By Efrat Malachi, Contributing Writer
Topping charts with each single, former member of Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello’s infectious melodies and remarkable vocals have earned her another spot on the Billboards Top 100. “Senorita” is sung as a duet between Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes. This is not their first rodeo, since back in 2015 they worked on “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which created a serious comfort level between the two. It has benefited not just their personal lives, but their listeners’ lives too.
To their audience, the fact that they both are still good friends because of their first single and are coming together once again to record a hit song, speaks to their dedication to one another and the music they produce. A song is only as successful as the people recording it. They both have proven that having chemistry outside of the studio is just as important as having it within — that’s what makes them a supreme duo and enjoyable to listen to.
“Senorita” is a brief love story between two characters that meet in Miami. While one is on vacation (Mendes), the other one is working the daily grind (Cabello). Instantly they click and it is “love at first sight.” The song goes through their first impressions of each other and their intimate experiences throughout. It also echoes what many of our first impressions of love and relationships used to be growing up, an “oh la la la” Cabello lyric on a loop. Putting that misconception to the side, there are many elements to it that make it a compelling love story, but one that is not as genuine as we would hope.
When Cabello sings, “Ooo I should be running, ooo you keep me coming for you,” she is ultimately saying that Mendes’ character is not the best guy for her to be seeing, but she allows herself to slip into his fingers and he praises the way she “fit[s] right in my hands.”. The story can go in a myriad of directions based on your imagination, but one specific marker that tells the entire story from Cabello’s character’s perspective is that she “should be running,” but is not. Mendes’ character is just too mesmerizing and plays as her weakness. “I wish I could pretend I didn’t need you,” tells us that there’s something about him that functions as a drug racing through her system (depending on what type of drug is a different story).
He sounds like bad news, but because Mendes is the one acting the part, we won’t immediately see him in that light. This gives a whole new take on the story, and the directors and producers knew fully well that it would. Since Mendes is a Hollywood heartthrob, how could anyone dislike him? This is where the immense and apparent impacts of casting become transparent. Designating a sweetheart to play a sour or dangerous personality is another level of subliminal messaging and skews society’s views on the cool, slick, and handsome “bad boy” personalities that exist within various institutions in our lives.
The song is a well-thought-out production due to Cabello’s vocal control and beautiful harmonizing with Mendes, and vice versa. As the song and their relationship progress into a stage that’s more than “just friends,” they become more intimately attached and that’s really when Cabello expresses her desire to be called by a nickname which he gives her, the song’s title — “Senorita.”
This endearing gesture is just another normative, romantic tactic used to pull on her heartstrings and getting her closer to him, which further asserts his dominance. It’s this psychology that creates a tighter bond between the two, through making cute nicknames and flirting with titles so that she feels appreciated and glorified as a feminine symbol, not degrading or demeaning her in any way. This is simply another way of elevating her status as a female and solidifying his status as the male in the relationship — staying true to their respective roles.
Overall, the song is full of lusty language and romantic behavior that sets its tone. The relationship isn’t purely wrong, but it is not the ideal version we all strive for. Rather, it’s a counterfeit version, and its purpose is to make one curious about what real love is. It teaches us the ultimate disadvantages of a summer or vacation fling, which is what this seems to be. The end of the song leaves us on a cliff-hanger, since this short-lived romance ends right when Mendes’ vacation ends. After all the noise has transpired, there’s just silence. This kind of fantasy is what keeps audiences interested, since a break from reality is a major part of the creative process and why these types of songs, especially by youthful, beautiful, and talented artists such as Cabello and Mendes, top other artists and make music history.
Photo: Camila Cabello