Camila Cabello’s “I LUV IT” Song Review


After weeks of social-media hoopla involving incessant TikTok teases and accusations of stealing Charli XCX’s style, Camila Cabello’s incendiary lead single, “I LUV IT,” has finally arrived — and what an entrance it is. An exhilarated pop song on warp drive, complete with a coked-out Gucci Mane sample and Playboi Carti feature, it’s certainly the pop star in a brand-new mode. Whether it’s convincing or not, well, that’s up to you.

It was clear from the beginning that “I LUV IT” — and in turn her upcoming album C,XOXO — was going to be a major departure for the Top 40-friendly “Havana” artist, and she wanted you to know it. She went blonde. She hung her head out of cars. She pivoted to hyperpop. In other words, she’s cool now — if that’s how you identify the other pop stars fans (and non-fans) said she was trying to emulate.

“I LUV IT” only serves to continue that campaign as a song that shouts “coolness” in its every carefully considered detail, the most conspicuous one being its guest verse from one of rap’s rarest Pokémon, Playboi Carti. But a light dig illuminates more: that it’s co-produced by Jasper Harris (DaBaby, Baby Keem, Jack Harlow) and Spanish wildcard El Guincho; that its chattery post-chorus is a sample of Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade” (while Genius notes there’s a Rihanna interpolation somewhere in there, too); and that beyond the Charli XCX-like stylistic markers that fans have already pointed out, I also detect flecks of Lana Del Rey and Tommy Genesis. Its fever-dream music video is also a mishmash of references; she’s seen firing invisible bullets into a bed (Del Rey’s “High on the Beach”), and running around with an arrow piercing her heart (FKA twigs’ “meta angel”).

And yet, despite this head-spinning convergence of references, “I LUV IT” somehow works — for me anyway (a colleague, in contrast, deems it “an OK maybe even fun song”). It’s true that Cabello’s effort feels so transparently calculated you can almost visualize all the decks, emails, and vision boards, but she also commits to it all so hard you have to give her credit. I can overlook all the song connections I’m making in my head because the hook is so sticky. The Gucci sample is too blatant to be clever, but its obvious nature makes it perfect in context; and while I’m sure a lot of it also has to do with the fact the collaborators she chose are geniuses in their fields, the aesthetics and sound of “I LUV IT” toe the line between imitation and reinterpretation, neatly.

In an interview with Zane Lowe, Cabello insisted that this new chapter isn’t meant to course-correct but rather “catch up” to who she is now, which maybe explains all the references — this is what she must have on her playlists. True, the results are a little messy, but it’s commendable to see Cabello do something so drastically different. While I’ve never waited up for her previous releases, for now, C,XOXO is marked on my calendar.


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