‘Familia’ ranked: Camila Cabello explores her Latin roots


Rolling Stone

“Familia,” Camila Cabello’s third solo album, explores anxiety and phases of a relationship with Latin roots.

Grace Sharma and Ivadette Haziri

“Familia” is Camila Cabello’s third official album, complete with Latin roots and a total of 11 songs. The album begins with an introductory instrumental track, titled “Familia,” that brilliantly sets the tone for the rest of the album. Filled with Latin production, clever lyrics, and an upbeat tempo, Cabello created the perfect album to sing along to while driving at night with the windows down and the wind in your hair this summer. 

We ranked all 11 songs based on personal preference, but even the lowest ranked song remains one of our favorites, which just goes to show what an overall incredible album “Familia” is. 

11. Quiet

“Quiet” as a whole doesn’t come together as a whole song that a listener would look forward to completely listening to. The song describes being anxious and not being able to relax as a result of having a crush on a person. Cabello sings about the only thing being able to calm her down being when the two kiss, and later sings about inner fears of disappointing him. The lyrics seem like they came from separate projects and got shoved together in a last-minute attempt to create a song. Further, the production of the song doesn’t match the feel of the lyrics nor does the layered harmonies on the chorus add to the song.

10. Boys Don’t Cry

With a great message but weak production, “Boys Don’t Cry” has good intentions but could use better exposition. Cabello sings to a man in her life who struggles with expressing emotions, telling him that it’s okay to express emotions. One of our favorite lyrics of this song are “It’s not stupid, it’s not drama/It’s just trauma turned to armor,” in which Cabello is telling her partner that his worries are warranted and okay to experience. The song as a whole adds to a conversation surrounding gender norms in a brilliant way with lyrics describing both the larger theme as a whole and a specific situation. However, we found the production of the song weak and draggy, taking away from the message at hand, and leaving the listener waiting for the song to end. 

9. psychofreak 

One of the three songs with features on this album, “psychofreak,” featuring Willow, has well-thought out lyrics and flow, but a pre-chorus with room for improvement. This song, which was also her third official single, describes anxiety and wanting to be like everyone else, but not quite being able to. The lyrics of this song are absolute genius, shining light on mental health in a way not commonly done. For example, one of our favorite two lines of this whole song are “House in the hills is a house of cards/Blink and the fairytale falls apart,” which brilliantly describes the feeling of having everything you’ve ever wanted, but only being able to worry about losing it. However, the pre-chorus, sung primarily by Willow, seems like it’s part of another song. Neither the lyrics nor the feeling of the part add to the song, and ruins the mood of the rest of it. 

8. everyone at this party

As one of the only sad songs on this album, “everyone at this party” evokes emotion through the lyrics and Cabello’s voice. She sings about attending a party and wishing her past partner to be present as a way to showcase how she feels about a relationship ending. A great example of this is In the pre-chorus, where she sings “Did we waste two years?/And did you get the space you needed?/Did you realize you don’t need me?” The repetition of asking the questions adds to the emotion of the song, and you can hear her voice breaking with each word in these lines. This song adds a much needed layer to “Familia,” showcasing the less-energetic and exciting sides of romantic relationships. 

7. Celia

“Celia” was a very pleasant surprise to us, as we expected a track similar to “Lola,” due to both the titles being names. However, instead of focusing on a more serious  topic such as in Lola, Celia is centered around introducing Cabello’s partner to her Latin culture. “Ahora baila las canciones que me gustan/Y la salsa dice que ya no le asusta/Ha vivido toda la vida sin azúcar/Conoció a Celia sin ir pa’ Cuba.” These lyrics describe how her partner now dances to music she likes, and that he’s lived his whole life without “sugar” until he met Cabello. This song is overall sonically pleasing and easy to dance to, but we found it was repetitive and had slight room for improvement. 

6. Don’t Go Yet

As Cabello’s first single, “Don’t Go Yet” set the tone for the “Familia” era spectacularly. The song has an upbeat, Latin production with lyrics about Cabello envisioning spending the perfect time with her significant other, and then, as the title implies, trying to convince them to stay a little while longer. For both of us, this song never gets old, even though it was released months ago, on July 23, 2021. We love the blend of salsa and pop, and the way that the lyrics are creatively incorporated with the beat.

5. Bam Bam

“Bam Bam” featuring Ed Sheeran was Cabello’s second official single, released on Mar. 4, 2022. As we wrote in a review of this song, “Bam Bam” is lyrically meaningful and sonically uplifting. Cabello and Sheeran sing to a typical upbeat Latin production, but describe a life lesson they’ve learned from past relationships and the pandemic—to stand back up every time life pushes you down, and just keep dancing. This is the perfect song to dance to this summer, as well as whenever you want to motivate yourself while sulking on the bus ride home after getting a bad grade . 

4. La Buena Vida

Cabello debuted a live performance of “La Buena Vida,” which translates to “the good life,” on her NPR Tiny Desk concert in October. Despite the title, this song is entirely in English, and describes a relationship in which her significant other doesn’t put as much effort into their relationship as she finds herself putting in. Cabello sings “I woke up happy by accident/I forgot you were gone again,” in the verse, and “You should be here, should be with me tonight/’Stead, you’re working, you’re working all the time,” later in the chorus. We both found the song creative and inspiring, especially the lyrics about recognizing when a relationship, whether romantic or platonic, is one sided, and life isn’t really all that great. 

3. Hasta Los Dientes

“Hasta Los Dientes” is a collaboration with Maria Becerra, an Argentinian urban and pop singer. Cabello and Becerra sing about being jealous when they see their significant other with their ex. A phrase showing this is “Te ví con tu ex y me quise morir/No te quiero compartir, te quiero solo pa’ mí,” which translates to “I saw you with your ex and I wanted to die/I don’t want to share you, I want you only for me.” Sitting in 2nd place, “Hasta Los Dientes” earned this placement thanks to its beat and production. After all, the pre-chorus will be stuck in your head for days after just the first listen. 

2. Lola

With a special take on a serious issue present around the world, “Lola” has unique production that sonically matches the themes of the song. Cabello sings about a girl named Lola, who had a brilliant mind and would have been able to do incredible things, such as walking on the moon or creating a cure, as cited in the song. However, she wasn’t able to because of her poverty and facing oppression on a daily basis. This experience is shared by many, many women around the world. The song also features Yotuel, who’s final lyric in the song is “En mi Habana, cuántas Lolas,” which translates to “In my Havana, how many Lolas?” How many women, like Lola, exist around the world? 

1. No Doubt

Finishing it out in first place, our favorite song on “Familia” is “No Doubt.” Cabello sings about a relationship in which she finds herself overthinking everything, and describes ways her partner left her with no doubt as to their dedication to the relationship. In the first verse, Cabello sings about imagining her partner cheating on her, and the pre-chorus describes the ways her partner helps stop her from overthinking everything. One of our favorite lyrics in this song is “Imagination has gone belligerent/Seeing red flags that don’t even exist,” because it perfectly describes Cabello’s talent of taking complex topics such as mental health and anxiety, and explaining them in the context of a catchy, high-tempo song. Overall, we have “no doubt” this track will be stuck in your head for days after listening to it. 

In conclusion, we absolutely loved every song on “Familia,” and it’s the perfect album to relax or dance to if you’re feeling down. The album as a whole is mostly upbeat, with life lessons and Latin production.