Camila Cabello has been known to include touches of Latin pop flare in all of her previous musical endeavors. Particularly when she became a solo artist and bursts back onto the scene with “Havana” and other beginning tracks, the singer let her audience know that she stood proud in her Cuban-Mexican heritage.
However, Cabello entered an almost two-year hiatus after her album “Romance” released in 2019. She has now returned with a distinct list of tracks. While Latin pop was not exactly a prominent theme on Cabello’s previous albums, “Familia” packs a punch with Cabello’s musical heritage displayed unabashedly several times across the tracks.
The album kicks up with an illustrious trumpet solo, less than thirty seconds in length, before progressing into the album. This track lays the seeds for the expectation of the entire album, running into a vivacious track list of Latin-infused songs.
“Bam Bam” gives tropical vibes with the combination of light drums, trumpets and the strumming of some strings. A collaboration with Ed Sheeran, the song provides a lilting beat with a catchy tune. Even though the lyrics tell the story of a breakup, the listener nearly forgets this fact against the upbeat backdrop.
“La Buena Vida” has an almost mariachi backdrop. Guitars, trumpets,,and drums are the key instruments behind Cabello’s voice. The song also includes backing vocals, one of which is Cabello’s own father. This intertwines with the theme of the album’s title, even though most of the relationships showcased or alluded to across the album are romantic and not familial.
In “Psychofreak,” Cabello collaborates with Willow Smith and takes vocal inspiration from Doja Cat and artists of her genre. The rhymes of the song group by stanza instead of every other, making it a distinctly different and more ear-catching rhyme scheme.
The most recognizable track of the album, “Don’t Go Yet,” was released as a single almost a year ago and burst onto the mainstream musical scene. The song finally joins an album with the release of “Familia,” and it holds up the strength of the personality throughout the album, packed with aural color and a full orchestra’s worth of background instruments.
In the past, Cabello’s album credits included a slew of popular pop producers. This time around, she settled in with a smaller concentrated group that included many Latin-pop producers and veterans. The list included names such as Cheche Alara and Edgar Barrera, both well-established artists in the genre. If Cabello continues to dive deep into her own musical heritage, there is high chance that she will go down in history as one of the veterans of Latin-pop music, joining such figures as Alara and Barrera.
Cabello did not only seek to include Latin sounds on her new album, but Latin stories as well. “Celia,” distinctly flavored with Latin-pop feel, is entirely in Spanish and tells the story of a woman who is compelled to take up salsa dancing because of her fascination with her culture.
The song “Lola” is the story of a girl of the same name, growing up in Cuba and is unable to chase her dreams because of her situation. Taking inspiration heavily from her life and real-world events, a guest verse by rapper Yotuel in the song includes the phrase “Patria o muerte.” The translated phrase means “homeland or death,” which flips the phrase used in Yotuel’s own song and in anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, the phrase being “patria y vida,” or “homeland and life.”