ALBUM REVIEW: Alessia Cara, In The Meanwhile
Canadian singer-songwriter/radio titan Alessia Cara, has dropped her third album, In The Meantime. In this introspective album, she opens up about her anxiety and depression, but she doesn’t let it define her. I like how she utilizes the guitar on most of the production on this project. It really gives the album a more intimate feel to it. This album doesn’t have an Olivia Rodrigo sound, but definitely the same attitude towards relationships. Where she can do no wrong and it’s all the guys fault. She will blame the guy for gaslighting her and then she wrote a whole album saying that he ain’t shit.
“Unboxing Intro” kicked off the album really well with it’s jazz and blues production style. Alessia sings her heart out as she intensely sings about her feelings of depression. The way that the song builds, Alessia Cara gets louder and sings faster. It sounds like she is having a panic attack until the end when the beat drops and has a smooth transition into “Box in the Ocean.” In this track, Alessia opens up about what goes through her head and causes her anxiety, like growing old, being a square, and the fear of being a bad role model, and being forgotten. The chorus sounds really nice and the metaphor of boxing her emotions up and throwing them in the ocean is pretty clever for saying that she bottles up these emotions. “Blue Bird” changes pace and has a nice calming guitar melody as she sings about a break up with her significant other. Once again, her use of metaphors is very well done. She describes herself as a blue bird and compares herself to the blue macaw and how she wants to be with this guy, but she feels like she is holding him back so she lets him go.
“Lie To Me” is a song about how she’s suspicious that the guy she is with is cheating on her. During the argument, she accuses him of gaslighting her and calling her crazy and she kind of owns it. She knows that she is acting insecure about the relationship, but she’s able to raise the stakes and show him what crazy looks like when he comes around. It sounds like they have a toxic relationship where they try to raise the stakes and say that he can leave if he isn’t happy with her. “Shapeshifter” is a slower cut song where it sounds like she has calmed down from the last track, but the anger is still there. It’s funny how much she flames this guy on the song saying “Replace your guilt with philosophy, bright idea.” There are many digs on this song about the guy, and it sounds so smooth.
“Fishbowl” has a really nice bassline and the guitars on this song are solid as well. I like the metaphor of the fishbowl in this song as well. It’s like she is in a rut where she feels like she is in the deep end, and everyone sees her swimming in circles as she makes the same mistakes again. “I Miss You Don’t Call Me” has a nice sentiment of missing an ex but knowing that calling them would be bad for the both of them. Like she knows that if they talk to each other, they’re both going to try to get back together. It’s a pretty relatable situation especially after a break up just happens. Like you want to talk to them to path it up, but they’re “the bruise I’ll never learn from.” “Middle Ground” is a song that I feel like describes what dating is like nowadays, where most people feel like they don’t know what they want. I like Alessia Cara’s metaphor on this song when she said “I got barbed wire around my house / But if someone would trade it for a picket fence I wouldn’t mind it.” It’s like she doesn’t want to be in a relationship, but the feeling of one. Chika has a great verse as well. She compliments the song of not knowing what she wants in a relationship as well. She has some good lines on the song too like “O ain’t shootin’ shots, but I can dribble” meaning that she isn’t going for anyone, but if men go up to her, she is willing to juggle them. “Somebody Else” hits a lul for me. The production on the track sounds like something we already heard on the album and the lyrics aren’t as hard hitting as the previous tracks.
“Drama Queen” has a really nice groove to it with it’s quirky and poppy production. She has a nice performance on this song as well. The lyrics are kind of funny to me because she says that her ex is not in love with her, but in love with the drama. It’s like she hasn’t heard her previous songs about dramatic moments. “Best Days” is too dramatic for me, especially the chorus. It’s like a totally different Alessia Cara from the previous songs. This one is more insecure where she feels like the best days are the days she left behind and that the “hardest pill to swallow is the meantime.” The reason why this song sounds out of place is because it sounds like she can only live when she’s in love, and the project up to here has been so confident.
“Sweet Dream” is a lighter song on the surface, with her sweet singing and production. It’s funny as she sings about the things that keep her up like “Where do I go when I’m dead?” or “That one stupid thing I said.” Besides a couple of relatable quotes, this song is kind of average. The production only has one part that’s interesting during the chorus. If she expanded a little more on the beat drop, I think the song would have been better.“Find My Boy” is a fun song about her imagining her perfect boyfriend. With its island sounding production and multiple scenes of what she imagines what this guy is doing, I feel like I’m listening to a Disney princess song with snare drums. “Voice In My Head” is another lul on this project. With its non memorable lyrics and boring production. I have the same complaint about “Slow Lie” and “You Let Me Down” as well. “Apartment Song” has more lively production that kind of sounds like a beat that Arianna Grande would sing on.
Overall, Alessia Cara is very talented at songwriting. Her metaphors are great on many songs on this project. Her point of view wins you over in every situation she sings about, but it does sound a little toxic. The only issue I really have on this project is that she refuses to take any responsibility for what goes wrong in her relationship. I mean unless she dates losers (which I hope is not the case), then these situations seem very one sided. As for her singing, I feel like it wasn’t anything too crazy. Throughout the project, I felt like a lot of these songs kind of bleed into each other and they end up sounding pretty similar.