Camila Cabello
Camila


3.0
good

Review

by mattdwyer16 USER (8 Reviews)
March 12th, 2021 | 4 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Camila Still Harmonizing on her Solo Debut

Camila Cabello’s debut album cemented her place in the pop stratosphere, but will it launch a career? The former Fifth Harmony member had always been the star of the five-set girl group. She collaborated with Shawn Mendes and others on her own before leaving 5H fully.

Before Camila's premature departure, Taylor Swift made a famously successful pop crossover. It’s no surprise Camila and Taylor have become friends, Camila a peripheral member of Swift’s “girl squad.” Camila’s debut effort employs Swift's style of confessional pop. On “Consequences,” Cabello sings forlornly about the fallout of an expired relationship. But the song failed to name any of those consequences. Even Swift's pop music would have given us more emotional depth.

Lack of detail is excused on pop records, but "Consequences" still didn't land emotionally. When the "consequences" aren't named, even vaguely, listeners can't invest emotionally in a song. They'll hear it on the radio once and forget it. Camila has strong vocals, but a song still needs to have emotional matter for those vocals to convey. However, on “Into It” and “Real Friends” Cabello ensured the album's success with strong production to propel the melody and clever lyrics. (“What ever you want to do I'm into it/king size bed let’s get into it.") The record manages to rise above her work with 5H in terms of emotional complexity, but it isn’t exactly a reinvention.

Many pop stars who emerge from a boy or girl group chrysalis often showcase a new side of themselves, as if a fully-formed artist had been hiding behind Simon Cowell's industry machinations all along. But Camilla doesn't achieve that. Although it includes more introspection and musical diversity than 5H albums, it doesn't stand out beyond its latin-infusion and acoustic ballads. Camila's producers just laid guitars over a Fifth Harmony slow song that, if the girl group had recorded it, would have had over synth.* Although it may sound intimate, Camila does not prove she is the singer-songwriter she wants to be on this album.

Maybe we should give Camila some time. She’s friends with Taylor Swift after all. Maybe Camila will pick up singer songwriter sensibilities from her queen-of-the-world friend. On a solo debut, people will buy into a promise of emotional depth. You can market yourself as a singer-songwriter, and that will be enough if the songs are radio-ready. (Camila's certainly were.) But on a second album, artists need evolution beyond sonic experimentation to maintain a connection with their audience. Let's hope Camila can achieve that. She may have named her first album after herself, but we are still waiting to find out who she really is.



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user ratings (124)
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
Camila may not be the most artistically fulfilling work, but it has a relaxing familiarity and sense...

Peter Meister (4)
Liberation has never felt so good....

DommeDamianII (2)
The star of Fifth Harmony debuts with an LP that surpasses the group's discography, yet jumps into a...



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