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Camila is Camila Cabello's debut studio album which was released on January 12, 2018 by Epic Records & Syco.

The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and has received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Never Be The Same 3:46
  2. All These Years 2:44
  3. She Loves Control 2:57
  4. Havana 3:37
  5. Inside Out 3:02
  6. Consequences 2:58
  7. Real Friends 3:34
  8. Something’s Gotta Give 3:56
  9. In The Dark 3:39
  10. Into It 2:55
  11. Never Be The Same (Radio Edit) 3:47

Album BackgroundEdit

Camila Cabello first rose to fame as a member of girl group Fifth Harmony, formed during the second season of The X Factor in 2012.

The group came in third place in the competition, and subsequently signed a recording contract with Syco Music and Epic Records. They rose to prominence with their 2015 breakthrough single "Worth It" and achieved further success with the 2016 US top-ten single "Work from Home."

Fifth Harmony released two studio albums with Cabello in the group, both of which earned gold certifications in the United States.

She appeared as a lead artist with Canadian singer Shawn Mendes on his 2015, single "I Know What You Did Last Summer" which served as her first release outside of the group.

Cabello next collaborated with Machine Gun Kelly on his 2016 song "Bad Things",which went on to become her first top-ten single as a solo artist.

Her solo work led to months of media speculation that she would be leaving Fifth Harmony to focus on a solo music career.

In December of 2016, it was officially confirmed that Cabello had parted ways with Fifth Harmony.

During an interview with Latina magazine, she commented about her choice and future plans, stating: "I needed to follow my heart and my artistic vision. I'm grateful for everything we had in Fifth Harmony and for [this new] opportunity, I am less focused on success and more on doing my best and pursuing my artistic vision to the fullest, wherever that takes me."

Cabello's departure from Fifth Harmony was likened to Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake, both of whom rose to fame as part of a group before earning highly successful solo careers.

During the recording of the album, Cabello was featured in several collaborations. She was featured on the Cashmere Cat single "Love Incredible" as well as the Spanglish song, "Hey Ma"; the latter was featured on the soundtrack to 2017 film, "The Fate of the Furious."

She further collaborated with Major Lazer, Travis Scott, and Quavo on the song "Know No Better." The song was a hit in several European territories, most notably the United Kingdom and France.

Cabello served as the opening act for Bruno Mars on his 24K Magic World Tour on select dates, performing several songs from her then-unfinished debut effort.

Recording\DevelopmentEdit

Work on Cabello's debut album officially began in January of 2017.

Initial recording sessions saw her working with a number of well known producers and writers, including Diplo and Pharrell Williams. While none of her collaborations with the former were featured on the album (the latter is credited as a writer for "Havana").

She further collaborated with Andrew "Pop" Wansel on unreleased songs; Wansel said of Cabello: "I never underestimated her talent, but I was not expecting her to have such a powerful vision."

Cabello wanted the album to tell "the story of my journey from darkness into light, from a time when I was lost to a time when I found myself again."

The songs on the album were originally meant to lyrically deal with the emotions of hurting, healing, and loving.

Cabello recorded the song "Crying in the Club" for the album, written by Sia Furler. She wrote additional lyrics for the song, which lyrically deals with the topic of "healing through the power of music." It was produced by Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat, and Happy Perez.

She worked with writer and producer Jesse Shatkin on the song "I Have Questions".

British singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran wrote a demo for a song titled "The Boy" and sent it to Cabello, with Sheeran stating that Cabello changed "90%" of the song's lyrics to her liking. He likened the song to Beyonce's 2003 song "Crazy in Love", describing it as "funk-influenced".

Cabello also worked on multiple songs with Ryan Tedder. Tedder praised her songwriting abilities, claiming to be "blown away" by the songs. He told ABC News, "The stuff that we've done and that I've heard, they're gonna get stuff that is very, very contemporary and cutting edge but it feels like her. It's got that kind of Cuban spirit to it."

The song "Into It" (co-written by Tedder) is the only song from the pair to make the albums track list. Cabello additionally confirmed a song titled "Sangria Wine".

Production duo Stargate produced "OMG", a hip-hop-influenced song that features rapper Quavo. The song was co-written by Cabello, Quavo, Stargate, Noonie Bao, Alexandra Yatchenko, and pop singer Charli XCX.

The latter went on to praise Camila's writing as well, commenting, "Such an incredible writer, she just came with everything, I was like 'Why am I here?' She is crushing it, she was so next level, like I am so honoured to work with her. I was so stoked."

Bao and Yatchenko additionally co-wrote the song "Never Be the Same" for Camila.

Prior to the release of "Crying in the Club", rumors began to circulate of a song titled "A Good Reason to Go" that was set to be released as her lead single.

There was speculation that the song would be about her departure from Fifth Harmony, though these rumors were halted when Cabello announced her official first single.

The song appears on the album under the title "Something's Gotta Give." That May, Cabello confirmed another song titled "It's Only Natural" for the album.

While on the 24K Magic World Tour, Cabello premiered the then-unreleased songs "Havana", "OMG", "Inside Out", and "Never Be the Same" on the tour. She confirmed the songs would be featured on her debut album. She later announced that the songs "Scar Tissue" and "In the Dark" would be featured on the album.

Following the surprise commercial success of "Havana", Cabello confirmed that she had chosen to push back the album's release date to record further material. She later confirmed that a lot of the material previously recorded for the project had been scrapped from the final product.

She recorded more songs with the album's executive producer Frank Dukes that were influenced by Latin music and contemporary reggaeton, inspired by acts such as Calle 13 and J Balvin.

As a result, the album's original concept of hurting, healing, and loving was scrapped in favor of the newly recorded material.

Cabello later told MTV: "You know, you only have one chance to make a debut album and at this point I have so many songs I'm passionate about. You know those albums where they are clearly songs that aren't as good as the singles. I want every song to be single-worthy."

Cabello worked with Dukes' management company Electric Feel, with Dukes executively producing the album. Work on the album was completed in November of 2017.

CompositionEdit

"Camila" is primarily a pop record, with elements of Latin, reggaeton, dancehall and hip hop music.

AllMusic said that the album is a "warmly produced set of romantic pop" with "several rhythmically infectious Latin-influenced tracks informed by her Cuban heritage."

"Never Be the Same" was described by Billboard as a dark pop ballad. A NME writer described it as "bombastic" electro. Lyrically, it incorporates themes of a pain-is-pleasure type of love. In one part of the song Cabello reaches to a high G5 falsetto in the pre-chorus.

"All These Years" is a "R&B-tinged" song. Lyrically, it is about an encounter with her ex.

"She Loves Control" is a "electronica-tinged, dancehall-ready" track, including a Spanish guitar and a thumping bassline.

"Havana" is a mid-tempo track, containing a mix of "Latin fusion" and pop; it is the only song on the album that features another artist, with a guest appearance by Young Thug.

Rolling Stone's Brittany Spanos said it is "clubby, smooth" track, where Cabello sings about falling in love with "a mysterious suitor from East Atlanta", though she has left her heart in her hometown.

"Inside Out" is a "reggaeton tune that features a bouncy and danceable melody." It features buoyantly percussive, steel drums.

"Consequences" is a piano-led ballad. Lyrically, it's about the impact of a partner that was in her life. It was the album's third and final single that was released on October 9, 2018.

"Real Friends" is a pop ballad that features an acoustic guitar and handclap as percussion. Lyrically, she talks about being surrounded by negative things and people, while asking for an honest friendship.

Sam Lansky of Time cited the song and the "heartfelt" track "Consequences" as "pretty" ballads which showcased Cabello's voice.

The song "Something's Gotta Give" is a ballad, that features a "piano introduction into this heartfelt number with ethereal backing vocals" according to The Sun.

"In the Dark" is a trap-pop song. The Sun called it a "smooth R&B tune." Lyrically, it is about an unnamed famous boy that Camila met at an after-party.

"Into It" is a R&B song with a fast tempo. The Sun called it "The sexiest tune with sharp and catchy production" and AllMusic called the track "contagious".

Album Artwork\ReleaseEdit

Having signed with Epic Records and Syco Music as a member of Fifth Harmony, it was announced merely days after her departure from the group that Cabello had re-signed with both parties to release her solo work.

In May of 2017, Cabello announced the album's title as "The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving." which was originally slated for release that September.

She described the project as "the story of my journey from darkness into light, from a time when I was lost to a time when I found myself again."

She wrote, "It was a kind of chapter you never want to read out loud" and explained the "whole album-making process" helped her deal with her emotions.

When Cabello announced she had pushed back the album's release date to record new material, it was rumored that the album's title would be changed as well. She confirmed in November that the original name and concept of the album had been scrapped, and that the project would be released "early next year."

Cabello announced on December 5 that the project would be titled "Camila", and was set to be released on January 12, 2018.

The album became available for pre-order through digital music providers on December 7, 2017.

Cabello revealed the album artwork on her personal Instagram account, and explained the name change stating: "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."

The cover for the project sees Camila sitting in a dress and flip flops, with the album's title in bold letters in the center of the cover. Billboard described the album's cover art as "gorgeous." The album's cover art and booklet were shot at Little Havana in Miami, Florida.

Retail chain Target sold a deluxe edition of the album, featuring a remix of "Havana" that included Daddy Yankee. The album was also released in a limited Japanese edition, featuring the aforementioned remix and the song "I Have Questions", released alongside "Crying in the Club" in May.

The album's booklet contains several shots similar to the cover, as well as pictures of Cabello recording the album and childhood photos. The album's artwork was shot by Amber Park.

It additionally features a message to Cabello's fans, stating: "This album saw me enter the room shattered, and nervous, and insecure, and it's seen me come to life, bright-eyed, and ready for anything. So, in other words..... you have my heart in your hands."

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Camila" debuted at #2 on the UK Albums Chart (behind "The Greatest Showman" soundtrack) with first week sales of 21,561 units. Cabello previously reached the #6 position with her former girl group Fifth Harmony. In its second week, the album fell to number 6 in the United Kingdom.

In the United States, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 earning 119,000 album-equivalent units, with 65,000 coming from pure album sales.

She became the youngest artist to top the chart with a debut set since Shawn Mendes's 2015 debut album, "Handwritten."

Cabello was the first female artist to debut with a full-length album in three years since Meghan Trainor's album "Title" and the first female artist to have her debut album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 since Ariana Grande's debut album, "Yours Truly."

She also joined a list of female artists who have achieved a number-one solo album after reaching the chart with groups, alongside: Gwen Stefani (No Doubt), Beyoncé and LeToya (Destiny's Child), Lauryn Hill (Fugees), Patti LaBelle (Labelle), Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), Diana Ross (The Supremes) and Janis Joplin (Big Brother and the Holding Company).

Cabello topped the Billboard 200, Hot 100 (with "Havana"), and the Artist 100 charts in the same week, being the first female artist to do so since Adele in 2015 and the first overall since Kendrick Lamar in May 2017.

During its second week, the album dropped from 1 to 4 with 43,000 units sold;[158] and in the third week, to number 7 with 37,000 units.

As of December 2018, "Camila" has sold over 955,000 album-equivalent units in the US, with over 162,000 being pure sales.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Camila" received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, the album has an average score of 78 based on 12 reviews.

Several British publications that reviewed the album a few days before its official release, responded positively to the album as well as Cabello's vocals and songwriting.

Kate Solomon from Metro UK perceived Cabello's "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."

The Times' Will Hodgkinson also pointed out that instead of filled with "high-octave pop bangers", Cabello has gone the other way, using sparse production techniques to frame songs about love and longing.

Nick Levine of the NME deemed the album a "strong and surprisingly confident first impression."

For The Guardian's editor Alexis Petridis, "Camila" is one of those moments where "the committee approach strikes gold: smart enough to avoid smoothing out the quirks and slavishly chasing trends," he also considered it as a "a product of the pop factory that doesn't sound run-of-the-mill."

Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly was as positive as Levine and Petridis, giving the album a B+ she felt it as a "intimate project" where Cabello's voice shines over Latin-influenced songs and powerful ballads.

She further commented: "Cabello's voice isn't especially distinctive, but it's instinctually pretty: effortless and warm, with an edge of morning-after rasp."

Patrick Ryan of USA Today complimented the music which the album was built on, labeling it a "vibrant blend of sounds and styles, bolstered by a reliable stable of hit songwriters and producers." Although he also felt that Cabello's over-reliance on AutoTune is "unnecessary" given the strength of her TV and acoustic performances.

Sam Lansky of Time magazine stated Cabello proves she has the "chops to stand alone in the spotlight."

As did Lansky, Newsday writer Glenn Gamboa believed that with Camila, she proves that she is a forced to be "reckoned with and ready to be one of 2018's breakout stars."

Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone and Matt Collar from AllMusic gave Camila three and a half stars out of a possible five.

Sheffield and Collar expressed a similar sentiment: the album is a personal statement, a "produced set of romantic pop, punctuated by several rhythmically infectious Latin-influenced tracks informed by her Cuban-Mexican heritage."

Mike Nied from Idolator found the album an "authentic and cohesive work", and acclaimed Cabello's performance for "blending her distinctive brand of folksy pop with a Latin flair" and "delivering an impressive body of work."

Similar to other critics, Taylor Weatherby of Billboard noted its "radio-friendly" tracks, but also highlighted the most personal songs, saying "something that should certainly be recognized is Cabello's relentless vulnerability as she sings about the woes of both romantic and friendly relationships."

Concluding his review, Weatherby opined: "As a girl who got her start as one of five, Cabello has vocally, lyrically and impressively established that she was always meant to be simply Camila."

In his article for the website Stereogum, Chris DeVille was positive, noting the tracks range from the most "Latin-tinged club tracks" like "Havana" and "She Loves Control" to "wistful" piano ballads like "Consequences" and "Something's Gotta Give".

In a mixed review for The Observer, Kitty Empire noted the album's "processed sound" "achieves cohesion, despite the many production hands on deck." She further added, "the raunchy come-hithers you assume have been dropped in late in the day can be as boring and samey as piano ballads. But here, Cabello acquitted herself well as an R&B vixen."

Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph commented, "a few songs convey a charming honesty and vulnerability, perhaps a relic of the album's original themes." However, he argued, "there remains a gulf between the craft of commercial pop and the artistry of confessional songwriting, and there is not much doubt about which has been prioritised on Camila."

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