Alessia Cara has earned herself quite a reputation since her breakthrough. Being endorsed by the likes of Taylor Swift and Drake and smash hit Here entering charts worldwide have made her the poster girl for teenagers uncomfortable with high school society and politics. And her reach has just been extended further, as debut album Know-It-All has finally been released on this side of the pond.
If you’re going off what you’ve heard from Alessia so far and expecting sultrier anthems delivered in the Here steady, almost spoken word voice, then prepare yourself for a lot more optimism. Know-It-All is a combination of sugary sweet teen pop and that soul dripping out of Here. There may be more of a focus on the pop side of things (which may leave some disappointed) but for the most part, it’s pretty damn good. Highlight Outlaws explores the blissfulness of having someone to trust and rely on, while the adorable I’m Yours is Alessia openly putting her qualms aside to enter into a relationship with someone. In fact, it’s things like this that tie the whole record together. Alessia knows that the Here party and a relationship in general is a bad idea, she knows that she shouldn’t have to change who she is for anyone (Wild Things) and that no one else should too (Scars To Your Beautiful). Of course, she knows this herself, hence the album’s title Know-It-All. It’s refreshing to see so much thought going into an album, especially a debut one from someone so new to the business.
A lot of Know-It-All is made up of feelgood anthems like the aforementioned Wild Things, which is sure to become the quintessential carefree teen song. But some of it echoes Here, such as the stomping Overdose or Scars To Your Beautiful. The latter is a perfect example of why Cara could be such a good role model, telling listeners not to worry about their appearances and exploring the mentality of someone with an eating disorder in her lyrics. While she’s a guiding voice most of the time, though, some attempts don’t really work as well. In opener Seventeen, she explores how quickly time goes by and how she wishes she could “freeze the time at seventeen”. Fair enough, but it seems a bit pointless considering she’s only nineteen herself – the message would probably have more of an effect coming from a significantly older person. And considering there’s a strong meaning behind most of Know-It-All’s tracks, then Stone and Stars (acoustic guitar and piano ballads respectively) fall a bit flat.
Ultimately though, this is an excellent start to Alessia’s career. It’s clear from Know-It-All that she has all the makings of a mainstream star, as well as knowing exactly who she is and what she wants to achieve with her music. And with mindless clones of polished pop stars all you see nowadays, Alessia Cara is very much needed.
For fans of: Amy Winehouse, Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Know-It-All’ by Alessia Cara is out now on Def Jam Records.