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.
3.5 stars (out of 4)
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