Song-by-Song Review of Alessia Cara's 'Know It All'
Being a big fan of Taylor's, I then had to search Alessia on YouTube, and I was immediately hooked and awe-stuck by her soulful voice and entrancing guitar skills. I learned that Alessia got her start in the music industry by posting acoustic covers of popular songs from her bedroom floor in Brampton, Canada on YouTube since age 13. She obviously had to be extraordinarily talented since Taylor was impressed by her. Taylor's tweet brought attention to Alessia's single "Here," which reached No.1 on Billboard and Twitter Emerging Artists chart.
On November 13, Alessia released her debut album titled Know It All, which sounds nothing like a debut album. Her songs are sophisticated and lyrically descriptive. She embodies the definition of a pop artist, and the songs make you want to let go and dance. While listening to the album, it seemed as if Alessia read my mind and put all of my thoughts in to her songs. Since I'm about the same age as her, it was apparent to me that she reflects on her personal experiences, making Know It All intimate and real. Some of her ideas are so simple, yet her simplicity is ingenious. Her voice is prominent, captivating and powered by emotion. I did a song-by-song review because each song lured me in for its unique qualities.
1. "17" opens up with "ohs" and a fun beat that captured my attention. Alessia reminisces on always wanting to grow up as a little girl, but now she wishes she could "freeze the time at 17." It's enlivening, youthful and happy; it seems as though Alessia is on top of a hill exclaiming to the world her epitome that she should embrace living in the moment. It's a simple life lesson, but it's an experience we've all gone through, and it's an innovative song.
Favorite lyric: "I'm a know it all, I don't know enough"
2. "Here" is the anthem for anyone who has ever been at a party and just wanted to leave; this is probably the only hit song about a party being unenjoyable, making it unique and ironically, completely relatable. It's down-to-earth and honest, and the lyrics are so vivid, I felt like I was at the party. She sings, "I'll be here, somewhere in the corner under clouds of marijuana."
Favorite lyrics: "But honestly I'd rather be somewhere with my people we can kick it and just listen, to some music with the message (like we usually do)"
3. "Outlaws" begins with a fuzzy noise; it felt like I was tuning into an old television, which coincides with the '60s vibe of the song. It's about two lovers who are running away from a crime they committed and promising to stand by one another through it all. Despite the lovers being "partners in crime," I couldn't help but root for them to get away and escape triumphantly because their passion for each other is admirable and beautiful.
Favorite lyric: "You're the shining to my star"
4. "I'm Yours" has its own personality; it's sassy and flirtatious. Alessia is blaming a guy for making her fall in love with him because she doesn't want to risk getting her heartbroken, "Oh how rude of you to ruin my miserable and tell me I'm beautiful." But she "tore down her walls" and let this guy into her heart. It's an upbeat song, but Alessia is reluctant to love because she's "had her heart broken before," expressing her vulnerability, making it so authentic.
Favorite lyric: "How dare you march into my heart"5. "Four Pink Walls" is bluesy and especially personal because Alessia wrote it all herself; she portrays what she is experiencing as she is transferring from being an ordinary girl to becoming a famous pop star. All of the dreams she ever longed for are coming true and it's surreal to her; she is discovering that there is a life "behind those four pink walls" of her bedroom. The lyrics in this song are so descriptive and painted a picture inside my head: "I grew up memorizing all the cracks in the walls, staring up at the ceiling watching particles fall."
Favorite lyric: "I assumed there was only room for my dreams in my dreams"
6. "Wild Things" begins with a clapping noise, and Alessia is preaching to her fellow girls that have ever felt insecure. She ensures them that they don't have to conform, that it's okay to be independent and proud of who you are: "Don't wanna hang around the in crowd, the cool kids, I'm cool to me, cause they're not cooler than we are." The rhymes in the verses roll off her tongue, making the song intriguing: " Bow your head, the pie is here, but you and I, we're pioneers." The song has a motivational message and is a really cool tune.
Favorite lyric: "Then leave us alone, cause we don't need your policies, we have no apologies for being.."
7. "Stone" featuring Sebastian Kole, is a soothing, finger-picked acoustic song with a light drum. Alessia's voice is sweet and soothing, and she says to her significant other, "In a world uncertain, say you'll be my stone." She's asking him to always be there for her and in return, she promises to always be there for him. Sebastian harmonizes with her in the second verse and the contrast is slight, yet beautiful. Sebastian's voice represents the male love interest in the song, and he adds to the meaning of the two lovers depending on and vowing to one another.
Favorite lyric: "Change in every wind, the sands of time don't know our name"
8. In "Overdose," the prominent sounds are drums and clapping, which emphasize the intensity of the metaphor of love being compared to an overdose: "Oh and I overdose, boy I just want off of this roller coaster." This powerful metaphor made me envision this drama-filled, up-and-down love. The song is so emotional and also, very catchy, with a great beat.
Favorite lyric: "We talk, we laugh, detox, rehab"
9. "Stars" is a piano ballad that emphasizes Alessia's breathtaking voice and expresses a lot of emotion. Alessia is saying that people make the process love so complicated, but it doesn't have to be. She is singing to her lover, "We could be stars," simultaneously displaying both the hopeful and hopefulness of love. It's pure and genuine.
Favorite lyric: "And sometimes we need to shed our facade and be just who we are, all broken and torn, then we could be stars"
10. "Scars to Your Beautiful" portrays a girl who is down on herself and doesn't see her beauty, but Alessia sings to her and insists that she's perfect just the way she is: "You don't have to change a thing the world can change its heart." The song is very motivational; it has such a powerful message, especially coming from a famous singer-songwriter who is a role model for many girls. It's also lyrically brilliant and upbeat.
Favorite lyric: "So she tries to cover up her pain and cut her woes away, cause covergirls don't cry after their face is made"
11. "River of Tears" is a melancholic and emotional piano ballad about the fall-out of a relationship and the pain Alessia is feeling. Alessia's ex-lover just watched her suffer and "drown in a river of tears." Although Alessia is upset about her past relationship, she remains strong and by the end of the song claims, "And I believe that you are everything I needed, but I don't need no more." It's powerful and beautiful; with every note of the piano and Alessia's voice, I felt her anguish.
Favorite lyric: "Still got the flowers that you sent, and the note you wrote that said we're meant to be forever, I keep them all as evidence, in a drawer under the mirror, filled with empty promises"
12. "My Song" concludes and ties the album together; it portrays Alessia's desire to write her own music and stay true to who she is. She describes that she, "Don't want your hooks or auto-tune." She wants to be her own individual in the music industry, which is significant especially because she is a new artist. The tambourine adds a nice touch to the song. It has such a good meaning and displays Alessia has such a good head on her shoulders.
Favorite lyric: "Tune in to find my peace and solitude, these empty rooms spin, and I embrace the flaws of being human"