Recordings | March 2018

By Julio C. Reyna, March 2018 Web Exclusive.

Artist: Camila Cabello

Album: Camila

Label: Epic

Coming from a public falling out with Fifth Harmony, two failed singles and a string of delays, it is no surprise that the original working title for this album was The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving. But the release of “Havana” late last summer – and the mass success it achieved – helped ultimately steered the visual and sonic direction of Camila Cabello’s self titled debut.

The second single, “Never Be The Same,” starts the album off. The track, touted to be much more grand than the peaks it actually reaches, finds itself somewhere between the all too common mumbling and whisper vocals and the notes that are just not possible for Cabello to hit. It is one of the rare moments on the album in which she strays from the latin-lite trappings that dominate the tracklist. The guitar lead “All These Years” makes no attempt to conceal that it’s equal parts Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.”

The moments that stand out, and by that I mean work for her, are when she almost lets her personality and some sass come through. “She Loves Control” is a caution to any potential suitors about a woman who does not need anyone, but also knows the trail of heartbreak she’s left behind. “Real Friends” could have easily gone the route of a petty take down, but is instead a self-aware nod to the situation she faced with her previous bandmates.

The album is mostly just here in the sense that it is so carefully executed that no room for mistake was given. It plays out as a passable first effort, but one that is almost completely void of an actual personality. Still, what she lacks in vocal ability she quickly makes up for with her ability to perfectly fill each song with emotion.

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