Colbie Caillat’s sweetness turned a little too syrupy on her sophomore set, Breakthrough, so it’s a relief to hear a bit of a snap to the sunny songs on 2011’s All of You. It’s a difference evident in the rhythms -- she’s not just strumming, she’s swinging, sometimes urged along by handclaps -- it’s a difference evident in the bigger, bolder melodies and, most of all, it’s evident in the production, the record bubbling with textures and colors that keep Caillat from succumbing to her inherent pleasantness. Colbie is so cheerful she even brings warmth to notoriously chilly hitmaker Ryan Tedder, who nobly sacrifices his sheets of sounds at the altar of Caillat’s beachside pop because there is no darkening her sun.
The Malibu songbird’s sound — full of carefree acoustic strums and beach-ready romance — is built for blandness, so her greatest struggle has always been breaking through all that aggressive pleasantness. Luckily, her third album, All of You, proves there’s more to her than a smile and a hair toss. Caillat plays with rhythmic touches (the high-spirited handclaps on ”Brighter Than the Sun”) and adds a dollop of country heartbreak to both her voice and her lyrics.
On her third album, All of You, Colbie Caillat continues to straddle the fence between her two lucrative personas: bubblegum-country torch singer and breezy, beach-pier romantic. She proves to be far more convincing as the former here, churning out perfectly serviceable, CMT-ready ballads like “All of You” and “Make It Rain” that stick closely to the formula she established with Taylor Swift on their 2008 duet “Breathe. ” Ironically, though, the Malibu singer-songwriter stumbles when she’s in beach mode; her delivery is too stilted, her arrangements too tightly wound, and her songwriting too contrived to persuasively convey the easygoing bliss of some summertime oasis.
Californian singer brings Common and Ryan Tedder aboard for album number three. Mike Diver 2011 You can be forgiven for not having heard the name Colbie Caillat all that frequently. Although the Californian singer’s second album, 2009’s Breakthrough, was titled with increased public visibility clearly in mind, it failed to reach the UK top 100 (a disappointing performance, given her debut of 2007, Coco, peaked at 44).