Camila Cabello

Cabello sticks to her Cuban-American roots on each track of the album.

It’s been quite some time since Cuban-American singer-songwriter Camila Cabello released any self-recorded material. Lately, she’s collaborated with artists like Shawn Mendes on songs like “Señorita.” On Friday, she released her second solo album, “Romance.” Within the first 24 hours of its release, the album hit No. 1 on iTunes’ Most Popular Downloads chart.

As the title suggests, each track is about her being in love. Coincidentally, the artist just announced her new potential relationship with Mendes. The album also sticks with Cabello’s tradition of adding a Cuban flare to represent her heritage. 

The album begins with “Shameless,” a great choice for the first track, as it shows off Cabello’s impressive range. The verses are calm, but she decides to portray what her vocals are capable of in the chorus. The lyrics are “Don't speak, no, don't try / It's been a secret for the longest time,” which shows Cabello having the courage to confront a crush about her feelings. She sings, “Not afraid to face it / I need you more than I want to / Need you more than I want to” with a confident tone. These lyrics feel confessional. While this could be about a previous crush, fans are speculating whether or not it’s a nod to Mendes.

“Should’ve Said It” has an almost opposite message to “Shameless.” This song is more aggressive than the first track because it’s about Cabello finally returning her feelings for a guy she was attracted to in the past. She doesn’t believe his feelings because he never acted affectionately when she wanted him to. The first verse explains the theme perfectly with lyrics, “Love was broken for me / now it’s broken for you.” This is one of the tracks that has a hint of her Cuban roots with the sound of the acoustic guitar.

“Bad Kind of Butterfly” covers the topic of crushing on another person — specifically, someone who’s just a friend — while also being in a great relationship. It’s written as if Cabello is talking about these feelings with one of her potential lovers by singing,“What do I do when I love you and want somebody else? / What do I lose if I don't choose and keep it to myself?” The track has a mysterious sound to it. It contains very few instrumental sounds, so listeners can focus on the lyrics and understand the message of Cabello fighting against this feeling. 

One of the best songs included on the album is the hit “Señorita,” featuring Mendes. It’s become one of the most popular songs of 2019. Released in June, it’s currently placed at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, which it definitely deserves for its upbeat sound. iTunes has also listed it as No. 34 on its charts. This track has Cabello’s signature Cuban twist to it.

The duo performed the hit single at the Video Music Awards and the American Music Awards. It’s about two people who know their relationship isn’t a good idea but keep coming back to each other. It’s an upbeat song that’s been played on almost every radio station since its release.

Another track that makes the album is “Liar.” This song highlights the repetitive theme of Cabello attempting to avoid falling for a specific person. In the pre-chorus, she sings, “I said I won't lose control, I don't want it / I said I won't get too close, but I can't stop it.” In “Liar,” Cabello steps outside her comfort zone, as the song encompasses a jazzy sound unlike anything she’s released before.

After a year of singles and appearances on several duets like Ed Sheeran’s “South of the Border,” Cabello has made a strong comeback on her second full-length album. The issue with it was that each song has either a similar or exact message. An artist should branch out when it comes to what they want to tell listeners; however, Cabello constantly sings about trying to avoid any affectionate feelings for a person she likes. “Romance” is a great title because of its abundance of love songs. It reveals the many sides of Cabello while keeping her fun and upbeat sound alive throughout the album. 

Contact Gracie Brogowski at brogowsx@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.