Review: Camila by Camila Cabello

Camila by Camila CabelloI’ll be the first to admit that I have little familiarity with Fifth Harmony, and didn’t even follow the story of Camila Cabello leaving the group (aside from the funny coincidence about the split happening just before the group announced a Manila concert). Like most people, I am one of those people who had “Havana” stuck in their head – and, for the most part, without resistance. Camila is, in part, shaped by the success of that song – there was a far different concept before that became a huge hit, perhaps the usual “this is my side of the story” narrative you get when a seemingly acrimonious split happens, complete with concessions to what supposedly is more creative control. But it is still a pop record with its sights on the top of the charts: it’s bound to be inconsistent. Not every song clicks the way “Havana” did; that tends to happen with songs that are built for the radio. Where the record succeeds is where Camila plays to her strengths (and heritage) and manages to flip the negatives around: in tracks like “Consequences” and “Inside Out” she manages to be warm, effortlessly beguiling and, dare I say it, authentic. [NB]4/5

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earthings! 2017: My ten favorites of the year

Here’s more proof that I am starting to fall by the wayside, at least when it comes to listening to the songs I’m apparently supposed to listen to and like, here’s a relatively pop-centric list of my ten favorite songs for 2017. I attribute it to the fact that I may have listened more to my K-pop library this year (it does have some therapeutic claims) and that things seem to blend with each other more this year than in previous years. In a way, it’s a good thing: finally, some parity between the slickly produced and the more down-to-earth ones. But some will say this is me selling out. Nah, nobody is saying that. Nobody cares about this thing, yes? But we have to put it out, like everybody else, so here, in alphabetical order, are my ten favorite songs of the year. [NB]

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