alessia cara’s four pink walls: a 5-point review
Your guide to pop's rising star.
It all started with a house party. Canadian singer Alessia Cara felt out of place amidst marijuana smoke and teenage erections, forcing her mother to promptly pick her up and take her home. The result of that evening was Here, a temperamental cut about roaming a party with disdain and desiring the comforts of home, good music, and good vibes instead. The track launched Cara into the pop stratosphere, but now she's here with her debut EP Four Pink Walls. Cleverly enough, the EP is five tracks, which fits perfectly with i-D's 5-point review. Check out what to expect from music's new rising star.
Alessia is 19-years-old, but a lot has happened since she turned 17. "My daddy says that life comes at you fast," she sings on this anthemic opener about wanting to propel yourself into young adulthood. The song details her desire to grow up fast, but now here she is on the road to being a grown up, and all she wants is to go back. "I was too young to understand what it means," Cara says on the track. "Now I wish I could freeze the time at 17!" Don't we all, girl.
You know the drill by now with this one. A woozy Isaac Hayes sample from Ike's Rap II (the same sample used for Portishead's Glory Box) gives way to Alessia Cara's breakout single. Soulful coos a'plenty, as Alessia travels through a breakdown of this now infamous house party, where she clearly feels like she doesn't belong. It's been lauded as an Antisocial Anthem - anyone who has ever felt awkward or out of place can rock with this one.
The Doo Wop beat combined with Alessia's sincere vocals totally sounds like some American greaser flick from the 50s or 60s—where a good girl falls for the bad guy and wants to hop on his motorcycle, grab onto his leather jacket and ride off into the sunset. It's really not that far off, as the song is about living and loving in rebellion of what anyone else thinks. Cara has said this is a love song that could apply to all forms of love, but this one sounds totally romantic.
A rhythmic love song! Who doesn't love those? There are synths and 80s inspired hi-hats that envelop this track about falling in love even when you didn't want it to happen. The song has a lot of personality and can probably live as a future single with all of that pop value. OK, enough pleasantries: listen to the song for yourself.
Four Pink Walls
Alessia Cara has spoken quite a bit about adoration for the late Amy Winehouse. While comparisons have been loosely drawn between the two singers, this closer and title track present the strongest argument. Alessia's vocals travel along a similar vein as Amy's—alternating between fast rhythmic bars and then long drawn out notes. The beat switches from poppy to jazzy, with Cara dreaming of returning to the four pink walls of her bedroom now that stardom has her travelling through rooms she's never fathomed entering. While the song is smooth, it's vulnerable and fearful. Fame is a scary place, as Amy once told us. Alessia cosigns that sentiment, but thankfully arrives with more cautious optimism than Camden Town's own.
Alessia Cara is live at the Barfly 8th September.
Text Kathy Iandoli
Photography Meredith Truax