An artist’s second album can be what makes or breaks them; Romance has certainly made Camila Cabello a star. Her songwriting and vocal abilities have improved so much since her debut album, Camila. A lot has happened since the release of that album, but we’ll get into that later.
I was just going to review the most noteworthy songs, but they’re ALL so good that I couldn’t decide. So I’m going to do a short review for all 14 songs: buckle in.
This song, along with “Liar”, was one of the first songs that Cabello released for her new era. In contrast with “Liar”, it showed that she was going to experiment with different sounds in this album. It has much more of a pop/rock sound. I absolutely the rasps in Cabello’s voice in this song. Also the way the music slowly builds up to the beat drop is fantastic. The best line by far is “Now that you have me, do you want me still?” simply because it is a brilliant question. Is the excitement gone, once the chase is over? The music video for this one is one of my favourites; the visuals are stunning and the choreography is very effective.
2. “Living Proof”
This song is the lyrical embodiment of a feeling of falling in love. I felt that it captures the feeling of wanting to be with that person all the time and being in a bubble. Cabello’s vocals on this track are incredible but also very difficult to get right. She has now performed Living Proof live 3 times, and each time her vocals have been on point, which shows her versatility. I particularly liked her performance on the Ellen Show because she had a gospel choir with her which worked really well for the song. The colours in the music video are aesthetically pleasing and again Cabello shows off her dance skills.
3. “Should’ve Said It”
This is the first flavour of the Latin Pop that most people know Cabello for. I love that only a guitar is used. I adore Cabello’s vocal ad-libs. In the lyrics, Cabello admonishes someone, perhaps Shawn Mendes, for only deciding that he wanted to be with her after she’d moved on. My favourite part is the pre-chorus:
“You’re only lonely
Now that you ain’t the one to hold me
Only lonely now, now”
This is definitely one of my favourite songs on Romance.
4. “My Oh My (feat. DaBaby)”
This is my least favourite song on the album. The chorus is much too slow, there’s nothing that makes you want to move to the beat. Also, there’s nothing interesting about the lyrics, its just a rap verse sandwiched between the same boring chorus. The only part that I like is the bridge.
5. “Señorita (with Shawn Mendes)”
This is the smash-hit single of the album, in other words, the “Havana” of Romance. It has been nominated for a Grammy (should have been nominated for more, in my opinion). It has become the most-streamed song on Spotify of 2019 with over a billion streams, and it was only released in June! It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Cabello’s second #1 and Mendes’ first #1! It also won Best Collaboration at both the VMAs and the AMAs.
“Señorita” deserves all of these accolades because it has had a cross-generational impact. Obviously, I love it, but my mum also likes to sing along to it with me when it comes on the radio.
I don’t think it was going to be on the album originally, but I think it was the right decision to put it on there as it fits really well.
There are parts of this song that I really like but there’s something about it that I can’t put my finger on that makes it feel generic. I love the saxophone intro and outro. I love the verses, especially the line “But what if you kiss me? And what if I like it? And no one sees it”. It’s like they had all the makings of a great song, but they couldn’t quite put it all together.
7. “Bad Kind of Butterflies”
This is one of my favourites. The drama that is created in the chorus with the combination of the strong bassline and Cabello’s falsetto vocals is astonishing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like it. The final chorus is the best one. It conjures up an image in my head of the inner turmoil that Cabello went through as she prepared to tell Matthew Hussey about her romantic feelings for Shawn Mendes. Only the best storytellers can do that. It gives me butterflies, but the good kind!
This is the perfect song about first love. It makes you realise how young Cabello is. She has been in the industry for so long, yet she is only 22 years old. Her first adult relationship was with Matthew Hussey and this song is kind of a thank you to him for making her feel that she isn’t “hard to love”. She airs her insecurities to the world, saying that Hussey made her feel better about them. Her vocals in the bridge are exquisite. I love the layering of the vocals in the last chorus; it gives a sense that everything can come together in the end. Cabello’s performance on “Easy” on Saturday Night Live was simply beautiful.
9. “Feel It Twice”
This song is a sad listen. It is about how once you’ve been intimate with someone you can’t go back to being just friends. Cabello also cannot get back together with this person because she is afraid of feeling that heartbreak again. I really like the slow, soft melody that puts the focus on the lyrics. You can hear the pain in Cabello’s voice as she sings about not wanting to hurt them. There is a tambourine that is most noticeable in the outro; an unusual choice in a pop ballad, but it works well here.
10. “Dream Of You”
I believe this song truly captures the feeling of having a crush on someone or being in a new relationship and day dreaming about them all day. The music is dreamy and wistful while Cabello effortlessly reaches the falsetto notes. This makes it feel like a slice of heaven. Cabello’s descriptions of her current boyfriend Shawn Mendes in the first verse are sweet and loving. However, my favourite line is “I was not living, I was just writing about it”. This track might be my favourite.
11. “Cry For Me”
This track has a more rock sound. This could be why I don’t really like it. I like the rasp in Cabello’s voice as she sings about wanting her former lover to be more upset after their break up. However, I dislike this message; it is quite selfish. It tries to capture the feeling at the end of a relationship when you want your former partner to move on and be happy- but not too happy.
12. “This Love”
This song is about all the complexities in the feeling of love and the worries about getting into a new relationship. There is a slow buildup into the chorus which I like. I also like the acoustic sound of the song. Cabello’s vocals are powerful and there’s almost an anger to them as she describes always being pulled back to the same person.
13. “Used To This”
This song starts with the sound of traffic before Cabello sings “No I never liked San Francisco….til you kissed me there.” I really like this effect and Cabello does it again later in the song with the clinking of glasses before singing about needing a drink. The production on this song is possibly the best on the album which could be to do with Finneas (brother of Billie Eilish) doing all the production. Shawn Mendes has said that this song is his favourite on the album – but then it is about him. Cabello’s vocals have to go up and down with the bassline which is very difficult.
14. “First Man”
This is a really beautiful song to end the album with. It is for Cabello’s father and she sings about the transition between her father being the main man in her life to her boyfriend being that. However, she sings that her father will always be the first man who loved her. The piano ballad has made many cry and I’m sure that it will be used in many weddings for the Father/daughter dance.
As a very single person, I can’t relate to most of the songs on the album but I am still so happy for Camila and Shawn. This album is a huge improvement from her debut album, it is much more honest and real. I absolutely love it.
featured image via @camila_cabello