A little more than a year after suddenly announcing her departure from girl group Fifth Harmony, singer Camila Cabello has finally released her debut solo album. Originally due last September, the record was delayed due to a title change and the addition of new songs, including the chart-topping ‘Havana’ ft. Young Thug. The result is a mostly cohesive album with more than a few standouts.
The first song is ‘Never Be the Same,’ kicking the record off on a high note — both literally and figuratively. Here, Cabello sings about falling in love with someone and how she changed as a result. While the first seconds of the song are silent and slightly off-putting, her singing quickly erases any doubts. As the song continues, it becomes apparent that her voice is well-matched with the steady beat, which sounds especially pleasant toward the end of the song when she harmonizes with herself by layering her voice through the miracle of engineering. With this song, she also begins an album-wide theme of repetition here, as many of the same lines are repeated throughout the same parts of the song.
The next track, ‘All These Years’ introduces another trend throughout the record — short songs. While that may be subjective, four out of the 10 songs on the album are less than three minutes long. However, that is not a major issue in this case, as this song is just mellow enough to be forgettable.
In contrast, ‘She Loves Control’ is a striking song with a thumping beat and empowering lyrics. It is another fine example of repetition and brevity, as the short chorus consists purely of the same two lines.
However, the song with the most repetition is certainly ‘Havana’ ft. Young Thug. This, in addition to Cabello’s and Young Thug’s vocals laid over the smooth brass and piano in the background, contribute to the song’s catchiness. It is also in this song where the singer displays the broadest range with her voice.
Cabello again plays with the idea of repetition on the next track, “Inside Out.” The only memorable part about this song is its success in its obvious mission to convey a tropical vibe, with its energetic, reggaeton beat and part of its bridge sung in Spanish.
“Consequences” is the closest thing to a love song on the album. With soft vocals and a short and sweet melody, Cabello sounds remarkably similar to fellow pop singer Ariana Grande.
On “Real Friends,” Cabello croons about a lack of true friends over a guitar-focused instrumental. Reading between the lines, one can only wonder if the song is actually about the singer’s former bandmates. ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ is another soft song, this time about not having any reason to stay with her current lover, as he does not reciprocate her affection.
Repetition reappears on ‘In the Dark’ another forgettable song, where Cabello again harmonizes with herself over a fixed beat, this time wondering about who someone else really is when they’re alone.
On ‘Into It’ the final song on the album besides a radio edit of ‘Never Be the Same,’ Cabello’s voice manages to get slightly lost in the techno-lite rhythm, especially during the chorus. In addition, the song sounds similar to Grande’s ‘Into You,’ not only because of the similar titles, but also because of parallels in the meanings behind the lyrics.
With “Camila,” Cabello delivers a largely impressive performance, especially for a debut album, even with its minor flaws and repetition. With the introduction of Cabello with this record, the pop music scene is perhaps best described by the first song on the album’s tracklist; it will never be the same.