Cameron Dallas knows a thing or two about constructing the sort of pop song you can’t deny. First, there’s the length — a neatly compact three minutes for his major label debut single, “Why Haven’t I Met You?,” released on Oct. 26 by Columbia Records. Second, there’s the stark acoustic guitar coupled with the soft, airy purr meant to soothe and to inspire swoon at the same time. Throw in a whistle-like hook, lyrics about honesty, promises and fate, and you have some of the elements that made “Sorry” a smash for Justin Bieber. Could Dallas, who made a name for himself in social media before graduating to his own Netflix series, be the Biebs’ pop successor?
It’s worth noting that “Why Haven’t I Met You?” — WHIMY for short — isn’t Dallas’ first time at the rodeo. In 2015, the then-21-year-old released a hip-hop flavored track called “She Bad” which was, well, not good. But in the three years since, the Chino, California native has evolved, matured and found a lane more appropriate for the love-starved fans he seems to cultivate. Wavering between “why” his destiny has yet to appear in the flesh to “If only I’d met you,” the song plays to the sort of fantasy a fan might dream up.
Musically, it delivers, too. As the track builds, harmonies are added in layers while arpeggiated keys and chords build momentum. But the song never reaches a cadence beyond mid-tempo, much like Nick Jonas’ hit “Jealous” sounds like it’s a half-beat behind. At the same time, Dallas’ vocals, reminiscent of Troye Sivan as well as Bieber, sound lush, fully formed and not all that manipulated.
“I gotta stay cautious … Waiting for your love, wishing it was that simple,” Dallas sings. He wrote the track with Patrick Hartman, who has credits on music by another social media phenomenon, the duo Jack & Jack. Producers include Stelios Phili (A$AP Ferg, Big Sean, SZA), Sam Ricci (Kendrick Lamar, Charli XCX) and Matt Rad (One Direction, Little Mix), among others. All the bells and whistles are there — literally and otherwise — but the secret sauce is in Dallas’ spot-on vocal performance.