CAMILA Cabello achieved global stardom with her self-titled debut almost two years ago but the follow-up safely takes her to new heights altogether.
Where the first one gave hints towards her love life, Romance is a deep dive into the two serious relationships she has had since that record was released — her ex, dating guru Matthew Hussey and current boyfriend, singer Shawn Mendes.
But while some artists might skirt around the subject, she isn’t scared to give the most raw account with pretty much every emotion going.
It’s a tale of two halves, with the first six songs characterised by a feeling of fun which is fizzing with sex appeal.
Senorita, which she sings with Shawn, was the song of the summer but if her fans thought that duet was raunchy, they haven’t heard anything yet.
The deliciously carnal My Oh My featuring US rapper DaBaby is her naughtiest yet — and sounds like a sequel to global hit Havana — as she sings: “My mama doesn’t trust him, he’s only here for one thing but, so am I.”
She adds: “I swear on my life that I’ve been a good girl. Tonight I don’t want to be her.”
And on Should’ve Said It, Camila is fabulously sassy, telling an ex-lover: “You’re only lonely now you aren’t the one to hold me.”
The second half takes a more serious tone though and it’s clear how much more sure of herself and mature Camila has become while writing this album.
That’s certainly true on the bassy, anxiety-filled Bad Kind of Butterflies — all about telling a partner she likes someone else.
But while she is open and honest about those bad sides of a romance, she lays her heart bare on the positives too.
With Easy, a clear highlight, she exposes her vulnerable side by admitting she “always thought I was hard to love” because of her “crooked teeth” and “stretch marks around my thighs” but that her partner “made it seem so easy.”
The album appears to pinball across the well-documented timeline of her love life, which will leave fans guessing who she is writing about on each song.
Although poignant break-up track Feel It Twice appears to be the most clear reference to her split from Matthew and fledgling relationship with Shawn, singing: “Can’t imagine the pain that you feel when I kiss his face.”
And on the softly sung R&B-tinged ballad Used To This, she croons: “I’ve known you forever, now I know you better.”
But the final song is about a different kind of love, addressing her father in the deeply poignant and piano-driven First Man.
Easing the concerns of “the first man that really loved me,” her dad, she sings of a fledgling relationship: “He makes me really happy, I think he might be the one.”
Intimate, passionate and deliciously modern in production — there is no stopping Camila.
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