ACL Live Review: Camila Cabello

Quintanilla charisma and a punk heart equal stardom

Appearing on Sunday at dusk like a resurrected Selena from Miami, Camila Cabello revealed a teenage emo soul while paying tribute to her Cuban roots.

Photo by Gary Miller

The Havana-born singer, 21, came out swinging with high-energy hit “Never Be the Same,” before flourishing flamenco sleeves with a male dancer on 2018’s “She Loves Control.” Third jam “Inside Out” gave an infusion of tropical Afrobeat before glossy electronic hit “Complicated” burst into a full-on guitar fest. A few bars of oldie “Can’t Help Falling in Love” proved, once again, the former Fifth Harmony member and X Factor star can sing.

Penultimate encore “Sangria Wine” dipped back into dancehall so her backup dancers could shine.

Like her David Bowie outfit corseted to showcase Latin curves, Cabello combines a Shakira pop image with a self-described emo punk core, her following consisting of teenagers who shop at both Hot Topic and MAC. This switch to tropical crossover grounds debut album Camila, a huge jump from debut solo single “Crying in the Club,” which jump-started her current trajectory. While Cabello sticks to a dance-pop and occasionally a Tropicana aesthetic, her subject matter and energy showcases a punk at heart.

2017 summer anthem “Havana” closed out as a salsa fest. In the movie Selena, young Quintanilla wants to sing Donna Summer, but her father knows she’ll sell better on the Latin charts. Cabello shrouds her “My Chemical Romance” lyrics with twerk-worthy beats, but either way we’re left with one thought: She’s a star.

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Camila Cabello, ACL Fest 2018, ACL Music Fest 2018, 5th Harmony, David Bowie, Selena Quintanilla

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