Camila Cabello’s “Havana” Song Review

Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and I’m back!  “That’s why they call me MusiCommentator, I’m back, (I’m back), I’m back!” (Slim Shady reference, anyone?).  I talked about it more in my previous post, but the main message is that I am returning to WordPress and am planning to keep a regular posting schedule.  But, I’m not here to talk about the past.  I’m here to talk about Camila Cabello’s “Havana”, dammit, and no one’s stopping me!

Camila Cabello is a Latin singer previously part of the popular girl’s group Fifth Harmony.  However, right as they were becoming popular and hitting the mainstream hard, she decided to drop out of the group.  I frankly couldn’t care less about any of the drama the group went through to make her leave, so I did not bother to look any of it up.  What I do know, though, is that she was pretty much the lead member of the group, and Fifth Harmony has not been doing as well since her departure, so Camila could be on the way to solo fame.  After breaking out of a group like that, a solo singer’s first goal is to have a widely successful debut album, and out of the few singles Camila has released for it so far, “Havana“, featuring Young Thug, has been the most popular, so I decided to give it a listen.

Havana, ooh na-na (ayy)
Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh na-na (ayy, ayy)
He took me back to East Atlanta, na-na-na, ah
Oh, but my heart is in Havana (ayy)
There’s somethin’ ’bout his manners (uh huh)
Havana, ooh na-na (uh)

So, she meets a guy in Havana, and by the “manners” part, it’s supposed to be a bad boy story.  Wow, that is something we needed in the modern pop landscape right now.

While I may not be a fan of that particular concept, I will say something that surprised me about this song: Camila’s voice.  I listened to a few Fifth Harmony songs back when it made sense to call them Fifth Harmony, and I always thought she had the worst voice.  It was always cracking and she had no breath support.  I wondered “Out of all the people in Fifth Harmony, how did she become the most popular one?”  But in this song, she seems to have changed that.  No longer does it crack and her voice sounds decent for once, making this track very listenable.  I will have to see if her voice stays consistent on the album.  Let’s dive into the first verse of this song, though.

He didn’t walk up with that “how you doin’?” (uh)
When he came in the room
He said there’s a lot of girls I can do with (uh)
But I can’t without you

She describes here of how her “boy of attraction” in this song did not act as he normally would or act as she would expect, making him stick out to her.  It’s not a terrible set of lines.

I knew him forever in a minute (hey)
That summer night in June

Yeah, I’m sure you know everything about him from just those few words you had one night.

And papa says he got malo in him (uh)

Now, usually, I would criticize a song for using a foreign word of phrase for no reason to make the flow or rhyme of a line work.  However, I feel like it fits pretty well here.  Malo in Spanish means “bad”, so it does fit with the Spanish/Cuban theme, which means that the fact it is Spanish to begin with fits the whole song as well.  It is set in Havana, which is a place known for its large Latin community, and since Camila was born in Havana and has deep Latin roots, it fits the song.  Plus, Camila reaching out to her Latin roots is not a new thing.  She has already done songs with at least three different Spanish artists since her solo departure, so she is not hiding it.  Therefore, the use of malo in this line does not bother me…Now, carry on, I guess.

Oooh-oooh-ooh, I knew it when I met him
I loved him when I left him
Got me feelin’ like
Oooh-oooh-ooh, and then I had to tell him
I had to go, oh na-na-na-na-na”

This pre-chorus, then, sets up the main conflict of the song.  She fell in love with a boy but had to leave.  I am actually not minding this narrative anymore.  It is different from the “Oh, we love each other” or the “Oh, we love each other but we’re edgy and have a rocky relationship” that is seen on most pop radio, so I’ll give the song props for that.

After the first verse, the chorus comes again, and then we get to Young Thug.  You couldn’t tell there, but I just let out a resentful sigh.

My main problem with Young Thug is pretty much, well, everything.  He is a basic mumble rapper, but look up some interviews of people talking about him, and he is treated like some musical genius.  With some artists, I can understand why some would think they are on god-like levels of music.  For example, people give Kanye West way too much credit, but at least he has talent in production and makes intriguing music, even if some of is not my style.  I’m pretty sure Young Thug doesn’t produce, and there is nothing that separates him from someone like Future of Lil Uzi Vert, where he is basically just a fountain spewing out the same thing every time.  And it is not like Young Thug helps his case with this guest verse.

Bump-bump-bump-bump her like a traffic jam
Hey, I was quick to pay that girl like Uncle Sam (here you go, ayy)

Not only did he compare sex to traffic, which is one of the worst comparisons I have heard, but he also had to make sure he told us she was a prostitute.  Great job, Thugger!

Also, most of his lines don’t have anything to do with the main point of the song:

Just graduated, fresh on campus, mmm
This is history in the makin’, on me (on me)
Point blank, close range, that B

I was gettin’ mula, baby

So yeah, it’s a pretty forgettable verse.  Let’s move on.

Surprisingly, this song does not contain a third verse.  It does have a bridge, but it is mainly a compilation of “Ooh na na’s”, and then it’s back to the chorus.  However, this bridge is a good one.  Starrah’s contribution of the “Ooh na na’s” displays her unique voice.  Then, the trumpet at the end gives it more Latin flare to spice up this song a bit more.  And, that’s pretty much the end.

I waited to talk about this for the end of the review, but I’d say the best part of this song is the production.  With Pharrell Williams handling production, I expected the song to have a good beat, and Pharrell did not disappoint.  The production gives this song a lot of its Latin flavor, and the booming bass drums with the ear catching piano and percussion progressions make it as catchy as songs like Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” or Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You”

Overall, this is an okay song.  It definitely exceeded my expectations for a Camila Cabello song, but there are downsides, the main one being Young Thug.  There was a lot to this song I was not expecting, though.  The beat was phenomenal, and Camila’s voice stunned me.  Still, it is not a perfect song, so I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.  Do you agree?

Thank you for reading my “Havana” song review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.


6 thoughts on “Camila Cabello’s “Havana” Song Review

      1. The album came out over a month ago now, so I wasn’t planning on it. If one of his songs gets near the top of the charts, I may hit that up, but sorry if I’ve dissapointed you otherwise.


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