Review: Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug – ‘Havana’


A rejuvenating latin flair and a sultry, sexy vocal makes 'Havana' a promising taste of what is to come from the ex-Fifth Harmony star.

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Though released two months ago, Camila Cabello‘s ‘Havana’  – the lead song from her upcoming album The Hurting, The Healing, The Loving – has rose to popularity over the last couple of weeks after a performance on The Tonight Show. But is the song really worth its potential shot at this weeks Number One? Simply: the answer is yes. As an ode to continuing the fun of summer post the sun, its Latin flair and catchy, seductive beat are a welcome escape from the heartbreak and club R&B that seems to be filling the Top. 40 at the moment.

Firstly, it’s nice to see Latin flair in a song that doesn’t then feel the need to be in Spanish (I commented on this slowly dying with Little Mix’s latest track). The flair then produces a really infectious chorus which, though lyrically simple and unimaginative, works well against the track’s seductive beat. I’m not quite sure of the lyric’s aims (“Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh-na-na (ay, ay)/ He took me back to East Atlanta, na-na-na”), but what they do show is Cabello’s understanding of how to construct a well balanced and commanding rhythm, something which separates her from the recent club releases from Little MixTaylor Swift and her ex-group Fifth Harmony. The use of piano and trumpets throughout the beat also gives it an individuality that is fresh and interesting and interesting is not a word I often use to describe modern pop releases. It’s for this reason that the song also trumps her other solo releases ‘Crying in the Club’ (now omitted from the new album) and ‘OMG’.

As well as the beat though, the song works due to Cabello’s own sultry vocal, accompanied well by a rap section from Young Thug. The Latin sensuousness in Cabello’s tone works perfectly against the beat to produce a song that oozes sex appeal. Young Thug’s rap section then keeps the song fresh throughout and accompanies Cabello well. This is an instance where introducing a second vocal was certainly to the advantage to the song’s overall effect.

I can’t say its 5-stars at this point: the lyrics could serve more of a function than their empty role here. But this is a direction Cabello will hopefully continue in as it is both individual and fresh. The English-speaking Latin revolution is here, and let’s hope her upcoming album cements it.

‘Havana’ is out now via Sony Music


About Author

Philosopher and Historian and major pop-fan. You can find me listening to most pop in the charts (Beyoncé and Sia are most certainly goddesses), as well as some modern jazz and classical and enjoing the occasional trip to the theatre. I'm also interested in the repurcussions of the representation of sex in modern-day media! And I might be a fan of the X Factor. Sorry, I can't help it...

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