Pop

What To Expect From Camila Cabello’s Sophomore Album, ‘Romance’

Ever since Camila Cabello dropped her steamy duet with Shawn Mendes, “Señorita,” fans have been wondering if it’s a one-off single or the beginning of a new era? In recent weeks, she’s made it clear that the now-No. 1 Billboard hit is going to usher in her second solo album, one that sounds like it is dedicated to the entire experience of being in love. Camila recently announced the title of her next record is Romance, and we’ve now heard three new songs: her Mendes duet, and the more recent “Shameless” and “Liar,” which are both a bit more low-key.

One of Camila’s earliest solo singles, “Crying In The Club,” operated in a similar melancholy mode as these latter songs, and she had plenty of emotional material on her debut, Camila, an album that helped shift the pop genre last year by including some left field moves. Even though there’s no release date on the horizon yet, it seems like the record is coming later this year, meaning it’ll be up against big contenders like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Rey.

If Camila and her team are confident she can hang with some of the biggest stars in the genre, then this is certainly an album to look forward to. Odds are, she’ll easily avoid the dreaded sophomore slump so many young artists worry about, by making more interesting, decisive choices on this new song cycle. Here are a few suggestions and predictions for how she’ll make Romance pop the way Camila did.

More hip-hop collaborations

While I love knowing that Shawn Mendes is on Romance, I hope there’s some rap collaborations, too. The single that finally broke Camila Cabello as a star was “Havana,” an ode to its namesake and her hometown — Cabello is Cuban-American and was born in Havana — that featured a pretty stellar verse from Young Thug. Getting a look from a rapper like Thug definitely helped Camila break in with hip-hop fans, too, even if I still personally swear by her one-off collaboration with Quavo, “OMG,” that never became a hit but remains one of the best songs in her discography. Either way, Camila shines when she’s working with hip-hop beats and contrasting her powerhouse voice with a solid rap verse. There’s plenty of great young rap talent to choose from in 2019, but my pick would be for her to do a song with Dababy. Plus his Lizzo remix was great, so we know he can do pop.

An appearance by Normani

After Camila opened for Taylor Swift on the Reputation tour, her fellow former Harmonizer Normani opened up for Ariana Grande. Both of the younger stars were doing great on their own, but getting in front of massive arenas full of fans who already love pop music definitely helped increase their respective profiles. Now, Normani is gearing up to release a solo album of her own, and her latest single “Motivation” — which was co-written by Ariana, a first for Grande — is practically perfect in every way. Getting another solid collab with her former girl group member would not only appeal to the former 5H fan base, but prove that there’s no bad blood between the two.

A healthy dose of Latin pop

It sounds like she’s already moving this direction with “Liar,” but embracing her heritage as one of the most prominent Latinas in the pop world is something Camila does on a regular basis. Another song that paid homage to her roots would definitely fare well on this record, especially considering those sounds and influences have been dominating the mainstream airwaves over the last few years, too. She’s worked with J Balvin and Pitbull before on the song “Hey Ma” on the Fate Of The Furious soundtrack, so it’s possible they could pop up on Romance to return to the favor.

Another collaboration with Cardi B

While I’m rooting for Camila alongside pretty much any rapper she wants to work with, half the reason her appearance on Ed Sheeran’s excellent new collaborative album No. 6 Collaborations was so wonderful is because it came in conjunction with none other than Cardi B. I have to hand it to Ed, these two women complemented each other perfectly, and another joint track from them could only be a good thing.

Including some Mark Ronson production

The other phenomenal guest track Camila already released this year is her performance on Mark Ronson’s stunning new record, Late Night Feelings, for the song “Find U Again.” Again, this song has production that’s more rubbery and soulful than she usually goes for on her own solo work, and bringing some of that torch singer energy to Romance by enlisting Ronson as a songwriter or producer would be a smart move.

Something petty

One of the best songs off Camila was the mild-to-moderate subtweet of a song, “Real Friends,” which reminisced pretty openly about being let down by — you guessed it — a crew of so-called fake friends. The track didn’t name any names, but functioned as a pretty direct rebuttal to the terse statement Fifth Harmony released when Camila’s exit from the group for her solo career was announced. In an era where drama rules everything around us, giving social media stans something to dissect and read into is fully the move of any successful diva — and all’s fair in love, war, and pop music.

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