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Inside Beat

'Familia': Camila Cabello's crisp, adventurous return to 'Havana' roots

Camila Cabello and her cousin Carolina Bern pose for the cover of the former's third album, "Familia." – Photo by @PopCrave / Twitter

When Camila Cabello announced "Familia" as her third album, I was beyond excited. To see her come out of Fifth Harmony and launch a successful solo career within just a couple of years makes me incredibly proud as a fan.

Beyond the high level of maturity that is prevalent in her music, Cabello's discography demonstrates how in tune she is with her culture, embracing her Cuban identity in anything she does.

As the one-year anniversary of "Familia"'s release draws closer, let's look at the album's sound, story and impact. To me, this third album felt like a return to Cabello's debut album, "Camila," with a touch of her sophomore project, "Romance."

A fun, power-pumped work expressing poignant moments from the past couple of years, vibrancy is found in every song on the project. While constructing this lively scene of adventures and wonder, similar to those of SZA's "Ctrl," Cabello beckons summer early.

Cabello began her "Familia" era with "Don't Go Yet," a playful flamenco tune ready to turn any moment into a party with your friends. The catchy rhythm and beat reflect her signature style and show her embracing her culture all the way.

Cabello continued her release schedule with "Bam Bam," a salsa number recounting a dark time in her past that made her stronger and better than before. Reflecting the aftermath of the artist's split with Shawn Mendes, the song sounds as if she took all her emotions during this tenuous time and turned them into music. There's a certain level of optimism in the song, with Cabello having hope that things will turn out OK.

Cabello's focus on romance spreads throughout the memories she depicts. "Hasta Los Dientes" is an obsession with love in a space fantasy. This disco-like number with prominent bass heightens her creative vision and makes it instantly repayable — in fact, "Hasta Los Dientes" ended up on my 2022 Spotify Wrapped.

One of my favorite themes found in this album is Cabello's honesty when singing about her life experiences. For example, the dark "psychofreak" is a mix between the Latin and punk music genres, expressing Cabello's anxiety in her journey and the challenges she encounters.

The feature of Willow Smith on the track was unexpected and perfect at the same time. Considering Smith was a part of my childhood, watching her follow her mom's passion for punk changed my perspective of her work.

The track on "Familia" that touched me the most was "everyone at this party," a ballad that expresses the experience of wishing for that one person you want that isn't there anymore. She continues to search for him, longing for his return. Following Cabello's breakup with Mendes, the song hits especially deep.

Overall, Cabello's third album is a fresh piece of music ready for the radio or any party playlist. Her songs are a 20-something's diary of her dream life. A splash into the moments from 2019 to 2021, the album continues stories she told from her debut project as a soloist.

And while these stories aren't perfect, they reveal the truth about her experiences — making them and "Familia" all the more memorable.

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