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Released: 2015

Alessia Cara’s “Seventeen” is more than just a chorus of oh’s and a heart beating at the speed of youth – it’s a poignant reflection on the swift passage of time and the bittersweet tension of wanting to grow up too fast. Through her lyrics, she gives listeners a front-row seat to her internal monologue, filled with nostalgia for her younger years and a mature recognition of the weighty wisdom imparted by her parents.

The song’s opening lines set the stage for this exploration of time and youth. With the analogy of “blades of grass,” Cara captures the fleeting nature of life – its rise to prime and eventual decline, an echo of her own ascension to adulthood. Her “view with a looking glass” that only captures the present and can’t snag the past, further emphasizes the perceptive limitations of youth.

Yet, as she delves further into her past, we see a vulnerable child ‘afraid of the dark,’ clutching teddy bears for comfort and wrapping herself in blankets to stave off fear. These recollections serve as reminders of her own personal evolution and growth through fears and insecurities. The refrain “I couldn’t wait ’til I could be seventeen” encapsulates the common youthful desire for rapid maturity, a longing she later acknowledges was naive.

Alessia Cara Seventeen

The chorus occasions a shift in perspective; a longing for the ability to “freeze the time at seventeen.” The sweet spot of seventeen, caught between childhood and full-blown adulthood, represents a time when dreams are as fresh as morning dew, untampered by the harsh glare of reality.

The second verse is a sophisticated nod to her mother’s wisdom, a reminder to stay grounded and true to one’s roots. With the poignant phrase “keep yourself surrounded with good advice,” the value of wise counsel articulates a fundamental truth for all ages. The importance of love, a lesson imparted from her mother, becomes a core principle that Cara carries with her despite the rapid passage of time.

As we hit the finale, the song offers a candid self-evaluation with the line “I been going on, I been growing up / I’m a know-it-all, I don’t know enough.” This is a mature realization that even as she’s grown in age and wisdom, there’s still much for her to learn.

Ultimately, “Seventeen” is a layered anthem of youth’s swift passage and the lessons gleaned along the way – a testimony equal parts reminiscence and revelation, leaving listeners with a mixtape of emotions and the undeniable resonance of truth.