Gone are the days when American girl group, Fifth Harmony performed as a quintet. On December 18th 2016, Camila Cabello announced that she was leaving the group to pursue a solo career. Backlash and rumours started to circle Camila for a while but that didn't stop her. On January 12th this year, she dropped her first solo album, named appropriately, "Camila", a collection of songs that speak right from the heart and pay homage to her Cuban roots.
The song most influenced by her Latino upbringing is precisely the lead single for the album, a collaboration with rapper Young Thug, "Havana". An ode to her hometown, the song talks about "falling in love with a bad boy from Havana", as she stated in an interview with Wonderland magazine. The music video for the song portrayed two sides of the singer, "the performer" Camila, the side of her that everybody knows and "the real" Camila, the introverted, shy part of her that not a lot of people know. Produced by Pharrell Williams, “Havana” peaked at no. 2 in the Billboard Hot 100, as of November 6th 2017, making it Camila’s biggest commercial success yet.
“She loves control” and “In the dark” are the most empowering songs on this record. While both have inspirational messages, they are significantly different. “She loves control” is an up-tempo, bold, strutting-down-the-street kind of tune that revolves around having and being in control (“She loves control, she wants it her way/ And there’s no way she’ll ever stay unless you give it up”), while “In the dark” has a softer, non-judgemental vibe to it that sends the message that you don’t have to be afraid of being vulnerable and being true to yourself is the most important thing. (“Who are you when it’s 3am and you’re all alone/ And LA doesn’t feel like home?/ Who are you in the dark?”)
Speaking of vulnerability, Camila Cabello isn’t afraid to pour her heart out on this record and her song “Consequences” is the most personal one on the album, an emotional ballad that reminisces a past relationship that turned out to have a bad effect on Camila. (“Loving you was sunshine, safe and sound/ A steady place to let down my defenses/ But loving you had consequences “) Her soft vocals only enhance the emotional scale of the song and can draw a tear out of everyone’s eyes.
Not a lot of people were confident in Camila’s ability to stay relevant after quitting Fifth Harmony, but with her catchy Latino rhythms, relatable lyrics and her ability to pour her soul into her music, Camila Cabello proved, once and for all that she is here to stay.