Camila Cabello recently released her debut solo album, Camila, but has already been making waves in the music world for a while now. Her hit single “Havana” is played on the radio so often that there is a 75% chance if you turn your radio on right now, you will hear it. Though Cabello may get pigeonholed as a typical Top 40 artist because of this hit, the rest of her album shows surprising range that proves she has the prowess to be a new kind of pop star.
Cabello experiments musically in the album as she finds the right solo sound. It is clear from “Havana” that Cabello is interested in tying in her Cuban roots with her sound, but that Latin feel does not translate into many other tracks. Bright, bouncy and at times sultry sounds act as the background to her more upbeat songs — but these are surprisingly few and far between.
Luckily, Cabello shines the most is not when she deploys catchy rhythms but when she lets her vocals stand out. Stripped-down songs like the ballad “Consequences” and the acoustic-heavy “Real Friends” allow Cabello to showcase the emotion of her vocal delivery. She might not have the strongest voice in the music business, but she brings a unique tone to her songs that make them seem like more than just a recycled Top 40 rhythm. Similar to Selena Gomez’s style, she combines an airy voice with a blasé, sultry swagger.
And it seems that artists like Gomez and Cabello may be ushering in a new form of pop music. Instead of relying on heavily manufactured beats, stripped-down darker tones with a more subtle build are taking over. Gone are the bass drops of the past. If you were to dance to most of the songs on the album, it would be more of, like, a weird swaying instead.
For all of the talent that Cabello brings to her vocals, the lyrics in the album are still made up of the typical cliché pop tropes. She doesn’t explore any real issues besides finding love, losing love and empowering yourself. These aren’t bad things, just unoriginal.
Both vocally and musically, the standout tracks on Cabello’s album are easily “Consequences” and “Real Friends,” but do not discount “In the Dark,” either. It is easy to brush Cabello off as just another manufactured pop star, but these tracks give evidence that she has a lot more talent to offer in the music industry.