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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Colbie Caillat implements new sounds in ‘Gypsy Heart’

Colbie Caillat

"Gypsy Heart"

Piano keys play, accompanied by an acoustic guitar, as a soft voice, filled with emotion, sings out. The singer repeats the word “you don’t have to try, try, try, try” joined by subtle beats in the background. This tranquil sound kicks off Colbie Caillat’s fifth album, “Gypsy Heart.”

Caillat’s newest album has a distinct style, which features upbeat and soulful acoustic songs. The California-based singer’s songs are melodically simple, yet still striking, and goes beyond the standards of pop thanks to varied instrumentals and sounds.

Listeners get a sense of country, rhythm and blues — and even reggae — in a number of her songs. As a result, the album sounds different than a typical pop record. The beats of the drums, piano and acoustic guitar play a role in her music, all combining to create a compelling, worldly sound. The American pop singer added some newfound rhythm and soul to this new album, and has drifted away from her fun, beachy tunes that launched her.

Caillat kicks off her album with the strong opener, “Live It Up.” It begins with her chanting the words “live it up I/ live it up I/ live it up I,” getting listeners excited, the lyrics of the song articulating an encouraging message to her audience. Caillat’s lyrics are full of sympathy, and as a result her lyrics are accessible to a large audience.

The track’s beat is powerful, with its enlivened drum pattern, and the melody carries Caillat’s stunning voice for the duration of the song. The beat of the song does not overpower the singer’s vocals, allowing listeners to hear and appreciate the rawness of her voice.

The pop singer-songwriter’s track “Floodgates” has a notably Mediterranean feel to it. This song has the “gypsy” rhythm that Caillat seems to be trying to achieve. The song begins with shimmering keys and a hand-clapping chorus, which carries through the entire song. However, her audience may not enjoy this gypsy rhythm, since it’s so unlike any of her other songs. It doesn’t have the “pop” sound that listeners may expect from this album, and while different, may impact the album’s accessibility.

“Gypsy Heart” can best be described as charming, with its hints of varying style in each song. From the encouragement of “Try” to the cheerful, yet different, beat in “Floodgates,” the California singer has rendered a delightful album that will consistently intrigue listeners.