While she oddly released an EP with the first 5 songs from the album a couple months ago, we are now getting the full 13-track Gypsy Heart album from Colbie Caillat. Across her 3 previous albums (and a Christmas album), Colbie has perfected the breezy pop-reggae sound that sounds like it belongs on a beach. She tends to keep the production pretty simple with a heavy focus on acoustic instruments. Just listen to her biggest hits “Bubbly”, “Brighter Than The Sun”, and my personal favourite, “Tied Down”.
For Gypsy Heart, Colbie showcases that sound on her first single, “Try”, the song that became a viral sensation earlier this summer. The simplistic sound continues on the toe-tapping “Never Gonna Let You Down”, and on the cute “Land Called Far Away”. But surprisingly, Colbie largely leaves behind her island sound for full pop productions. It works well on the super catchy “Live It Up”, “Blaze”, and “If You Love Me Let Go”, but it’s the second half of the album where Colbie really loses her unique appeal.
“Nice Guys”, “Floodgates”, “Just Like That”, “Break Free”, and “Never Getting Over You” are cliched pop-rock songs that any B-level female singer could be doing. They all sound like tracks that a newcomer would be recording because they don’t know what their own personal style is. Colbie does, so not sure why she went this route. Dozens of other female voices could be subbed in on the tracks and it wouldn’t make any difference. The songs leave no impression at all.
It’s not until track 12 that we get another decent track: “Bigger Love”. It’s still a full-blown pop song, but its pounding, explosive chorus is reminiscent of OneRepublic. That’s the one bright spot in the second half of the album, cause things wrap up with the boring “Him Or You”.
Colbie has had such a unique appeal, it’s a shame that she would decide to conform to convention on Gypsy Heart. If you just cut down the album to the first 6 tracks, and add in “Bigger Love”, you’ve got a decent new collection from Colbie. Just forget the rest.