In 2017, Camila Cabello certainly justified her risky decision to split off from her girl group Fifth Harmony. She showed off her appealing voice on hits with MGK and Major Lazer, then dropped two of the summer’s breeziest jams. “OMG” with Quavo was nice, but it justifiably took a backseat to the marvelous piano-and-horn-driven “Havana,” which is pretty much as catchy and addictive as an arrangement of music can possibly be.
So does her debut solo album mark the arrival of a vital new pop star? Not quite, but it’s a start. It’s a shame that only a couple of the new songs contain the tasteful Latin flavor that made “Havana” so special. Those would be the ones placed right before “Havana” (the dancehall-ish “She Loves Control”) and right after “Havana” (the Caribbean-tinged “Inside Out”).
Elsewhere, Cabello spills her personal thoughts over mellow ballads that sound heartfelt but drag the album into musical mediocrity. The opener “Never Be the Same” is a decent enough club song; however, it could be mistaken for any generic single off a Halsey or Demi Lovato release.
Overall, Camila is a solid pop album from a promising young star. Let’s just hope that the Cuban-born singer keeps working on making music that sounds unique to her and not everyone else. Until then, take me back to my “Havana.”