Camila Cabello has returned. As she grapples with the aftermath of being exposed for her antiblackness and her middling sophomore album, Camila has unveiled “Don’t Go Yet,” the lead single for her upcoming third studio album Familia.
From the beginning of the song, “Don’t Go Yet” feels as stale as the butt piece of bread that’s been sitting around for weeks. Just like “Havana” and “Liar” before it, “Don’t Go Yet” is Camila’s third consecutive lead single to pull inspiration from her Latin roots. “Havana” took some inspiration from salsa, “Liar” blended elements of flamenco and ska, and now “Don’t Go Yet” is straight Latin pop with some added flair from live instruments like a horn section, flamenco guitar, and maracas. As a Cuban-American, these sounds will always be in Camila’s musical DNA, and that’s fine; she just needs to balance that with other sounds, especially when it comes to her singles. Lyrically, Camila covers familiar territory. She pleads “Oh, yеah, don’t go yet, don’t go yet / What you leavin’ for, whеn my night is yours?” in a chorus that features a mournful rallying cry of layered voices. Camila isn’t singing about anything that she hasn’t already. This would be fine if her vocal performance was enough to carry the song, but, if anything, her vocal performance brings the song to the brink of complete disaster.
Throughout “Don’t Go Yet,” Camila soaks her voice in hoarseness which makes her already unpleasant tone even more irritating to listen to. If she was trying to add a bit of grit or rasp to her voice, she needs to never do that again. Instead of sounding sultry or forlorn, she just sounds as if she didn’t clear her throat before entering the booth. To that point, the track’s mix feels a bit unbalanced. At times, Camila’s voice seems drowned out by the production. Camila has always been a singer that makes vocal choices that add less quirk than question marks, and that trend continues on “Don’t Go Yet.” At the end of the second verse she purposely cracks her voice on “baby,” and it’s the single worst moment of the song. It’s just terrible. The entire second verse of “Don’t Go Yet,” requires a certain swagger to pull off that Camila simply does not have. The delivery should have the words bleed together in a way that’s just shy of a rap cadence, but Camila sounds too awkward to make it work. Then there’s the bridge and final chorus which feature incredibly grating ad-libs and one of the most baffling climactic notes in recent memory. At the very least, the smooth melody in the pre-chorus coupled with the live drums prevents the song from completely falling flat.
We’re at the very beginning of the Familia era, so there’s always room to turn things around. After all, Camila’s never been one to get it right with the first single. Nevertheless, “Don’t Go Yet” is a disappointment that’s hard to listen to and showcases no growth.