On December 2016, Dinah Jane, Ally Brooke, Lauren Jauregui and Normani Kordei, the members of the girl group Fifth Harmony, announced the departure of member Camila Cabello through the group’s social media accounts, while letting their fans know that the group would continue to work as a foursome. Their breakup became one of the shadiest and messiest splits in recent years, perhaps surpassing the comparatively rather calm 2015 One Direction split when member Zayn Malik left the renown boyband.
Since the Fifth Harmony split, Cabello continued to release music as a featured artist for stars like Major Lazer (“Know No Better”) and Cashmere Cat (“Love Incredible”). However, it’s through her solo career as a lead artist where Cabello truly excels. In September 2017, Cabello released “Havana,” a Latin-influenced track where she embraces her Cuban heritage. The single ended up becoming a massive hit for the artist, as well as one of the current most popular songs. She followed this by releasing “Never be the Same” in January 2018, an almost R&B ballad where Cabello sings about an addiction-type love.
The artist’s debut solo album “Camila”, which came out January 12, focuses solely on Cabello’s soprano voice and, besides “Havana” which features rapper Young Thug, none of her songs have or need featured artists. Cabello’s album, with only ten songs, broke records for earning the most iTunes No. 1 spots for a female artist’s debut album, by debuting as No. 1 in more than 100 countries.
The album is mainly a pop record, but contains elements from Latin music and R&B. In the Reggaeton infused “She Loves Control,” Cabello gets intimate and establishes herself as a powerful woman with lyrics such as: “Don’t, don’t you try taming the storm.” Her Latina heritage can also be heard in her tropical and Caribbean-sounding “Inside Out,” where she sings lyrics in Spanish (“de Miami a México, esta cosa se prendió”).
“Camila” also contains acoustic-like tracks “All These Years” and “Real Friends.” The former tells the story of someone running into a former partner, and is accompanied by only a guitar and beautiful melodies. The latter has been followed by rumours that “Real Friends” is about the exit from Fifth Harmony, but Cabello has been quick to shut them down, declaring that she had already moved on when she wrote the track.
Cabello’s ballads have surely stood out on her debut album. In “Consequences,” Cabello exhibits her emotional side, and shows off her powerful vocals while only being accompanied by a piano. “Something’s Gotta Give” showcases strong lyrics such as “Counterfeit emotions only run skin deep” and “I have never heard a silence quite so loud,” as her voice flows smoothly throughout the track.
Cabello’s most pop-like songs are “In the Dark” and “Into It.” “In the Dark” serves as a reminder to always remain true to one’s self. “Into It” recreates an experience of wanting someone intimately (“I see a king-size bed in the corner, we should get into it”). Although both tracks are not necessarily dance tracks, because of their quick rhythm, they work perfectly as the album’s last two songs, and remind the listener of Cabello’s ability to handle different genres.
“Camila” is light, and almost low-key, as Cabello has no problem proving that she has the talent to make it on her own. The singer’s first album is overall a demonstration that Cabello’s decision to go solo has helped her music career become better than ever.