Review | Camila Cabello’s much-anticipated new album delivers 'thrills and trills aplenty'

The pop star turns up the heat - and also triggers a few tears - with her sultry sophomore effort, Romance


Words: Thomas Stichbury

Credit where it’s due to Camila Cabello for turning a cynic into a believer - or at least a bit of one - when it comes to matters of the heart.

I’ve long believed that romance is dead, but after listening to the pop star’s sophomore album, aptly named 'Romance', my hardened ticker skipped back into life. So much so, I thought it was a murmur.

Camila previously compared the record - the follow-up to her 2018 self-titled debut - to a sonic tour of “a museum in heaven of love,” so I was expecting a saccharine, syrupy celebration of her headline-grabbing relationship with Shawn Mendes (beyond jealous).

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And, yes, over the course of 14 tracks, the Latin-American singer does embrace the euphoric highs of falling head over heels, most notably on the hip-wriggling hit Senorita - and who wouldn’t want to run into the tequila sunrise with Shawn.

However, 22-year-old Camila is most impressive when she delves into the hurt of heartbreak, and then the stich-yourself-back-together healing process.

Standout songs include the dark, brooding, full-throated Shameless. “My emotions are naked, taking me out of my mind,” she sings. “Show me your shameless, write it on my neck, why don’t you.”

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I like to think of it as an ode to hickeys, and the frenzied search for a roll-neck jumper on discovering you’ve been bitten.

Or “Cry For Me,” a badass bop featuring screeching guitars about not in fact wanting the best for a former squeeze: “When I said I hope you’re happy, I didn’t mean it.”

Who hasn’t been there when they’ve seen their ex smugly moving on with their bounce-back beau on Instagram?

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Camila - formerly of girl band Fifth Harmony - showcases the full flex of her elastic vocals, from frail and fluttery on the stark, aching 'Bad Kind of Butterflies' (a personal favourite) to the swoops and swirls of 'Living Proof', where she hits the kind of whistle notes Mariah Carey would be proud of.

After taking us through the ups and downs of love, the passion, the jealousy and the Drama (yes, with a capital D), Taylor Swift’s bestie finishes with First Man, a tear-tinged tribute to her dad.

Sashaying between the sassy and the bittersweet, Camila delivers thrills and trills aplenty on an album  that ticks - or, in my case, tickers - all the right boxes.

You can pre-order the album here.

Camila Cabello releases Romance on 6 December on SYCO/Epic Records