Camila Cabello’s “Camila” album is good but could have been more

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We are all responsible for the decisions we make everyday. Sometimes they turn out to be good especially if we took very calculated steps beforehand. But largely, the results are usually not ours to dictate. For this reason, keeping an open mind is very essential to living with our decisions whether they are good or bad. When Camila Cabello made the decision to leave girl group Fifth Harmony, she sent out a mixed message of fear and high hopes. She had performed excellently as a member of that group and even showed promise as a solo artist with the release of the collaborations “I Know What You Did Last Summer” with Shawn Mendes, and “Bad Things” with Machine Gun Kelly, the latter reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 U.S chart. But then the question was, could that be the right time to go solo? In December 2016, she went solo anyway? That was the beginning of many exciting things to come. It was the time for her to fully unveil who she is, and in 2018, she birthed her self-titled album “Camila”. That body of work is both emotional, pure and raw in their realest senses, and it showed how much of a true artist Camila Cabello is. Camila tells the story of love in a way that is very particular, talking about things like friendship, lust, regrets, control and change. It goes beyond the usual way. With the piano, guitar, strings and a soothing voice, Camila Cabello conveyed her messages in a serenading manner.

IT’S EMOTIONAL AND RAW, AND THOSE ARE THE MARKS OF A TRUE ARTIST

Listening through, you could feel the purity and rawness of the artist. She showed herself to be true which enabled her to pour out her heart and spirit conveying a rare emotional feeling of love and life, carrying her listeners through the different stages in a seamless manner. In the track “In The Dark” for example, after painting a scary picture with Vampires and shadows, she switches immediately with a high pitch tone to point out the obvious state of fear that envelops a person after hearing or probably seeing a scary situation, and then switches back to a more relaxed tone with the question ‘who are you in the dark?’, ‘who are you when it’s 3 AM and you’re all alone?’ as if to say ‘Hey I know you’re scared but you can let me in, you can show how scared you are and everything will be okay’. It can be likened to an actor who wants to convey the feeling of transitioning from being a drug addict to being sober, or from being heartbroken to finding true love and happiness again. There is an emotional shift needed to achieve that. It usually requires a lot of convincing, most times even going beyond just body language and choice of words. It is a feeling, a real feeling elicited through real actions and ingenuity. That is clearly seen in this body of work. Camila Cabello showed the real marks of a true artist. The only problem here is that the songs of these album were patterned the same way. They are flat, soft and lack strong flavor. They follow the same progressive pattern of soft beats accompanied with sweet melody. They are not evasive. Bland would have been a better word to describe them but that would be too harsh. Simply put, there are no surprises except of course for “Havana” which has Young Thug in it. Now those are not bad in themselves, maybe the decision to have them produced this way is even intentional. But when all the songs of an album tilt in the same direction and sound alike, at some point they may become boring to listen to. That body of work should have included a little experiment with one or two other sounds. That would have been the ‘icing on the cake’ for it. A good example would be “Know No Better (feat. Travis Scott, Camila Cabello & Quavo)” by Major Lazer, Travis Scott and Quavo, which she featured in and which is set in Electronic Dance Music (EDM), or maybe “Beautiful” by Bazzi which also has her on. These songs even though are themed around love, have a different sound and pattern, and make for a great listen. They offer you serendipity and that could have come off as a bit of fresh air.

THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN GOOD AND GREAT MAY BE LITTLE BUT EXTREMELY IMPORTANT

A lot of critics have attributed this to the fact that the album was originally made for the Latin American market before its spread to the global market. They even say the fact that it spread to the global market even though it was made for a smaller market like Latin America shows just how great it is. That is true though, but only to an extent. Indeed, only good contents have the power to achieve that, to leave the shores of their primary market and dare to thrive in a bigger one. But at the same time, the fact that it has dared to achieve that means that it is no longer going to be measured with scales of the Latin American market alone, but with that of the bigger market – the global market, and when that is done, these little lapses though very insignificant, become evident. Even though they’re too little and can’t even attempt to render it a flop, they fail to make it great either. They simply hold off the possibilities of it becoming great. Camila Cabello made a good attempt with this body of work. Her doggedness and will spirit can clearly be seen, but is her decision to go solo and birth an album the following year a good one? That is yet to be seen. What is clear at this point is that she took a very bold step, and at the moment she’s doing just fine. Her debut album “Camila” is good, but it could have been more if she gave more attention to the possibilities of reaching more people with her music, maybe that would have made her add that extra but very important flavor that this body of work lacks.

To read more of Tim Uwakwe’s articles for VIBBIDI, go here.

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