2019 – R&B / Pop
Romance explores sensuality and love on different levels in a not so enjoyable way
At the age of 15, Camila Cabello, instead of asking for a smartphone or anything that any teen would ask for birthday, chose to ask to participate in “The X Factor”. Overcoming all the difficult past she had when migrating from Cuba to the United States, Cabello put all her strength together and focus on something: became an artist. However, after the “bootcamp” stage, in which Camila was eliminated, Cabello was invited back to form a band, which would be known as Fifth Harmony later. After conquering the world, Camila left the band to focus on solo projects. In 2018, Cabello released Camila and now, in 2019, Romance.
Romance, the second studio album by Camila Cabello, the American singer, actress and songwriter is ambitious. In this LP, Cabello explores all the levels of sensuality, sexuality and love, since the saddest up to the happiest, since the love for her lover, family, friend and even self-love. Demonstrating two sides, Romance has two faces, since the Latin roots represented in the first tracks, and the pop rock represented in the last on the album. Sadly, the transition between the two lifestyles is really precarious, questioning whether the track organization was well done. The best example of that is the transition between the first track, “Shameless”, which one is Pop Rock composed by strong strings and matte beats that contrasts with the great progression and transition that each verse has; and “Living Proof”, which one is a cool afternoon pop vibe, with this kid in the begging, guitars, claps and snapping fingers all over the track while in the chorus Camila shows up with this high vocal talking about surrender completely to someone.
I can say that “Living Proof” is the flagship of Romance’s Latin face. From “Living Proof” to “Liar”, all songs in this time interval are really Latin vibe, composed basic by guitars, claps and snapping fingers. Of course, these songs have a great production, since the one that are more basic, like “Señorita”, up to the ones that are more complex, like “Liar”, however, these tracks don’t talk to the rest of the album. Also, these tracks represent the sensuality with spice lyrics, vocals and instruments that show the follies of sexual love. Tracks like “Should’ve Said It” is an open letter to Camila’s ex and have this Tango vibe; “My Oh My (feat. DaBaby)” is a very loud track full of screams that sometimes make everything confusing; “Señorita (feat. Shawn Mendes)” is really generic and I can say If this song were solo, it would be much better; and “Liar” is really complete, full of cool elements but nothing more.
After these tracks, Camila starts to talk more about Love instead the sensuality. “Bad Kind of Butterfly” is a really dark song, with dark beats and synthesizers, that in some moments, is really annoying. Also, this track is about being in love with someone, but have someone else in your head. “Easy”, despising the generic sonority, is a good song where Camila’s leaver her high vocals and choose for something cleaner and crystal while she is talking about how everything became easy when you are in love. “Feel It Twice” is really beautiful, with a guitar and really distant beats on the back and a great lyric, which talks about hurting someone that I don’t want to. In “Dream of You”, Cabello used her high vocal at her favor, mixing her vocal’s skill with the piano and echo effect, what creates a gorgeous atmosphere. “Cry for Me” is incredible, is probably the closest to the first track. This track is Rock with the screams on the bridge, and also, has an electric guitar solo as transition, and the feelings in the lyrics, want the ex to get screwed, is represented by the dense and intense moments that Cabello created with her voice.
In the final stretch of the album, “This Love” is a great romantic ballad composed of strings, ironically, is about getting free from something toxic that is poising your veins. “Used to This” have a great production and progression, even with the generic sonority has a great talk with Camila’s voice. Basically, this track is about ignoring everything that bothers you, because when you are with your love, everything is fine. And the final track, “First Man” is probably the best on this LP. Is a gorgeous song with an incredible production, progression and lyrics. The piano, Cabello’s voice and atmosphere are simple but immersive and touching. In fact, is a letter to Camila’s father, which Camila says how great she is and how he needn’t worry because the guy she’s dating is a good guy.
Intriguingly confusing, Romance, at the same time works as a full work, it doesn’t work. The biggest mistake in this project, probably is the bad organization of the track, what discouraged everything. After all, Romance is a compilation of great songs which often do not work amoung themselves. Of Course, the album has great songs like “Shameless” and “First Man”, however, songs like “My Oh My” and “Señorita” are really mediocre. Despising that, Romance isn’t a bad album. I hardly think any of these songs will ever become such a hit as Havana was. But, in the end, Romance shows that true romance is not sensuality but true love.