Soda Culture: Camila
By Sean Tran
The week of January 21st, 2018, Camila Cabello’s solo debut album, Camila, topped the Billboard 200 chart with 119,000 units sold, earning the first RIAA certification of the year. The success of the gold-certified album was quickly followed by Cabello’s single, “Havana,” which features Young Thug, reaching #1 atop the Hot 100 after 23 weeks, as well as Cabello herself, emerging simultaneously at #1 on the Artist 100 chart. Since departing from Fifth Harmony back in December 2016, Cabello has never been more uniquely herself as she’s crafted an album tinged with pop perfection, truthful confessions, and a stunningly authentic sound of her own. With all of the Cuban native’s recent successes, this is Camila:
Track 1: "Never Be the Same"
The singer’s second single and Camila’s opening track is a powerful pop-ballad about experiencing all-consuming love. Meticulously crafted, the introduction explodes into what is perhaps the album’s most dynamic chorus, showcasing the pop star’s vocal range in all its true glory.
Track 2: "All These Years"
A candid contrast to the previous track, “All These Years” finds Cabello reflecting on feelings that still remain even after a relationship has ended. In this song, she has never sounded smoother, her unique alto emanating with both passion and warmth.
Track 3: "She Loves Control"
Sultry and bold, Camila’s third track tells a tale about a girl who “lives for the trill” and “lusts for the kill.” The song bounces from beat to beat, echoing with elements of urban Latin pop that is likely to inspire sassy confidence in everyone.
Track 4: "Havana" (feat. Young Thug)
The album's most successful track by far (even former President Barack Obama added it to his list of favorite songs of 2017), “Havana” is a horn-filled pop masterpiece with Cabello showcasing the sounds of her Cuban heritage in the most irresistibly enchanting fashion. Assisted mid-way by a verse from Young Thug, it is the singer’s ad-libs over the final chorus that invite the world to join her in the track’s titular city.
Track 5: "Inside Out"
In three minutes and two seconds of pure fun, Cabello bounces around the track’s tropical beat in a song that might just be impossible not to bop along to. The moments of Spanish featured in the last minute only make “Inside Out” more enjoyable.
Track 6: "Consequences"
Of the entire album, it is “Consequences” that is the most poignant bittersweet moment of storytelling. The slow-burning anthem discusses a past relationship that, despite once being filled with light, has taken its toll on the singer. Emotions simultaneously emerge in vocal beauty as Cabello’s effortless transitions from solemn softness to dynamic heartache elevate the ballad into a memorable high point.
Track 7: "Real Friends"
While noticeably more subtle and soft spoken than most of Camila, “Real Friends” is a melodic confession of that all too recognizable feeling of “feeling so alone in every crowded room.” Regardless of Cabello’s gorgeous vocals, the sadness in this song is impossible to miss as you replay the track over and over again.
Track 8: "Something's Gotta Give"
Another heartbreak ballad, “Something’s Gotta Gives” manages to distinguish itself from the pack with Cabello baring her soul in every lyric from beginning to end. Her realization that “No reason to stay/Is a good reason to go” will stick with the listener, even long after the song has ended.
Track 9: "In the Dark"
Who hasn’t wondered what their loved one is like when they’re alone? Camila’s seventh track tackles this question head-on, taking things nice and easy before inquiries erupt into a symphony of honest longing. People may not be the same person to everyone--Cabello shows she fully realizes this.
Track 10: "Into It"
Camila’s last track before the radio edit of “Never Be the Same,” “Into It,” is a sultry R&B slow-jam that finds Cabello repeatedly playing with the song’s title in a manner that becomes increasingly fun after each new line. Although the track may be radio-ready, the pop star’s vocals imbue it with a flavor that is recognizably all her own.
Track 11: "Never Be The Same (Radio Edit"
Album Rating: ★★★★☆
Camila is now available across all music/streaming platforms and in stores everywhere!