Hurts So Good (Alessia Cara, Know-It-All review)

I blame Alicia Keys for my unfounded belief that I can play the piano, whenever I see one. She started it with the song Fallin’. Let’s be honest, the lady makes it look incredibly easy to do because she uses emotions and well constructed hooks to sing about issues that we all experience. Falling in love for example.

But you know what they say? We often hurt the ones we love the most?

I love R&B music, and it’s really difficult to not get hurt by or to attempt to hurt it with words, so keep that in mind for this week’s Melodic Monday.

 

 

 

Alessia Cara – Know-It-All
released November 13, 2015
********** 8/10

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Alessia Caracciolo, who also goes by the stage name Alessia Cara, is a Canadian singer and songwriter.

I don’t know Cara, but I like her. And I think that even though she is 11 years my junior, we could probably be good friends if we hung out in real life.I suspect it might be the music convincing me of this idea, but a guy can pretend every once in a while right?

No, I’m kidding. It’s also her social media presence that makes me believe.

Cara made a record that I instantly liked. I know this because I’ve heard this kind of music so many times before, but what was different this time was that I recognize her potential to become so much more than the label production that Know-It-All is born of.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to this album.

You absolutely should. It is Canadian music, by a talented female musician who happens to be getting recognition for her career choice right now, and it makes perfect sense.

I think it’s super cool that as a child of the internet she began playing at 10 years old, got a YouTube channel 3 years later, and slowly built up an audience of 20,000 subscribers. The best ranked of these videos is a cover song of The Neighborhood’s Sweater Weather. What is even more exciting about this story is that the video eventually made it’s way to a music executive at EP Entertainment (affiliated with Universal) because his daughter liked it enough to tweet the content. And all of a sudden a spotlight was cast on Alessia Cara.

And that’s not the only cover that Cara has done.

This past summer she published a video of her singing Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood for BBC Radio 1. And Taylor loved it. She even tweeted about it herself. And let’s be frank, that’s some pretty good press for a 19 year old who has talent but only a small reputation.

But what about the album? That’s what you really want to know, right dear readers?

Well Alessia has the conflicts of teenage life covered quite well with Seventeen, the opener track. Outlaws does a good job of this as well. But where she really shines in the concept is with Here. What an anthem track! It’s so damn well done, that they had to put in another version of it as a bonus track. A smart choice for the first single to be sure.

She isn’t the first teenager to realize she doesn’t know it all, but I like her take on the challenges she is working through. She tweeted this after she decided what to call her album.

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Wild Things is the second single of the album, and it is great throwback to the children’s story by Maurice Sendak. Whether intentional or not. Another anthem, but this time specifically for those people who hang on the fringes, pioneers and outsiders. A place to play a drum and hold a rumpus.

There are of course, typical songs about heartbreak (Overdose) and songs about being true to yourself (Scars to the Beautiful) which don’t realize her identity at all, but because of the voice behind them, and the hints of personality and potential found elsewhere, I think it makes you appreciate them a little bit more than you should. And heck, just because it’s formulaic, it doesn’t make the music unenjoyable.

 

 

 

Cara hasn’t convinced me I can play piano, but she has reminded me that R&B music is alive and well, and I really hope she keeps making it look easy.

Tim!

 

 

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