New Music Friday: “Camila” | A review.

I woke up this morning and saw the headline, “Camila Cabello’s debut album is breaking records,” and a part of me is proud to see that girl who started with the X-Factor’s Fifth Harmony in 2012 do so well. The other part of me was sad that it couldn’t work out with my favorite girl group. As a huge 5H fan, it was bittersweet. In a perfect world, they’d all be happy for each other. But that’s none of my business. 

Camila Cabello left Fifth Harmony over a year ago and has been working on making it solo [even when she was with the group]. In 2016 she collaborated with artists such as Shawn Mendes and Machine Gun Kelly, and in 2017 began her solo journey by releasing her first single, “Crying in the Club.” To be honest, I wasn’t really a fan of that song, but after that she had several hit singles and features including my personal favorite, “Havana.”

Today, she finally released her first solo album, self-titled “Camila”, formerly known as “The Hurting, the Healing, the Loving” . According to Billboard, it has reached the #1 spot on iTunes in over 90 countries all over the world. She’s proven to be a force to be reckoned with.

Let’s get to it!

  1. “Never be the Same” – This track was released prior to the whole album release. To me it sets the tone of the whole album – reminiscent of love and relationships. She talks of an intoxicating love, someone who comes along and leaves a huge impact on her life. I’m not sure if it’s a positive impact, but the girl sounds addicted to this love. It’s one of the few electronic tracks, but it’s not overdone. She has a lot of control in the song.It sounds like the Camila we’re so used to hearing (in 5H), but also a little toned down.
  2. “All These Years” – Because I’m a sucker for slower tracks, I love this song. It’s not a ballad or anything like that, but it has a stripped down, acoustic sound I love. Keeping in tact with the love, she sings about reuniting with a past love, maybe the one that got away? I think about these things too, Camila, so I totally get it. It’s definitely not a song you’d expect to be dancing to during your nightlife shenanigans.
  3. “She Loves Control” – After “All These Years,” we are hit with a more upbeat song, with a little Latin flavor. It’s doesn’t reach the level of “Havana”, but it’s enough to get you moving. Camila is most definitely singing about herself in the third person. She loves control, so you better let her have it.
  4. “Havana” feat. Young Thug – As much as I love this song now, it took me a while to get into it. This song is what today’s kids call, “lit”. She takes the listener back to her roots, where she was born and raised. It’s another track with Latin flavor and it’s more upbeat. It’s more so an ode to her home town rather than a past love. It’s also the only track with a feature, but I’m sure it would have been a hit otherwise. Daddy Yankee appeared on the remix for this song with Camila singing Spanish for the opening verse.
  5. “Inside Out” – I’m still trying to figure out what this song sounds like. I’m getting a more pop, island, mellow vibe, if that’s even thing. However, it doesn’t feel like it fits in the album, as it’s the most diverse. Honestly, it’s not my favorite, but without a doubt it’s another upbeat song that will get you bopping your head.
  6. “Consequences” – The album seems to shift at this point – it goes from upbeat to a little heartbreaking. “Consequences” is another slower track with that stripped down feeling. The piano melody is simple and paired with Camila’s vocals, the song hits you right in the feels. As I listen to the lyrics and the ending, “Loving you was sunshine, but then it poured. And I lost so much more than my senses, ’cause loving you had consequences,” I sit here wondering who broke Camila’s heart. Lyrically, this proves that Camila has a way with words and is blossoming into a more experienced songwriter.
  7. “Real Friends” –  This was another track that was pre-released. It was released alongside “Never Be the Same” and was clearly different from the opening track. “Real Friends” is actually my favorite track on this album. It’s another stripped down track with an acoustic guitar and when I first heard it last month, I knew I had to learn it. Anyways, this song, to me was the most heartbreaking. It’s not a love song about some guy who broke her heart, but a song about trying to find, what the title suggests, “real friends.” It touched upon “feeling so alone in every crowded room” and that became one of my favorite lines. One could easily think that this was inspired by her fall out with the members of Fifth Harmony – just when I finally thought I was over it.
  8. “Something’s Gotta Give” – Continuing on with the heartbreak, Cabello keeps it slow in this track. If you’ve ever heard, Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon,” this song has a similar sound to it. That addictive love she sang about in the beginning seems to come to an end in this track. Again with the lyrics, we’re hearing a more mature Camila Cabello. It’s definitely a break up track you’d be singing along to when going through a heartbreak.
  9. “In the Dark” – As I listen to this song, the line “LA doesn’t feel like home” makes me feel like Camila has a love/hate relationship with the city, or more so the LA lifestyle. It almost feels like a follow up on “Real Friends” as she has a conversation with someone caught up with the LA lifestyle, asking them to bear their truths and come clean “in the dark” so to speak. This song also ends the vulnerable sound we heard in the last few songs.
  10. “Into It” – The vulnerability is completely thrown out the door with this song. She shows us her sexy side with this track starting off with the line, “I’m not a psychic, but I see myself all over you.” This song is where the album comes full circle. She starts this relationship then goes through the heartbreak and then gets over it and starts again. She’s confident in this one and to be honest, this has a Fifth Harmony sound if that makes sense

Overall, this album kind of went through different stages in a relationship. Again, a lot of it was stripped down and vulnerable. We saw a more mature side of Camila Cabello, but also a softer side. When she was in Fifth Harmony, she always seemed to make herself stand out and that she did. But with this album, I didn’t feel like someone was trying too hard. There weren’t elaborate voice tricks or an overload of runs – it didn’t feel forced, if that makes sense? She also had the chance to showcase her song writing skills and creativity, which any artist would be happy to do.  Camilla Cabello proved she isn’t just a one hit wonder or girl group has been. With the success of her singles and the clear success of this album, she can make it on her own.

What are your feelings on the first solo breakout of Fifth Harmony?

xoxo,

Adele

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