Camila Cabello, Camila | Album Review
Former Fifth Harmony singer Camila Cabello strikes out on her own on her highly-anticipated debut album, ‘Camila.’ The results are positive more often than not.
In 2017, Camila Cabello focused on building her solo career, distancing herself from her former group, Fifth Harmony. By the end of the year, the pop singer found her surefire hit with “Havana”. Fittingly, it reappears on her highly-anticipated debut album, Camila. The arrival of Camila certainly warms up the cold winter weather of January. Camila isn’t devoid of flaws, but the 20-year old Cuban pop artist showcases immense potential.
“Never Be the Same”
Hard drums anchor opener “Never Be the Same”. On the verses, Camila Cabello doesn’t ‘push’ her voice much. Her stunning falsetto shows up, in all its sexiness and sweetness, beginning on the pre-chorus. She exhibits the most vocal oomph during the high-flying chorus.
“It’s you babe / And I’m a sucker for the way that you move, babe / And I could try to run, but it would be useless / You’re to blame / Just one hit of you, I knew I’ll never be the same.”
Although somewhat casual, “Never Be the Same” is a solid start to Camila, reprised at the end in its radio edit.
Cabello wastes no time on “All These Years,” which commences abruptly. Her chill, cooing vocals shine once more, even if the record doesn’t feel particularly assertive or commanding. It’s a pleasant, simple record, if a bit safe. “She Loves Control” provides the spark and feistiness that Camilla misses on the opening duo. The Latin production cues play to her strengths, much like the juggernaut that follows.
“Havana” earns the distinction as the first big Camila Cabello solo hit. The record’s Latin-tinged production is a huge selling point, not to mention sound, confident vocals by Cabello. The hook is simply irresistible.
“Havana, ooh na-na (ay) / Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh na-na (ay, ay) / He took me back to East Atlanta, na-na-na, ah / Oh, but my heart is in Havana (ay) / My heart is in Havana (ay) / Havana, ooh na-na.”
Additionally, there’s acquired taste Young Thug in all his quirky glory. Even so, Cabello is the star, holding down “Havana” like a champ.
“Inside Out” once more successfully blends pop with the tropical influence of the Caribbean. The sound is reminiscent to ‘old-school’ Rihanna from the mid-00s. Pleasant, a common adjective for Camila, “Inside Out” still lacks that ‘killer instinct.’ There’s the desire for Cabello to “kick things up a notch” and ascend to the next level. Regardless, she sounds radiant on follow-up ballad “Consequences.” Her playful upper register vocals and some thoughtful lyrics deliver solid results.
“Real Friends” is an enjoyable, thoughtful, low-key offering from Cabello. The production work is simple, with few frills. Despite the conservative backdrop, it’s an effective, fitting accompaniment. Vocally, there’s more cooing than an overt, dramatic statement. Cabello sounds beautiful and sincere, but she doesn’t pack a huge punch. Even so, the message is strong, and vocal harmonization and subtle cues are enough to carry the record.
Cabello delivers more elegant vocals on ballad “Something’s Gotta Give.” Once again, she’s cool as opposed to being hot. Completely inoffensive, the biggest skepticism is an excess of ballads, even given her success delivering them. “In the Dark” arrives timely, incorporating more groove, a moderate pace, and a more assertive overall performance. The ad-libs and vocal nuances are particular appealing and tasteful.
Interestingly, Cabello saves one of the most fun records until the end of the album. “Into It” is flirty, infectious, and sexy without crossing any lines. She exhibits great personality, something that is missing at times during the album as a whole. As aforementioned, “Never Be the Same (Radio Edit)” concludes Camila.
All in all, Camila is a good start for Camilla Cabello. Though cool, “Never Be the Same” quicks off things well, while the likes “She Loves Control,” “Havana,” and “Into It” add some punch. There is nothing bad about this album in the least – no fatal miscues. That said, artistically, Cabello has ample room to grow. More assertiveness, distinction, and a stronger personality can only elevate her stature in the game.
Gems: “Never Be the Same,” “She Loves Control,” “Havana,” “Consequences” & “Into It”
Camila Cabello • Camila • Epic • Release: 1.12.18
Photo Credit: Epic