Eight months have passed since 23-year-old Alessia Cara, released her profoundly personal sophomore album, The Pains of Growing. Filled with tracks about maturity and lessons learned from difficulties, it was an album that showed fans just how real Alessia could be.
And that tangible relatablity has found its way back on her follow-up EP: This Summer. Laced with more personal stories and lessons, each of these six tracks exhibits further growth as Alessia sets boundaries, learns to love herself and recovers from break ups (albeit with a touch of profanity at times).
Romance, boundaries and self-love make their way to center stage here as Alessia grows and matures.
In “Ready,” Alessia encourages the guy she’s interested in to pursue wholeness before they dive into a relationship: “Go steady your, your heavy heart, until you’re free/Until you’re ready for me.” Similarly, she wants an indecisive man to know that she’s not interested in playing mental games in “What’s on Your Mind?” (“I’m tired of cracking codes/If you want me, let me know, you should know better”).
“Like You” finds Alessia moving on from a relationship that is no more (“Go ahead and fill up all your voids with parts of her/I won’t be holding my breath”) and setting boundaries so she doesn’t get hurt again (“But don’t you come knocking when you’re alone/’Cause I have been pushed as far as I can go”). Parallel themes are heard on “Rooting for You.”
“OKAY OKAY” may sound like an arrogant tune at first listen, but it’s actually a light song about Alessia speaking loving, positive words to herself until she believes them: “I’m a million trick pony/The number one and only/… Maybe if I write it down, I’ll make it real somehow/’Cause everyone’s allowed to feel amazing.”
“October” is bittersweet as Alessia wants to hold on to a budding relationship that she knows can’t last: “I’m gonna miss it when it’s over/I hope we never see October.”
And even though several songs deal with failed relationships—which can feel like a bit of a downer, subject-wise—Alessia generally exhibits clear thinking and self-awareness about these guys’ character flaws. On “Ready,” for example, she recognizes one man’s penchant for igniting drama just for drama’s sake: (“You start a million fires just to see what they can do/But then you freeze up like winter season in June”).
The s-word is heard a few times on “OKAY OKAY,” and “d–n” is uttered multiple times on “Rooting for You.”
In “What’s on Your Mind,” there’s a metaphorical reference to Alessia using a “crystal ball” to read a man’s mind as he’s playing hard to get.
Not many mainstream artists these days are willing to talk about real-life issues to real-life people. And let’s face it: Most of us can’t relate to spending millions of dollars, wasting time away on some private island, driving Maybachs or decking ourselves out in diamond-encrused bling. But most of us can relate to the difficulty of relationships and the need for personal growth.
This Summer gives listeners tunes they can jam to while doling out some personal advice and relatable life-lessons. In an interview on the Zach Sang Show, Alessia said of her previous record that it was very emotional, but that she was reaching for a lighter, healthier perspective this time around:
“I’ve never really written this way … I’ve been writing from … a place of peace within myself and seeing things from a different perspective and just being, feeling lighter about things and letting things happen the way they should.”
It is a lighter emotional effort, to be sure. The only caution here is the profanity that occasionally mingles with the heartbreaks and lessons Alessia Cara unpacks on This Summer.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).