The Pains of Growing

The Pains of Growing

Three years after Know-It-All introduced her as pop’s rebellious newcomer—an introvert with power pipes who was skeptical about fame—Alessia Cara returns with a fresh perspective. Rather than run away from her problems, the 22-year-old Toronto-area singer opts, instead, to run toward them. Her autobiographical sophomore album tells her journey of heartbreak, growth, and self-acceptance with cautious optimism. “I guess the bad can get better/Gotta be wrong before it’s right,” she sings on “Growing Pains,” an introspective, chin-up ballad about the trials of adolescence and stardom. Cara, who often talks openly about therapy, works through a wide range of emotions here—vulnerability (“I Don’t Want To”), disappointment (“All We Know”), and determination (“Wherever I Live”)—and each song feels like an outstretched hand. On “Not Today,” she simply lets herself feel low, offering the gentle reminder that healing takes time. “One day I won’t need a PhD to sit me down/And tell me what it all means,” she sings. “Maybe one day it’ll be a breeze/But surely not today.”

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