Before I start this review I want to disclaim that I am not a music expert and the comments you are about to read are all based on what I enjoy personally.
Camila Cabello, formerly of US girlband Fifth Harmony, which she announced her departure from in December 2016, has just released her highly-anticipated debut album, ‘Camila’. Since venturing on a solo career, Camila has had outstanding success with her singles, ‘Crying in the Club’ and ‘Havana’, gaining her first number one in the UK and making the 20-year old singer, a global superstar.
I haven’t really had much interest in Fifth Harmony in the past but all of Camila’s solo released material has had eagerly waiting to see what bop she releases next. I listened to the 11-track album and here are my thoughts…
- Track One: “Never Be The Same”:
This track is definitely the right way to start off the album. A well produced drum-heavy bassline with reggae influences all complimented by Cabello’s crisp falsetto which sound fantastic in the pre-chorus. I actually could see this track fitting nicely in with Taylor Swift’s 1989 album and we all know how popular that project became. The perfect introduction to set up the listener for the rest of the album.
- Track Two: “All These Years”:
I loved this song on the very first listen. It’s incredibly easy to listen to, definitely what I would describe as a ‘car song’, perfect for driving and nodding along. The stand out section of the track would have to be the vocal flexes during the bridge, Camila’s vocals sound so interesting and it really makes the song. Short and sweet but not disappointing.
- Track Three: “She Loves Control”:
YAAAAAAAS GAWD! This track has to be a single! The tropical beat sets this number up for a dance hit, a definite stamp from Skrillex who wrote and produced on the song. The touches of Spanish guitar gives the track as Latino flair which Camila is becoming an expert on incorporating into her songs. The lyrics, ‘She doesn’t cry anymore, no, she doesn’t go to the bar’ could also be a nod to her single ‘Crying in the Club’ which doesn’t feature on the album.
- Track Four: “Havana”:
There’s not much to say on this song because if you haven’t heard it on a radio or TV over the last few months then you must be living in a different world. I love this song, I’ve played this song on repeat, it’s a banger. As a single, ‘Havana’ definitely showed the public what kind of music would be on the album with the dance and Latino influences.
- Track Five: “Inside Out”:
Inside Out is the first track on the album that I’m not overly keen on. I tired quite quickly of the repetitive chorus and felt as though it was used as a filler track to slow the pace of the album down a tad. However, I’ll continue to listen and who knows it might be a grower?
- Track Six: “Consequences”:
This is a pretty song, the lyrics are sweet and well-written which could be the hand of Amy Wadge who writes frequently with Ed Sheeran (please listen to ‘Fire Alarms’ it’s a fantastic song). I like that Camila has toned it down here with a piano based song and you can really hear her emotional connection to the track.
- Track Seven: “Real Friends”:
Apparently this song had been released before a promotional single in December but I had never heard it before? Saying that, on the first listen I knew straight away it would be one of my favourites on the album. Acoustic guitar based with samples of Tropical and Latino flares makes for a very catchy beat. Not to delve too deeply into the meaning of the lyrics but I think Camila could be hinting about her relationship with her ex-bandmates and their loyalty to her. This track is great, I actually think that Camila sounds great on it but I would love to hear a Justin Bieber remix as I think his vocals would really suit the melody.
- Track Eight: “Something’s Gotta Give”:
The best way to describe this track is – ‘Cinematic’. Put it into a break-up scene on the big screen and it’ll fit the mood to a T. The piano ballad is very lyrically pleasing and Cabello sounds vulnerable whilst showing of her vocals. I have a feeling she could sing the absolute hell out of this live.
- Track Nine: “In The Dark”:
When this song first began I thought I wouldn’t like it, the beat was interesting but I couldn’t be sure if I was enjoying it. However, the lyrics of this track really pulled me in, telling a story of wanting to be with a person when they’re alone because that’s the one time they’re open about their feelings. It’s definitely the song on the album that made me concentrate the most and because of that has made it one of my favourites.
- Track Ten: “Into It”:
Seeing Ryan Tedder’s name on any writing credits is always exciting for me. That man can write a bop! Into It has a really catchy baseline and makes for really pleasing, easy- listening. I enjoyed the ‘Oh Na Na’s’ which were possibly a nod to Havana earlier on in the album. This song could be beautiful live with the right staging and I’m sure this is the track that Camila Cabello fans will have a soft spot for.
- Track Eleven: “Never Be The Same (Radio Edit)”:
Sigh! Camila why?!
I was really hoping this song would be more of a reprise than a radio edit and it majorly disappointed me that this repeated track was what closed the album. I really feel the penultimate track, “Into It” should have been used instead.
This album is fantastically produced for a debut, props to Frank Dukes who produced and co-wrote most of the tracks. Camila’s song writing and vocals have also pleasantly surprised me and I think she’ll gain huge of respect and credit from her peers in the industry.
Using Latino and Tropical sounds within her music makes this a very strong first album and fits perfectly with the current chart toppers. Camila holds her own vocally and continues to impress. This is a project to be proud of and I’m sure she’ll have a successful career ahead.
Thanks for reading,