Colbie Caillat
All of You


2.5
average

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
July 11th, 2011 | 33 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Caillat’s cheery, optimistic sound hides a much sadder regression.

Caillat’s brand of sprightly, inoffensive beach-pop found its niche in the music industry with 2007’s Coco. While the album didn’t strive to deviate from the mainstream acoustic formula, it was quirky and carefree enough to make for a completely relaxing listen. The chilled-out vibe of songs like ‘Realize’ and ‘Bubbly’ launched Caillat into stardom, and it should come as no surprise that her follow-up effort Breakthrough carefully tip-toed around the same lines. Once again, she presented us with breezy, cheerful hits that did just enough to keep us hooked while softly laying us down into a figurative cloud of pillows. To this point, everything Colbie Caillat has done has been about charming the listener with short verses, delightful choruses, and extremely basic but pleasant acoustic strumming. And who can argue with her success? She has the voice to match her ever-growing stage, and she has clearly hit her stride both as a musician and a figurehead of feel-good pop. Enter 2011, where Caillat throws caution to the wind and (gasp) attempts to reach for a more fully realized pop style. For once, the issue is more than “can she come up with another hit single to keep the album afloat?” This time, questions arise over her ability to branch out and simultaneously adapt herself to an even brighter spotlight - and the results aren’t always as pretty as the glowing smile that Colbie flashes our direction on the cover.

Foremost, it seems pretty important to clarify that an evolution in sound for an established, well-marketed pop star is highly different than it is for most artists. Whereas some indie musicians may alter their style (or perhaps even their genre) entirely, a revelation in pop could be as simple as the introduction of autotune. Fear not, because that isn’t the case here, but the attempts at progression are just as basic. Increased levels of percussion can be found across All of You, from the infectious pitter-pats of tambourines in ‘Brighter Than The Sun’ to the much less successfully implemented and infinitely more annoying handclaps that plague ‘I Do.’ There is also the hilariously bad collaboration with rapper/hip-hop artist Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., more regularly known by his stage name Common. On what is ironically titled ‘Favorite Song’, Caillat concocts what is quite possibly her cheesiest chorus yet, and it probably goes without saying that Common sounds sorely out of place. It is actually kind of reminiscent of those old-school Radio Disney songs that would mimic the melody of some major hit, make it a thousand times cheesier, and then have a rapper enter midway through to appeal to the “new, hip generation.” Needless to say, Colbie’s hip-hop experiment ends in futility. Other than the obvious intrusions she inflicts upon our poor ears, Caillat tends to play her evolution on the safe side. Quicker strumming, alongside the aforementioned dialing up of percussion, is combined with more streamlined production to give All of You that sleek feel that a breakout album should have. The problem here is that behind all the added frills, there is very little actual substance.

Her efforts aren’t entirely in vain, however, as Caillat’s newfound sense of energy does occasionally pay dividends. ‘Before I Let You Go’ is easily the album’s catchiest song, with a sweeping chorus and natural sounding transitions between the simplistic picking and the upbeat, confident strumming. ‘Brighter Than The Sun’ also warrants attention, offering up Colbie’s only real successful landing on her targeted “new” sound. The expanded presence of drums, tambourines, and handclaps all create the desired “tropical” effect that she obviously yearned to either maintain or further enliven with her newest LP. But as you might have already inferred, Caillat’s best work comes when she sticks to her bread and butter. ‘What Means The Most To Me’ is a tranquil enough ballad that seems to float on air, even if it is slightly reminiscent of Breakthrough’s ‘I Never Told You.’ In a similar fashion, ‘Make It Rain’ ends the album with a soothing acoustic ditty that, while easily digestible and wholly pleasant, borrows a verse that is eerily similar to that of her previous hit ‘Fallin’ For You.’ Still, that shouldn’t take enough away from these songs to prevent you from liking them for what they are: simple, pretty, and catchy acoustic pop tunes.

In the end, it is quite clear that All of You is Caillat’s most inconsistent album. She deserves some credit for trying to shake up a formula that was beginning to get stale, but unfortunately, she falters more often than she succeeds. This isn’t an album absent of hits, so Colbie will undoubtedly get the airplay that she needs to sell this record; however, the songs between the hits offer very little to purchasers of All of You. Not quite disastrous but dangerously close, this is an album that will need a very good successor before some fans will forgive.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
2.7
average
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Colbie starts to learn how to balance between vintage and surprising....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Still combing through this for grammar mistakes, but I think it's good now. I was disappointed with this album, even though I kind of knew that any Colbie Caillat album was capable of letting me down. I was just hoping it would be as good as Coco : (

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

BallsToTheWall
July 12th 2011


44332 Comments


2.5? NO i CAN'T BELIEVE IT, I DONT WANT TO. GOOD REVIEW BUT THIS WILL RULE I KNOW IT. I WONT BE LET DOWN.

Digging: Tiamat - Clouds

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
July 12th 2011


23816 Comments


I'M LUCKY I'M IN LOVE WITH MY BEST FRIEEEEEEEEEEND

good voice, boring songwriter

Willie
Moderator
July 12th 2011


15970 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So, you followed through ;) I'm glad I didn't bother listening to this. I'll hold onto the other two albums though.

Digging: Necropoli - I

Irving
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


7270 Comments


Great review. Loving pos.

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

good voice, boring songwriter

As much as I like her first two albums, it is hard to disagree with this.

So, you followed through ; )

Yeah, as weird as it seems I was excited for this...I mean it's not like her other album's were 4.5's and 5's, but I was still hoping this would be more consistently enjoyable. There were more songs that annoyed me than there were songs I wanted to download.

Great review. Loving pos.

Thanks Irving! I forget, have you listened to Caillat's stuff before? It seems like your type of pop...


Knott-
Emeritus
July 12th 2011


10195 Comments


I only know that song 'Lucky' that she did with Jason Mraz.

One of my best friends performed that with his of-the-time girlfriend and it was the cutest thing I ever sawd.

Sanders
July 12th 2011


2350 Comments


Yeah, I've only heard Lucky too, this anything like that?

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
July 12th 2011


1588 Comments


She has three albums already? Jeepers.

Phideaux
July 12th 2011


1654 Comments


I forgot she was still around. I like a few of her singles. Probably wont check this out, though. Good review and all that.

On a side note, Willie always has the most hilarious avatars.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

lol Knott. I do like that song but she has done better.

Sanders: not really

Liberi: yeah, 3 albums in 5 years

Thanks Phideaux.



Irving
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


7270 Comments


Thanks Irving! I forget, have you listened to Caillat's stuff before? It seems like your type of pop...

I actually haven't. Like most folks here, I'm just familiar with Lucky lol. I'd start listening to her ASAP, but I've just had a backlog of albums to check out (fourteen CDs sit untouched in my CD cabinet) so I guess I'll have to pass for now =/

I shouldn't have splurged that hard on music when I left Canada for Malaysia lol.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

well it goes without saying that 2011 has much more pressing pick ups. so no rush pal.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


7270 Comments


I actually have not listened to that much in-music this year (despite doing HEAPS better than last year). I think you would still be disappointed in me Sowing.

Gimme one rec from 2011? =)

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

The Dear Hunter - The Color Spectrum, Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues, Papercranes - Let's Make Babies In The Woods, Armistice - Armistice, The Decemberists - The King is Dead, and Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math are the premier releases so far IMO, all 4.5's or 5's. Of course I know you heard Armistice, so that's out. My AOTY so far is Simple Math so if you haven't heard that, give that a listen. Also, The Color Spectrum is a pretty essential pickup, although it is a 9 EP collection, so if you buy it like I did it will cost you over 30 bucks probably

Irving
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


7270 Comments


I've actually listened to all of those except The Dear Hunter and Papercranes. Gave Armistice a 4.5, Helplessness Blues and Simple Math 4s, and The King Is Dead a 3.5 (but only because I discovered their earlier shit was so much better - independently it was easily a 4).

I think Immona get on The Dear Hunter. Is there a physical version of the collection for sale? Or is it purely digital? I like to have me some physical items see? =)

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

The physical item is a cop-out version, like its like 12 songs or something not the full 36. The complete collection is only available via download or vinyl, I think.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Brighter than the Sun is such a good song, I wish more than just 1-2 other tracks lived up to it : (

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
July 13th 2011


1588 Comments


Liberi: yeah, 3 albums in 5 years

Four years you mean.

I still think of her as an emerging artist, so weird to see she has three albums and that her debut was back in 2007.

taylormemer
July 13th 2011


4917 Comments


He father is a well respected producer/mixer so she has pretty much free reign.



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