Birthday Album Review: Know-It-All by Alessia Cara

“To all the girls that’s hurtin’ / Let me be your mirror / Help you see a little bit clearer / The light that shines within”
– Alessia Cara, “Scars To Your Beautiful”

This album review was originally published on

Alessia Cara took the pop/R&B genre by surprise last year with her debut hit, “Here,” which boasts an old-school hip-hop vibe with a solidly relatable message and a lyrical story that is all too easy to imagine for us millennials.

With an effortless flow like that and such a mature voice, she had to be in her early 20s at least, I thought.

But I thought wrong.

Alessia was just 19 years old at the time of the album’s release and, with her endearing innocence and refusal to be anyone but herself, she is a breath of fresh air in today’s music industry. With her debut album Know-It-All, simply put, the Canadian native has created a body of work.

In ten tracks, she quickly draws us into her world, where growing up is hard to do, love messes throws you for a loop every single time, and fame once seemed a distant dream.

The beats are assertive and so well-produced that you’ll be looking forward to playing the entire album over and over again (the album was produced by Pop & Oak and Malay, who have worked with powerful songstresses like Alicia Keys and Jessie J). Each song seems to stand tall on its own, while also coming together cohesively.

”Four Pink Walls” and “Wild Things” are nearly mind-blowing, both lyrically and in their vibrant production. The former was giving me a Fugees vibe; it definitely falls into my top five favorites on this album.

Alessia has managed to combine a brilliant, poetic lyrical flow with vocals and intensity beyond her years, a feat that is almost surreal, and so welcome in an era where we’re often surrounded by repetitive pop hooks and rap verses with little to no substance.

“Scars To Your Beautiful” is a track crafted with warm positivity, addressing the very real issue of self-esteem among women with lyrics like: “There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark/You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are/You don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart.”

Alessia Cara has arrived, and I for one am hoping she’s “here” to stay for a long time to come.

Check out my live show review of Alessia’s Know-It-All Tour Part II at Radio City Music Hall in NYC.

Favorite song: “I’m Yours”
Most underrated song: “Overdose”
Favorite videos:

“Here” official music video

“Wild Things” performance on The Ellen Show

Buy Know-It-All on iTunes or stream on Spotify now.

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