Like the title of Fifth Harmony’s 2013 debut single, Camila Cabello is “Miss Movin’ On.” Just shy of 13 months after her stormy departure from the X Factor-formed girl group, the 20-year-old yearns “for some real friends” on her vibrant solo debut, the eponymous Camila (out Friday, January 12).
The 10-track album gets off to a bit of a slow start with the midtempos “Never Be the Same” and “All These Years.” The songs are breezy and dreamlike — and important pieces of the full puzzle — but risky choices to open a pop album, nonetheless a debut.
It isn’t until the third track, “She Loves Control,” that Cabello truly finds her own. The upbeat song has a hint of Latin flair, which the Cuban-born singer further builds upon on “Havana,” the Young Thug-featured smash single that has been stuck in everyone’s heads since it first dropped last summer. “Inside Out” follows suit with a euphoric, thumping beat and tropical house undertones, plus a few clever rhymes (“Grew up in south, south Miami / That’s where I was when you found me”).
The party comes to an end on the disc’s second half, which is primarily made up of gut-wrenching ballads. On the piano-driven “Consequences,” Cabello tries to cope with a breakup, singing about “dirty tissues, trust issues.” On “Something’s Gotta Give,” she tenderly details the final moments of a relationship and decides there’s “no reason to stay.”
Camila ends on a high note, though. “Into It,” the biggest standout aside from “Havana,” is nothing short of a radio-friendly pop banger with sharp production. Over an electronic bassline, the sultry lyrics find Cabello teasing a love interest: “I see a king-size bed in the corner / We should get into it / All of the things I wanna do to you is infinite.” It’s almost frustrating that this is the final track because it leaves the listener wanting more. Regardless, we’re definitely into it.
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3.5 stars (out of 4)
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