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Music Review: Colbie Caillat – Coco

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Recently a friend asked me what I thought of Colbie Caillat, and at the mere mention of her name I was flooded with the feelings of girlish pleasure I used to experience every time I listened to her song “Bubbly” on her MySpace page. Colbie Caillat is one of the new generation of MySpace success stories. However, instead of self-releasing her music and raking in tons of money while thumbing her nose at the big record labels, she was, by sheer weight of the number of “friends” she had on MySpace and the number of plays that her MySpace profile received – reportedly near 10 million — signed to Universal Republic (UR) records. And now, the fruits of her association with UR have been released, and her beautifully sweet, romantically girlish sounds can be heard on her debut LP Coco.

Coming from virtual rock royalty – her father is legendary record producer Ken Caillat who produced for Alice Cooper, the Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, and most notably Fleetwood Mac (Rumours and Mirage) – and spending so much time around music and professional musicians are probably why such a young artist (22) has such a mature and well developed sound. Despite this maturity Caillat imbues her music with feelings of happiness, innocence and a joyous life lived in the sand, sea, and sun. Her particular brand of acoustic folk-pop is fresh faced, guileless, and winsome. Caillat’s music magically transforms me into a giggly girl falling in love for the first time, making me feel young, beautiful, and utterly beatific.

Colbie CaillatI think in many ways you must be female to understand and truly enjoy Caillat’s simple melodies and lyrics, written, as they are, from a female perspective. So where some may find her music sickly saccharine, childish, and flaccid, I see engaging pureness, teasing silliness, and the appealing nature of simplicity. To me Coco is a triumph of delicate beauty and captivating honesty, over pretentious political metaphor or cryptically expressed romanticism — which some will mistake for artistic merit. While this album will without doubt, have wide general appeal, that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes the masses ARE right.

Coco begins with “Oxygen”, acoustic guitar, piano, simple bass and drum is all that makes up the uncluttered music leaving room for the sincere, unpretentious lyrics. And for me Caillat is all about the lyrics — “I found a boy who had a dream/ Making everyone smile/ He was sunshine/ I fell over my feet/ Like bricks underwater” and “Oh baby if I was your lady/ I would make you happy…/ Oh baby I will be your lady/ I am going crazy for you”. All this sung in Caillat’s perfect golden toned voice that never misses a single note, thought or feeling and is always sprightly, honeyed, and blissfully smooth.

“One Fine Wire” is a song about those coming of age thoughts we all have, our struggles to find ourselves and our balance in the complicated adult world, or, even after we are adults and lose our balance or fight to juggle the demands of… everything. With a lively effervescent chorus this is happy-despite-life’s-woes song. “Bubbly”, the song that got Caillat noticed, is a perfect, gladsome, engaging love song that absolutely captures the feeling that women get when happily in love. It’s simple backing music of acoustic and electric guitar, some synth, bass and drum, accomplices the light-hearted lyrics “You've got me feelin' like a child now/ 'Cause every time I see your bubbly face/ I get the tingles in a silly place”. And the chorus of “They start in my toes/ And I crinkle my nose/ Wherever it goes/ I always know/ That you make me smile/ Please stay for a while now”…

Other tracks that make my heart feel light and merry are “Feelings Show”, “Realise”, “Tailor Made” and “Tied Down”. And my personal favourite track, “Magic”, has a more sensual, lustful feel to it with decidedly big-girl lyrics:

“You've got magic inside your finger tips
It’s leaking out all over my skin
Every time that I get close to you

You’re makin’ me weak with the way you
Look through those eyes

And all I see is your face
All I need is your touch
Wake me up with your lips
Come at me from up above
Yeaaaa, oh I need you”

Caillat has managed to capture the essences of being female and in love. Caillat knows — when some do not — that when a woman of any age is under the influence of that first blush of love she is a mischievous little girl, a giggly, flirty teenager, and grown lustful woman all at the same time. With Coco Colbie Caillat expresses all of these feelings with winsome, congenial, and folksy songs. I would like to dedicate this review to the man who reminded me of Caillat’s music and inspired me to write this review, as he also inspires me to giggle girlishly, blush sweetly and lust with my grown-up heart. 

If you would like to hear Coco you can visit Colbie Caillat’s MySpace page, or her own website where you can see the video for “Bubbly”.

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About A.L. Harper

  • Kath

    You want singer/songwriters that capture that giddy feeling of being in love or having a crush? Try Amy Rigby (“Backpack”, “All the Way to Heaven”), or Kirsty Maccoll (“Head”). They “capture the essences of being female and in love” without what is, in my opinion, overly sweet singing and moon-June-spoon rhyming.

    Sorry, I’m just missing what all the fuss is about, I guess…

  • Kath

    Correction: The song by Amy Rigby is called “Knapsack”, NOT “Backpack.” (Oh, and another song recommendation by the same artist — “Time For Me to Come Down.”)