmick. Alessia has the benefit of not being branded the anti-anything. It’s an authenticity that works in her favour as she dips between genres on this album, so she has a lot of options for her next musical outing.
Know-It-All has an obvious freshman feel. While Here is a rather adventurous first-single, the rest stays pretty close to the curb with moderately catchy pop songs that will likely fill the CanCon requirement of Canadian radio for the next year. Wild Things, Seventeen and Stone are obvious singles that could make Alessia Cara a recognizable name by the end of 2016.
The real treat will be what she does next, when she has more control and access to collaborators that can help her max her abilities. Know-It-All is a pleasant start but Alessia is capable of something much bigger – she just needs to know how to channel it.
4. I’m Yours
5. Four Pink Walls
6. Wild Things
7. Stone [featuring Sebastian Kole]
10. Scars To Your Beautiful
11. Here [2:00 AM Version]
12. River Of Tears
13. My Song