After a massive year in 2017 for pop artist Camila Cabello in which she departed Fifth Harmony, her long awaited debut album finally dropped and fans have gone crazy for it. The 11 track album entitled simply “Camila” is breaking records quickly rising to the #1 spot in over 100 countries in just the first 24 hours of it’s release. What does that mean? Well it means that Cabello broke the record for earning the most number 1 positions on ITunes as a female artist. As Shawn Mendes once said about Cabello to Billboard, “It would take a big force to stop her from taking over the world.” And, thankfully, that force is yet to find her.
To add to her record breaking success, just days ago Cabello’s hit single “Havana” broke Taylor Swift’s previously held record for the longest running Billboard Pop Songs Radio Airplay No. 1 song by a solo female artist, marking its seventh week atop the chart. It was definitely evident that Cabello was a massive part of Fifth Harmony, and even though her departure was made to look quite bitter, her fans have stuck by her. Earlier in the week she told the New York Times her separation from Fifth Harmony was a difficult choice and claimed she was hurt by her former bandmates’ actions during a live performance at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. Right before they performed their song “Down,” the girl group appeared as five shadowy figures on the stage before one member (seeming to represent Cabello) was pulled off from stage from behind. “It definitely hurt my feelings,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it, I wasn’t prepared for it.”
“Camila” is a long awaited debut that’s more then just a record it’s a personal statement infused with rhythms of her Cuban-Mexican heritage. With a list of hit makers helping her progression on this album including Skrillex and Dukes and featuring a limited list of guest appearances, “Camila” was more about focusing on her voice then eschewing celebrity guests. The very first single released was back in May 19th, 2017 entitled “Crying In The Club” which was written by Cabello, Sia Furler and Benny Blanco and although it charted within the top 20 it was scrapped from the album. The official first single “Havana” was released on October 30th, 2017 and featured rap artist Young Thug it peaked at number one in several countries, and number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, where it became her second top five hit as a solo artist and third overall.
Critics have taken well to the album voting it potentially one of the best albums of 2018, making it a success story with substance about an album that has managed to exceed all expectations. Metacritic rated the album a massive 75 out of 100, with one of the reviewers Kate Soloman from Metro UK stated the singer had “shaken off the bombastic R&B favoured by the 5H crew in favour of a short, sweet album of fairly understated Latin pop and classic pop ballads.” Streaming away from the usual pop sound and going a more Latin avenue was a massive risk for Cabello, but does prove she’s quite confident in the sound she has delivered.
Not only has this album been praised by fans and critics but producers who worked with her including Andrew “Pop” Wansel and Frank Dukes who when interviewed by Billboard spoke about just how professional Cabello was saying “I never underestimated her talent, but I was not expecting her to have such a powerful vision,” Wansel said with Dukes adding “It’s a real collaboration… sometimes it’s like a band just jamming.”
For myself this debut effort was a great solo attempt to burst into the charts, whilst I think she should of stuck with her pop roots I do give her credit for the major risk she took going down a more challenging path. Her voice is still as amazing as ever, but I feel the producers did over use digitizing her vocals when it certainly wasn’t needed. Although the album does lack production variation and artist features, Cabello still manages to hold her own and deliver a substantial effort. Cabello’s achievements are an incredible so far for a young solo artist, but they’re especially inspiring when you consider the risk she took when she departed from Fifth Harmony at the height of their popularity. Her success acts as a reminder to all of us that sometimes taking risks in order to follow your instincts can really pay off.
Rating: 3.5 / 5