Thursday, January 7, 2016

Album Review: Know-It-All by Alessia Cara

Funny but Alessia Cara's story is becoming a fairly common one it seems. She started out posting videos on YouTube, then found a label, then put out an EP, had a hit song, then put out a full blown album. What makes Alessia Cara an unusual story is that it is not the strength of her voice, or her personality that makes her such an interesting new face to keep an eye on, it is her songwriting.

Let's break this album up into three parts. First there is the music. It is OK but feels "big label produced" which it is. I will say it is very smartly produced and fits very well I believe with whatever vision Alessia Cara had, but still it has a very polished and at times overly produced feel. So the first question I have when listening to this is, how will this 19 year old approach her next album. Will she want more control over the complete sound. I'm guessing she will if this album has enough success to give her that control. If the label won't give it to her will she go indie to get it? Her personality would make you think so.

That get's us into the second component of the album. That is Alessia Cara as a singer/performer. Vocally she's OK but performs with a good energy and emotion. Still this is not an artist who is going to win you over with her voice. Though she is obviously heavily influenced by Amy Winehouse, she is not Amy Winehouse when it comes to vocal talent. I think she understands her limitations and knows how to write to her voice.

That get's us to the third component of the album, the songs themselves. Lyrically she's very interesting. Her big hit song, "Here," is a great example of her potential as a writer. Here is the opening line

I'm sorry if I seem uninterested
Or I'm not listenin' or I'm indifferent
Truly, I ain't got no business here
But since my friends are here
I just came to kick it but really
I would rather be at home all by myself not in this room
With people who don't even care about my well being
I don't dance, don't ask, I don't need a boyfriend
So you can go back, please enjoy your party
I'll be here, somewhere in the corner under clouds of marijuana
With this boy who's hollering I can hardly hear
Over this music I don't listen to and I don't wanna get with you
So tell my friends that I'll be over here

Much of the album is an examination of the world around her, her view of the world, even at times anthemic takes on her generations view of the world and how they fit in. I must say she's the kind of artist who I'm happy to hear getting a voice. I wouldn't mind my 13 year old daughter listening to her music if I had one because it's message is positive and powerful which I like.

I find it hard to rate an album like this.  But ultimately I find it worth a solid rating for the fact that we have someone who was writing these songs at 17 and 18 years old and has a very interesting voice.  On top of that came out with an album of 10 solid songs and left me looking forward to see what would come next.  Following the Rhapsody rating method I give it 3 out of 5 stars for Pretty Good.


  1. That is a very good song, and I'm thrilled to learn about Alessia Cara. Now I'm wondering if she's related to Irene Cara of Fame.

  2. No, it does not appear that she's connected to Irene Cara.

    I'm now on "Outlaws," the third song on the Alessia Cara album--and, yeah, it sounds a lot like an Amy Winehouse. And, yeah, I think it sounds like she's comfortable writing to her own range. This is a good pop record.

  3. And I love the new "Album Reviews" section of the HP!