This time last year, fans of Camila Cabello were reeling over her departure from Fifth Harmony only one month prior. But with her breakthrough solo single ‘Havana’ topping every music chart in existence and her self-titled debut album hitting #1 in 100 countries within the first week of its debut, there’s no doubt that she’s indeed Miss Moving On.
Initially titled The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving., the ‘Havana’ songstress made the decision to rename the album to Camila. “I decided to call it by my name, because this is where this chapter in my life ended. It started with somebody else’s story, it ended with me finding my way back to myself,” she wrote. And it’s with this immense sense of self-empowerment that she goes about belting out her new songs, leaving thrilled and thoroughly obsessed with every track.
1. ‘Never Be the Same’
Camila kicks off her record with the slow but electrifying ballad ‘Never Be the Same’, giving listeners a taste of her distinct voice as a R&B goddess — a far cry from her Fifth Harmony days. She considers this the best song she’s written so far and fans went wild when she uploaded a nostalgic music video as a “New Year’s Eve gift”. One thing’s for sure, after jamming to this hit, we know we’ll ‘Never Be The Same’.
What Camila says: ‘Never Be The Same’ was about a boy that I was with for like three months, not even, it was like two months and I’m just like, ‘you’re the one…it’s you!’”
2. ‘All These Years’
Featuring dreamy acoustics and soothing vocals, ‘All These Years’ is Camila’s favourite tune in the album. The singer has admitted that she was nervous to share this track because “it’s really personal” but released it anyway, and fans are hanging on to every word she croons in this bittersweet ballad. “And it was just a quick hello, and you had to go / And you probably will never know, you’re still the one I’m after all these years,” she sings on the chance encounter with her former flame.
What Camila says:
3. ‘She Loves Control’
The perfect fusion of R&B and good ol’ pop, ‘She Loves Control’ is an empowering number featuring electronic dance music producer, Skrillex. Camila admits to being a control freak over creative issues and wants girls to feel empowered when they sing along to the groovy track. “I just love the idea of girls singing the lyrics like that. I feel like it’s a bold statement to make and it’s good way to live your life, to have control of how you do it, how you live it.” In an attempt to regain control of her own life, Camila renamed her album – stripping power from anyone in her way and taking full ownership of her artistic vision.
What Camila says: “I don’t want to give that power over somebody else; that the whole first album revolves around them and this bad situation. It’s giving that too much power. [Changing the title] was me taking power over the title and control over what the album was about and me just taking power over my own life.”
A nod to her Cuban heritage, ‘Havana’ incorporates elements of Latin and reggae music to appeal to the listeners. We’re all familiar with this inescapable track and even the former US President Obama is impressed – naming ‘Havana’ as one of his favourite songs of 2017. It’s been a good five months since ‘Havana’ took over the airwaves, but we just can’t help but go “Havana oh na na” every single time.
What Camila says:
5. ‘Inside Out’
The cheery reggaeton tune has got us vibing and bopping along to ‘Inside Out’. An ode to her hometowns, Camila sassily sings “de Miami a México, esta cosa se prendió (from Miami to Mexico, this thing caught on)”, highlighting her Mexican roots while reminiscing her childhood in Florida.
What Camila says: (On leaving Cuba and making the move to Miami) “Why were we packing up our stuff? Why was my grandma hugging me tighter than usual? Where were we going? ‘We’re going to Disney World!’ That’s what my mom told me when we were crossing the border. She packed a little backpack with my Winnie the Pooh journal and my doll, and we crossed the border from Mexico to the US, seeing my Dad become an ant in the distance as he stayed behind.”
Camila bravely showcases her fragility in ‘Consequences’, a profoundly personal tune on heartbreak and sorrow. Unlike her display of boldness in previous tracks like ‘Havana’, the singer opens up to fans about mistrust and the effect a broken relationship had on her, even admitting that she “lost a little weight because (she) wasn’t eating”. She shares the ups and downs of her past romance as her tear-jerking anthem takes a turn from the optimistic “young, and wild, and free” and “cool, and hot, and sweet”, to a bleak “dumb, dark, and cheap” – taking us on a rollercoaster of emotions.
What Camila says: (On her negative thoughts) “I would wake up with a super-accelerated heartbeat and really negative, intrusive, compulsive thoughts. I was so inside my head, and I didn’t know what was happening. I totally understand now, being in it, why there shouldn’t be such a stigma on mental illness, because it’s a pretty common thing for people. But you can get help. If you’re dedicated to making it better, you can — because I’m in a much better place now. I started reading books about it and it really helped a lot when I understood, and that [the thoughts I was having] weren’t real. Sometimes you have to remind yourself to slow down and take care of yourself.”
7. ‘Real Friends’
‘Real Friends’ is an introspective track on Camila’s life as she relates her struggles in finding genuine friends. In this acoustic ballad, Camila tells all about the superficial nature of the industry. While many believe that she could be referring to Fifth Harmony, she was quick to dismiss those rumours, clarifying that the song is about “feeling lonely and disillusioned by people in LA while [she] was away from home”.
What Camila says: (On fake friends) “So many people have disappointed me. And there’s also been so many people – not so many, but a few people who make everything worth it, stick through it, and they show loyalty.”
8. ‘Something’s Gotta Give’
Originally titled ‘A Good Reason To Go’, the former Fifth Harmony member pours her heart out on her reasons for leaving the fivesome in this heartfelt number. Upon the release of her debut album, she explained that expressing her desire to do more solo projects and write songs for the group sparked tensions and how she eventually decided to make the painful decision to call it quits.
What Camila says: “I feel like that could’ve been the last song on The Hurting, The Healing, The Loving if that makes sense. ‘Cause that’s the one song that perfectly sums up what the old theme would’ve been like. It was about this toxic thing that was going on and me deciding ‘this is not good for me’. Getting to a point of desperation like, ‘something has to change because I can’t really take this anymore.’ This song is the perfect piece of that era, which is why I thought it was important to have it.”
9. ‘In The Dark’
As opposed to ‘Real Friends’ where Camila expresses her desire for true friendships, she’s encouraging her muse (and fans) to be true to themselves. She asks: “Who are you in the dark? / Who are you when it’s 3am and you’re all alone and L.A. doesn’t feel like home?”, coaxing him to “show [her] the scary parts” in her smooth R&B track ‘In the Dark’.
What Camila says: “I wrote ‘In The Dark’ after a Grammy party last year, so basically the song was kinda like me making an observation on the outside looking in about somebody that I met. It was like a famous guy and I was just noticing how a lot of the time it’s this facade. People that are celebrities, they kinda can’t turn it off, like it’s always a performance, it’s this mirage. I don’t really wanna fall in love with a name or just because you’re famous. I wanna get to know the real person, the human stuff, the twisted stuff… that’s what makes people interesting. I was just like perfection is boring, so that’s basically what that song is about, me wanting to know the real person, not the famous person.”
10. ‘Into It’
Deemed the “real gem” of the record by critics, this addictive banger presents the playful side of Camila as she sings “Whatever trouble that you’re thinking, I could get into it”. Needless to say, we’re really ‘Into It’. The euphoric tune is sure to get everyone dancing along to the beat — we couldn’t think of a better way to end off an epic album.
What Camila says: “This track was something I [spent] forever working on. I just tried every single possibility. [The album] ends with this new chapter, ’cause once you’re done with all the stuff you’re bummed out about, you have all this room to feel the more fun stuff.”
Camila is now available for purchase and streaming.
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