Album Review: Revisiting Relationship Lows Through Alessia Cara’s “Broken Heart”

Reviewing Alessia Cara’s first compilation release of 2022



Alessia Cara has been busy in 2022, releasing four compilation albums, including “Broken Heart”

TJ Cyrus

Alessia Cara has built quite a career for herself.

From the release of her debut single “Here” in 2016 to her third studio album “In the Meantime” in 2021, Cara has managed to not only hone her craft, but expand it.

This year is no exception, as Cara has released four compilation albums in March alone, including “Broken Heart.”

I was worried when I read on Genius’s March Album Releases Calendar that Alessia Cara was releasing music this month.

Her latest album at the time, “In the Meantime” and this mystery album were released only six months apart, and I was afraid her new album would not be as good since she releases studio albums further apart. That was, however, until I heard it was a compilation album.

Cara isn’t a stranger to these, as some of her re-released work follows a theme, such as holiday or acoustic. Cara is also known for taking music from her studio albums to match a certain vibe — such as her EP “Growing Pains” from “The Pains of Growing.” 

Released on March 4, “Broken Heart” is the first of Cara’s four compilations in 2022. In 12 tracks, the album navigates the less ideal side of relationships such as infidelity, existentialism and the harsh reality of moving on.

I Choose

Taken from the Netflix animated film “The Willoughbys, “I Choose” emphasizes the singer’s steadfast support of her lover. Although present on earlier albums in an acoustic form, this is the first time Cara included the studio version of the song in an album.

The disembodied voices at the start give way for the vocals to take the stage as the instrumental builds in the background. With a simplistic percussion lead followed by synths and staccato harmonies, the music reveals the song’s adventurous imagery, supplemented by Cara’s heartfelt lyrics.

After releasing “In the Meantime” in September 2021, Cara released “Broken Heart” six months later.

Drama Queen  

This song’s instrumental relies on the plucking of strings and clapping to create its bubbliness. The blunt lyrics combined with rhythmic plucking evoke the atmosphere of childishness, complementing the song’s title.


Sampling a cover of “I Wish You Love” performed by Miumiu Guitargirl, this song utilizes the sample’s instrumental to establish a peaceful tone. The strings, piano and beat are followed by a trumpet solo in Cara’s version. This slower song uses natural imagery to discuss letting go of her lover and wishing them the best.

I Miss You, Don’t Call Me

Continuing where the previous song left off, Cara laments that letting go of her partner is more painful than anticipated, despite it being for the best. The instrumental leans heavily on the piano and background vocals, with the strings present to support the pacemaker’s beat.

Slow Lie

This song is more relaxed, with Cara dragging out words in the chorus to create a more intimate atmosphere. The softer instrumental, background vocals and harmonies emphasize the lyrics, as Cara discusses her former lover’s lies and warns of their future impact.

Middle Ground (ft. CHIKA)

“Middle Ground” introduces the first of two features on this compilation album: CHIKA. The track’s instrumental uses trumpet notes and staccato piano chords to create a neutral atmosphere. Tied in with a pacemaker, Cara discusses the dichotomy of wanting a partner in the future but not wanting one due to her previous relationship failures.

CHIKA’s feature comes after the second chorus, as the rapper offers her spin on the dilemma through her steadfast flow. Her verse focuses more on a more optimistic outlook, as she remains hopeful about finding a significant other despite her previous failed relationships. 

Box in the Ocean

This song plays on the idiom “out of sight, out of mind” through its clever iteration of the phrase “floating down the river.” “Box in the Ocean” is complemented by the combination of anxious-leaning lyrics that contrast the upbeat, strings-led instrumental.

On this track, Cara admits that despite her unending wave of concerns, she pushes those feelings to the side so that others don’t notice her struggles.

Best Days

This eighth track of “Broken Heart” takes on a more existential approach compared with songs earlier in the album. The piano and background vocals carry the melancholy instrumental that, supported by the lyrics, reveal the ultimate heartbreak: having one’s best days in the past.

On “Box in the Ocean,” Cara sings about how she hides her worries from others. (Flickr)

You Let Me Down

This track shifts the focus of heartbreak back into relationships, with Cara forced to reconcile with a simple truth about her partner – that they let her down.

The strings lead this song’s instrumental track — as is common with most of the album — while the background vocals double as echoes for the choruses and the instrumental’s harmonies.


“Shapeshifter” discusses the elusiveness of Cara’s ex. Its lyrics and instrumental reflect a more uncertain approach to this person when compared to other tracks on this album.

Its instrumental is powered by strings and background vocals, as the asynchronous strumming of the former and humming of the latter contribute to the song’s aura of mystery.

Best Days (ft. Pentatonix)

This remix of “Best Days” features the acapella group Pentatonix. The lyrics are the same as before, but the featured artists replace the entire instrumental. The harmonies and acapella provided by Pentatonix make the song feel lighter, resembling an existential “what-if” feeling rather than the feeling of heartbreak the original version gave off.

My Thoughts

Honestly, this compilation album is satisfying to listen to. All but two of the tracks originated from “In the Meantime,” and I was thoroughly impressed by how well they were arranged in “Broken Heart.” While “In the Meantime” focused more broadly on the progressions of Cara’s relationships, “Broken Heart” narrowed the scope and compiled the “lows” of said relationship.

One thing that surprised me was the tracks from different projects and how well they fit with the album’s theme. Despite not being a perfect fit, “I Choose” serves as a prelude to the heartbreak the album addresses, and the Pentatonix feature on “Best Days” offers a semblance of closure through the uncertainty.

For me, “Broken Heart” shone in its heavy-heart theme was easy to listen to, as the album runtime was under 40 minutes. The release offered a great way for fans to experience Cara’s latest studio album while introducing a few other works in her discography.