The Pains of Growing is Alessia Cara's second studio album that was released on November 30, 2018 by Def Jam Recordings.
- Growing Pains
- Not Today
- I Don't Want To
- 7 Days
- Trust My Lonely
- Wherever I Live
- All We Know
- A Little More
- Nintendo Game
- Out Of Love
- Girl Next Door
- My Kind
- Easier Said
- Growing Pains (Reprise)
According to Alessia Cara, the album explores "the nuance and mentality of what it's like to age out of your younger years" as she was 21 years old during the writing and recording of it.
She added that the album is "a little bit more mature, and a little bit more cohesive. It just feels more like a full album. And then conceptually, I know I already touched on it before, but just life experiences and just a lot more transparency".
Steven J. Horowitz of Billboard called the album a "more mature, radio-ready body of work."
From December 2018 to January 2019, Cara uploaded videos to her YouTube channel as a part of a series called "The Making Of: The Pains of Growing", in the videos she puts together a collection of behind the scenes for her songs, giving fans a look at how the songs came together in short summaries, she has created videos for the seven songs from her album: "All We Know", "I Don't Want To", "Trust My Lonely", "Wherever I Live", "7 Days", "Not Today" and "Growing Pains".
In Canada, "The Pains of Growing" debuted at #21 on the Billboard Canadian Albums Chart dated December 15, 2018. On the Billboard 200, the album debuted at #71.
Elsewhere, it charted at #165 on the Belgium Ultratop Flanders chart, #76 in Australia and #78 on the Dutch Albums Chart.
Upon its release, "The Pains of Growing" received generally favorable reviews from music critics. On the review aggregator site Metacritic, the album holds a score of 72/100, based on 13 reviews.
Rob Sheffield, writing for Rolling Stone, awarded the album 4 out of 5 stars, commending Cara's songwriting and vocals and noting her growth from her previous record; Sheffield ends his review by commenting that "all over The Pains of Growing, she’s got a style that’s all her own."
NME likewise gave the album 4 stars out of five and commended "The Girl Next Door" as "the most revealing song" on the album, calling the album "impressive and winningly authentic."
However, some critics were more mixed in their assessments of the album.
Ben Beaumont-Thomas, writing for The Guardian, criticized "some production that sounds suspiciously like focus-grouping" and also deemed the lyrics a "mixed bag", but commended "7 Days" and "A Little More" as "much more affecting." He gave the album 3 stars out of 5.
Pitchfork critic Jayson Greene scored the album 6.8 out of 10; he opined that "a few songs here feel like homework assignments done en route to arrive at a better song."
However, he also wrote that, unlike its predecessor, the album "has the tinge of a project made with love and devotion" and singled out "Not Today", "Trust My Lonely", "Nintendo Game", "Wherever I Live", and "Girl Next Door" as highlights.
In the review for AllMusic, Andy Kellman compared the album to Cara's previous release, stating that "The Pains of Growing is consequently more fragmented and less consistent than Know-It-All, but Cara makes the best of it, generally writing in a slightly wiser and sharper manner from the same introverted homebody perspective."
Cara first performed "Growing Pains" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on June 18, 2018. She played most of "The Pains of Growing" for a media gathering at a Los Angeles studio in June 2018.
She released "A Little More" as a promotional single on July 11, 2018 and performed "Growing Pains" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that same day. "Growing Pains" was also performed at the 2018 iHeartRadio MMVAs.
"Trust My Lonely" has been performed live at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards and "Out of Love" was performed at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Cara shared the cover art and track listing on Twitter on October 26, 2018.