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Album review: Colbie Caillat's 'All of You'

July 12, 2011 |  7:43 am

Colby caillat 1
“All I’m asking is for you please to take control and be set free,” sings Colbie Caillat on her new studio disc, and though the line actively resists being parsed, it happens to say something foundational about this Malibu native’s creative project: Like the two nearly identical albums that preceded it, “All of You” puts a significant amount of force into the illusion of effortlessness; its scrim of summer-fun abandon obscures a stage busy with high-level record-making. It shows in her collaborations: “Breakthrough,” from 2009, featured contributions from Kara DioGuardi and John Shanks, both veterans of Ashlee Simpson’s excellent 2004 debut. Here, Caillat recruits Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Toby Gad, who co-wrote Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy.”

When Caillat and her partners are at their best on “All of You” — as in the limpid “I Do,” one of several songs that the singer says documents her ongoing relationship with her guitarist — you buy the hocus-pocus without regret. When they aren’t, the problem isn’t that you suddenly see what’s supposed to remain out of view; rather, it’s that a song as precisely tooled as the reggae-lite “Think Good Thoughts” ends up glancing off your consciousness before it can make an impact. It sounds so much like a hit that you forget to do the work of remembering it.

Colbie Caillat
“All of You”
Universal Republic
Two and a half stars (Out of four)

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 --Mikael Wood

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