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Track Review

Alessia Cara doesn’t want to be “Here.”

And just where is that, you ask? At a party. A party with all the typical party-style misbehavior happening all around her: people smoking weed, gulping down booze, gossiping about others, etc. Plus the unwanted attention from the playas and one-night standers, of course.

Unlike innumerable artists exalting the glories of unrestrained, unchecked party-based hedonism, this 19-year-old newcomer from near Toronto (who identifies Amy Winehouse and Lauren Hill as her musical inspirations) doesn’t want anything to do with any of that stuff.

So with a voice that’s as smoky as the party she's dissing, Cara belts out a rare slow-burner for the anti-partier, an anthem for self-controlled introverts and wise wallflowers everywhere.

Is It Over Yet?

You can almost see Alessia wedged into a dark corner with her arms folded and a bit of a perplexed frown on her face while delivering the apologetic disclaimer—apparently to much “merrier” partygoers—that starts this song. “I’m sorry if I seem uninterested,” she sings. “Or I’m not listenin’ or I’m indifferent/Truly, I ain’t got no business here.”

Which leads to the obvious question: If she doesn’t want to be at this shenanigan-filled shindig, why is she? And so she wastes no time giving an answer: “But since my friends are here/I just came to kick it.” And now she's sorta trapped since she can’t leave until they’re ready to go. “So holla at me, I’ll be in the car when you’re done/ … So tell my people when they’re ready that I’m ready.”

As the song continues, it’s not hard to see why she’s more than inclined to call it a night and maybe go curl up at home with a good book and a cup of hot tea (or maybe chocolate with marshmallows): “I would rather be at home all by myself, not in this room/With people who don’t even care about my well-being.”

Among them are …

The pot smokers: “I’ll be here, somewhere in the corner under clouds of marijuana.”

The dude who’s already drunk way too much: “I’ll be here/Right next to the boy who’s throwing up ‘cause/He can’t take what’s in his cup no more.”

The catty, cliquey girls in the kitchen: “I’ll be here/Not there in the kitchen with the girl/Who’s always gossiping about her friends/ … Hours later, congregating next to the refrigerator/Some girl’s talking 'bout her haters (she ain't got none).

The pickup artist: “I can hardly hear/Over this music I don’t listen to and I don’t wanna get with you/ … I’m standoffish, don’t want what you’re offering.”

Well, that's quite the insightful and refreshingly honest take on these sorts of soirees!

And her exasperations pile up to the point where she eventually exclaims, “Oh god, what am I doing here?/ … I ask myself what am I doing here/And I can’t wait till we can break up outta here.”

Fight for Your Right to … Go Home

As I already mentioned, scores of songs through the modern ages have pledged undying love and affection for the no-rules, no-limits, there’s-only-tonight lifestyle. But Alessia Cara takes a steely eyed, journalistic snapshot of what that kind of behavior really looks like. And what it looks like, she rightly insists, isn’t very cool. It’s loud. It’s boorish. It’s excessive. It’s out of control. And it's repulsive to her, making her wish she was anywhere else but here.

To borrow her word, Alessia standoffishly tells those who insist that they’ve got to fight for their right to party, I’m going to fight for my right to hang out in the corner so I don’t get puked on or spilled on or stoned or pregnant—and I’m getting out of here as soon as possible.

And then she spells things out visually, too, in her video, which is quite concrete in its interpretation of what she's saying. The singer finds herself wandering through a house party that’s been frozen in time, giving her (and the camera) time to focus on what’s really going on.

That means, of course, that we see much of what the song describes: everybody drinking, two guys sharing a joint and someone throwing up. The Canadian teen looks in vain for somewhere to curl up and wait the party out, and the fact that the carnal proceeding has been stopped cold in its temporal tracks only reinforces how agonizingly long her wait may be.

Daring to Be Different

Kudos to Miss Cara for capturing with such clarity—albeit with an unblinking, PG-13-level gaze—the vacuity of what so many older artists still insist is the pinnacle of existence. Alessia is only 19, but she’s already figured out that there’s a lot more to the good life than getting high, drunk and hit on at a dark and smoky beer bash. And she's figured out that the best thing you can do when you find yourself in the middle of all that is … leave.

She doesn't try to push her point of view on her friends ("So you can go back, please enjoy your party"), but she does preach the virtues of paying attention to a song's life lessons ("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").

And so her song does push her point of view. As all songs do.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

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