"Real Friends" is the first promotional single and the seventh track off Camila Cabello's debut solo studio album, Camila. It was released through Epic Records on December 7, 2017, along with the pre-order of the album. It is musically soft with an acoustic guitar as its foundation, it finds Cabello reflecting about her life while asking for an honest friendship. Its calm production draws from reggae and Latin and tropical music genres.
It entered charts in various countries worldwide including Canada, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and Ireland. Although it did not appear on US Billboard Hot 100, it managed to debut at number six on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.
The song was first revealed by Camila in an Instagram's post introducing the album. On December 6, 2017, Camila posted the lyrics, along with the song's artwork, in her Twitter account to promote the song, that was released the next day. On December 21, 2017, Camila revealed the official tracklist of her debut studio album, Camila, which the song is featured as the seventh track. On January 7, 2018, she introduced the song in a tweet by presenting a snippet accompanied by a gif where some lyrics were shown.
The main inspiration behind the track was the industrialist environment of the Los Angeles City in which Cabello felt annoyed about when she was finishing the recording sessions for the album. Upon its release, the song was believed to be about the singer's relationship with her former group Fifth Harmony. However, Cabello denied these speculations. It was well received by music critics who complimented the soft acoustic sound in which it was built around while praised the performer's vocals.
"Real Friends" is a low-key grooved song characterized by a minimalistic production, with a predominant acoustic guitar as the main instrument and additionally, a lone handclap as percussion. In contrast to the song's soft melody, the verses are sung calmly with Cabello using low register instead of her high soprano tone. In the lyrics, Cabello reflects about being surrounded by negative things and people while vulnerably asks for an honest friendship. It's most evident during the chorus, in which she sings: "I'm just looking for some real friends, all they ever do is let me down. Every time I let somebody in, then I find out what they're all about." As commented by Mike Nied of Idolator, Cabello "laments her ability to find true companionship over acoustic strings." It's sound also exhibits influences of tropical, reggae and Latin music. It has a length of three minutes and thirty-three seconds. According to the sheet music published by Sony/ATV Publishing Co., Inc. on Musicnotes.com, "Real Friends" is composed in the key of C minor and set in a 4/4 time signature at a moderate tempo of 92 beats per minute. Cabello's vocal range spans from the low note B♭3 to the high note C5, while the music follows the chord progression of Cm7–Fm7–B♭–E♭/D.
Critical response Edit
Upon its release, "Real Friends" received attention from several publications for its lyrical content which was believed to be about Cabello's relationship with her ex-bandmates from Fifth Harmony. Sam Warner from Digital Spy is an example, he said that the song's message could be a subtle dig at her former group. Alex Petridis analyzed the lyrics saying that sounds like it’s dealing with "nights spent feeling isolated while on tour." However, an interview with Access, Cabello denied these speculations affirming that the song does not refer to anyone in particular, but about a bad situation in which she found herself in a previous moment. Critically, it was well received by music journalists. Elias Leight from Rolling Stone described it as sparest in comparison to her previously released tracks. For Variety's Staff, "Real Friends" bears resemblance to "Love Yourself" (2015) by Canadian singer Justin Bieber. The magazine acclaimed the track by describing it as a "gentle, sparsely arranged ballad". Reviewing the album Camila, Jamieson Cox of Pitchfork praised "Real Friends" and another acoustic ballad "All These Years" describing them as "stunning" while Sam Lansky from Time similarly highlighted the song along with the "heartfelt" track "Consequences" writing that both "pretty" ballads showcase her vocals.
Chart performance Edit
"Real Friends" entered charts in various countries worldwide due to positive digital downloads and streaming numbers. It debuted at top hundred in Canada, Netherlands, Scotland, Slovakia, and Australia while it reached top forty in several other including Portugal, Denmark, Ireland, and Belgium. In the United States, it did not enter the Billboard Hot 100 but debuted at number six on Bubbling Under Hot 100– a component that lists the top singles that have not yet charted on the main Hot 100.
- The song is rumored to be about some of the Fifth Harmony members.
- The cover art has Camila as a baby on it.
- The artwork from the song was drawn by Camila's little sister, Sofia.
- It was written in the district of Hollywood in Los Angeles when she was annoyed about the city's industrialist environment and "small things" that was happening in her life.
- The intro for the collaboration compared to the album version is a bit different.
- Camila almost didn't include this song on the album because she thought she wouldn't have enough time to complete it.
- ↑ Twitter - Camila announcing a remix version
- ↑ iTunes - Real Friends (feat. Swae Lee) on Apple Music
- ↑ Instagram - Camila introducing the album and revealing 2 tracks
- ↑ Twitter - Camila revealing some lyrics for the song
- ↑ Twitter - Camila revealing the official tracklist
- ↑ https://twitter.com/camila_cabello/status/950067298555088896