Album Review: Familia
Review by: Sean Speidel
Artist: Camila Cabello
Camila Cabello’s third studio album, Familia, is an attempt to provide a deeper look into the heartache and self doubt caused by her breakup with longtime boyfriend Shawn Mendes. Unfortunately, the lack of a coherent sound prevents the supposed familial theme of the album from fully developing.
Familia’s largest drawback is that it feels like it is two albums that were crammed into one. Many of the tracks where Cabello mainly sings in Spanish, such as “Celia,” are very fast-paced and have musical aspects of mariachi and salsa, which help to pay homage to Cabello’s Cuban and Mexican roots, but the tracks where Cabello sings in English have a very different feel. Not only the lyrics, but the instrumentals have a very somber feel to them. The drastically slower pace of the closing track, “Everyone at this party” leaves the listener with a very gloomy and grim feeling, something that is rather unrepresented across many of the other tracks in the 34-minute runtime. As a result, this track feels out of place and distracts from the already messy focus of the album.
While most of Familia’s sound aimlessly drifted between two extremes, the track “No Doubt” combines the musical aspect of Latin-pop and Cabello’s heart wrenching lyrics very well. It still features the Latin-pop sound present in multiple other tracks across Familia, but isn’t too upbeat to take away from the sorrowful aspect of the album. The lyric “Cause when **** is getting good, I just worry ‘bout the bad again” best displays the shattered state of Cabello’s psyche that she fails to clearly express in the other tracks.
The main hit off of the album so far, “Bam Bam (feat. Ed Sheeran)” is easily my least favorite of the 12 tracks. After a somewhat promising start with upbeat, acoustic production, the song quickly became very cringe-worthy, with the verses being interrupted by 20 full seconds of Cabello repeating “Ba-da bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam” in the laziest post chorus put in a modern pop song. This is shamelessly repeated twice more throughout the rest of the track and makes this song a chore to get through. Considering how serious and sorrowful the topic of the album is, the tonal shift to Cabello singing about how she has bounced back and is happily dancing away is baffling to say the least.
For an album titled Familia, you would think Cabello would sing more about growing up with her family instead of a wild assortment of thoughts and emotions that are loosely connected to her split with Shawn Mendes. Overall, the album was embarrassingly inconsistent in terms of quality and lyricism, and fell well short of what Camila Cabello is capable of creating.