Following the release of her hit single “Havana” featuring Young Thug, Camila Cabello’s self-titled debut album Camila, dropped last week and it did not disappoint.
Cabello’s first solo album after leaving Fifth Harmony also follows her debut single “Crying in the Club” as well as recent collaborations with Shawn Mendes and Machine Gun Kelly.
Camila is mellow but refreshing, and offers listeners an emotionally intimate experience. “Crying in the Club” was omitted from the album but “Havana” fits in seamlessly.
The lead track “Never Be the Same” is smooth and one of the strongest on the album. Even the catchy “Inside Out” is relaxed and carefree, perfect for listening to on a beach (or pretending you’re on one while it snows outside in Wisconsin).
This album is the epitome of easy listening, as it sparks positive vibes through the headphones of any music lover. Like “Havana,” which is named after Cabello’s birthplace (it was even listed as one of Barack Obama’s favorite songs of 2017), “She Loves Control” comes close to a dance vibe but holds true to the album’s overall relaxed tone.
While embracing her Cuban-Mexican heritage, Cabello establishes herself as the talented vocalist she is. Each track is centered on her voice and its range. Many of the instrumentals embody typical Latin rhythms.
“Inside Out” includes Spanish lyrics and a reference to both her Mexican roots and growing up in southern Miami: “De Miami a México, esta cosa se prendió, baby,” which translates to “From Miami to Mexico, this thing caught on.” Camila is an outstanding addition to the growing genre of Latin-influenced pop music.
Camila covers everything from infatuation to unreciprocated emotional labor across several musical styles. A synthesized, acoustic “All These Years” speaks of reminiscing and reconnection, though it sounds strikingly similar to Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.”
Slower ballads like “Consequences” and “Something’s Gotta Give” lament the shortcomings of past relationships, and the piano provides a nice break from an otherwise heavy use of synthesizer across the album. Still, each song holds its own and Cabello avoids any sense of repetitiveness.
“Consequences” in particular is excellently stripped down and a great example of Cabello’s vocal talent and her ability to capture and share emotion through her music.
If these songs weren’t already personal enough, Cabello goes for it on “Real Friends.” The track diverts from lyrics describing romantic love to tackle the subject of disappointing platonic relationships.
In what sounds like a shot at her former bandmates, passive-aggressive lyrics like “I’m just looking for some real friends, all they ever do is let me down, every time I let somebody in, then I find out what they’re all about,” may reflect her feelings on her less-than-amicable departure from the group that was formed on The X Factor in 2012.
The ten tracks might leave listeners wanting a bit more, perhaps in music or energy. However, a relatively more upbeat and optimistic “Into It” closes the album and Cabello seems to have fulfilled her intent to make a personal statement on her debut album.
Rating: 4 /5