Alessia Cara - The Pains of Growing

80

The Guardian

(Virgin EMI)

It’s taken eight years for Alessia Cara to follow fellow Canadian Justin Bieber’s path from teenage YouTube posts to the Grammys. This year’s best new artist at the ceremony, Cara first took wing with her staggeringly self-assured 2015 debut single, Here, a tale of creeping loneliness at a party and the attendant privations and disappointments of being a young woman. It sounded like tectonic plates shifting, opening up a crack between generations. Know-It-All, her debut album of the same year, had less of the shock of the new, with brash, generic playlist productions that left her lost in their echo and clatter.

Pleasingly, this follow-up gives the now 22-year-old’s voice more power and presence, although it’s still not clear if she needs a USP answer to Rihanna’s Caribbean croak, or Sheeran’s studied guilelessness, to become a superstar. Perhaps Cara’s greatest strength lies in her perceptive use of words and images that move smoothly from the personal to the universal. I Don’t Want To, Growing Pains, Comfortable and, particularly, 7 Days are all excellent examples of sensible-sweater, big-sister pop.

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Sun Dec 02 09:00:35 CET 2018

68

Pitchfork

The pop singer hits a soft reset on her second album, which isn’t a revelation, but it has the tinge of a project made with love and devotion.

Fri Dec 07 07:00:00 CET 2018

60

The Guardian

(Virgin EMI)

This Canadian pop-R&B star was in her teens when she broke through in 2015 and, per the title of her second album, has had to do some growing up in public, winning best new artist at this year’s Grammys then being castigated online for not being new enough. But while the constant emotional drama sketched out here suggests her innocence is long gone, there is still plenty of maturing left to do.

Very few artists are so conspicuously signed to a major label: the professionalism and market-readiness of this product are extremely high. This means the songwriting is often strong: Growing Pains gets two great chorus melodies, while I Don’t Want To resolves very satisfyingly. But there is some production that sounds suspiciously like focus-grouping, from post-Winehouse soul to xx guitars, and the ersatz digital instrumentation is as featureless as an overly filtered Instagram post.

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Fri Nov 30 10:15:30 CET 2018