The music industry was shaken up last December following Camila Cabello’s abrupt exit from girl group Fifth Harmony, who Simon Cowell formed in 2012 during season two of his reality singing competition, The X-Factor. Cabello parted ways with her former bandmates after being forbidden creative control. The 20-year-old expressed a strong interest in songwriting and developing her artistry; however, was turned down. But, these hardships fueled a fire inside of Cabello to push the envelope and create a debut album that manifests heartache, pain, triumph and freedom.
Though she previously found success as a duet partner alongside Shawn Mendes and Machine Gun Kelly, Cabello only scratched the surface when it came to her limitless capabilities as a fierce pop starlet. Camila, which was released on Friday, perfectly demonstrates why Cabello is a standout act of one. Her global breakout hit “Havana” has topped the pop songs chart for seven weeks now and is the longest run for a female in five years. Paying homage to her Cuban heritage, the playful track promulgates Cabello’s versatility and contribution to the scene. “Inside Out” is another song that gives off the same vibe, equipped with a danceable melody and mix of Spanish lyrics. Not to mention, will have you envisioning you’re stretched out on a tropical island with a cocktail in hand.
The second lead single off the album, “Never Be the Same,” is gearing up to be another hit under her belt, especially after a stellar performance on The Tonight Starring Show Jimmy Fallon. Can we all just appreciate how she changed the pronunciation of heroine in the pre-chorus? (Something that only Ms. Cabello could pull off). “NBTS” captures a dramatic, intoxicating idea of what falling in love should feel like. Her heightened pitch is also more than impressive.
“Consequences” is a proper ballad; simplistic, yet shows a great deal of maturity from the young songstress. Cabello’s vulnerable lyrics (“Loving you was dumb, dark and cheap. Loving you will still take shots at me”) demonstrate a more relatable side, a skill comparable to Taylor Swift pre-Reputation days. “Something’s Gotta Give” is another slow, sentimental ditty. The production allows Cabello’s soft vocals to shine throughout. “If it doesn’t hurt me, then why do I still cry? If it didn’t hurt me, then I’m half alive,” she croons.
“Real Friends,” which for the record, is not about the ladies of 5H, exposes us to the loneliness Cabello experiences while in the City of Angels, singing “every time I let somebody in, then I find out what they’re all about.” The folksier pop sound accompanied by an acoustic guitar is right up Cabello’s alley, which we previously got a taste of on her and Mendes’ “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
“All These Years” is a mid-tempo masterpiece where Cabello reflects on a brief run-in with a past love interest still on her mind. Lyrically, it’s a standout on the album. “Ooh, I wish I loved you like I miss you,” she sings with breathy vocals. During “In The Dark,” Cabello makes note of the alternative ways of being intimate while wanting someone to show their true colors. She coos, “you can strip down without showing skin.”
“Into It,” co-written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and songwriting king Justin Tranter, would be a phenomenal third single off the LP. The track is sharp, sexy and has superb radio potential. Cabello opens with the sultry lyrics, “Ooh, I’m not a psychic, but I see myself all over you.” Skrillex-produced “She Loves Control,” is another contender with the strength to dominate as a single. It simply oozes confidence and in true Camila Cabello style, is infused with Latin vibes.
As a whole, Camila shines just as bright as the pint-sized pop-star, further proving not only can Cabello stand her own ground in the business, but is merely getting started. It’s no coincidence that she follows in the footsteps of Swift, Adele, Beyoncé, and Katy Perry as the only female acts to have their albums hit #1 in more than 95 countries.
You can stream Camila in full below.
What are your thoughts on Camila? Be sure to let us know, @CelebMix.