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Breakthrough

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Audio CD, August 25, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2009 album from the award winning singer/songwriter, whose refreshing style and mesmerizing vocals captured a global following the past two years thanks to her breakout debut album Coco. For Breakthrough, Colbie worked with an impressive array of producers, songwriters, and artists including Grammy winning songsmiths such as Rick Nowels, Shanks, and acclaimed songwriter and 2009 American Idol judge, Kara DioGuardi. The charismatic artist even set up a hi-octane 'writing camp' in Hawaii last year, inviting familiar collaborators Jason Reeves and Mikal Blue and Kara DioGuardi to the creative free-for-all. Caillat and her team wrote 50 songs for the album and recorded 20. She played the music for a small group of fans to help her determine the final tracks that will make the album. Features the first single 'Fallin' For You'.

About the Artist

Last time around, Colbie Caillat was feeling "Bubbly," and the entire pop world seemed to want a sip. But this time, effervescence flirts with explosiveness. For her sophomore album, Breakthrough, Colbie has shaken up her sound, bringing in a wider array of producers and players, and significantly picking up the tempo at times from her debut effort's signature ballads. So keep an eye on those carbonation levels: champagne corks may fly.

You'd be hard-pressed to consider an album as accomplished and successful as Coco an accident, yet that's almost what Caillat's 2007 freshman release was. The sudden mania it created at radio and retail "was a surprise for me," Caillat says, "because I hadn't really been in this business yet. I hadn't been doing shows. I wasn't trying to get signed. I just was this girl who wrote songs and put them up on MySpace." By the time Coco was released to stores, "Bubbly" was already enough of an airplay sensation that the album debuted at No. 5. The massive success of a second single, "Realize," helped push the album to over 2 million shipments, in addition to almost 6 million individual digital tracks that were sold. "It all just happened naturally," says Caillat--"and now I have to keep up with it."

The making of Breakthrough was far more purposeful than the ramshackle sessions that became Caillat's first album. Whatever might have been lost in the way of charming naiveté is more than made up for with greater experience and heightened maturity. "When I found out I had six months to make this album it was so exciting, because my favorite part is being in the studio and having a chance to get it right. "

"We tried different versions of a lot of the songs--some raw and acoustic; some with lots of harmonies and others with 20 more instruments than needed to be there--just to see which version sounded best. We ended up having a lot of variety." But for all this diversification, there's at least one carry-over and constant: the front-and-center intimacy of Caillat's vocals, which fans already relate to coming through their ear buds like the voice of a warm and trusted friend.

Production credits for Breakthrough were split between two new helmers. One is hitmaker John Shanks, who's particularly known for his work with strong female artists like Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Alanis Morissette, and the Wreckers. The other new guy behind the boards is Ken Caillat, most renowned for his work on one of the top-selling albums of all time, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours... and also, not insignificantly, for being Colbie's father. Bringing things full circle, the new album was recorded at Village Recorders in West L.A., where Ken Caillat met his future wife and Colbie's mother-to-be when they were both working there during the making of Tusk.

Both John Shanks and Ken Caillat recorded basic tracks with a band playing live in the studio while Colbie sang along in the vocal booth. Beyond that similar approach to the early sessions, though, their approaches diverged. "My dad's recording is very organic and reveals the rawness and vulnerability in a song," she says. "And John Shanks is a great pop producer. His songs are perfect for radio."

"On this record, Caillat continues, "I was able to contribute a lot more of my production ideas into the recording. I had a better sense of how I know the songs should sound and feel, and what instruments should be added or taken away from them. Because I didn't get to do that on Coco, to really be able to make these songs completely my own was a special experience for me."

No one wanted to fix what wasn't broken about Coco, of course. At this time in music-business age where new stars aren't even being added to the firmament anymore, Caillat's success was as close to overnight as it gets. Two years after its July 2007 release, the debut is still in the top 100, and stands as the 12th biggest selling digital album of all time. "Bubbly" is the 21st best selling digital track ever, with sales of more than 2.8 million, and was a No. 1 smash at Hot AC radio for 19 weeks and AC for 17. The music videos for the first album's songs were streamed over 22 million times. "Bubbly" was named song of the year at the last BMI Awards, and Colbie tied for artist of the year, for that song and "Realize." She was named the winner of Billboard's Rising Star award, too, on top of nominations for the American Music Awards and Teen Choice Awards. If the bubble ain't broke, don't pop it, right?

Coming off such rare and covetable success, expanding the sonic palette beyond the mostly acoustic base of Coco for the new album wasn't undertaken lightly. "I didn't want to stray too far too fast from what my fans are used to from me," she says. "But I did want to grow and experiment and work with different people. I searched for the right balance."

Caillat expanded her circle of co-writers as well as producers, sitting down to work with hitcrafter-turned-Idolmaker Kara DioGuardia (who helped write three tracks, including "Begin Again") and Rick Nowels, who says, "I've worked with some really good writers--Madonna, Dido, Nelly Furtado, Jewel--and I'm just really impressed with Colbie's songwriting. She's got her own voice and lyrical and melodic point of view; she's what I call a natural. And she's a proper singer-songwriter, which is a breath of fresh air today. I think everybody responds to strong songs sung emotionally, and everybody responds to real."

On Breakthrough, the emotional highs are higher, and the lows arguably lower. "All the songs are definitely about the roller coaster of being in a relationship--happy, sad, breaking up, falling in love, just the whole cycle of it," she says. At the crest of this coaster, there's the first single, "Falling for You," which might be described as wearing its heart on its sleeve, if the tune's upbeat feel didn't conjure a kind of summer sleevelessness. "I had gone out on this `friends' date, and I realized I started liking him more than I thought I did," Caillat explains. "I was on cloud nine over this guy, thinking I was falling for him, so I wrote about everything we did hanging out the day before." Think "Bubbly" squared and gone to the beach.

But, in keeping with that coaster analogy, the album doesn't lack for romantic free-falls. "A lot of the songs from both Coco and the new album are about the same poor guy that I keep torturing in some way," she laughs. Knowing that he was more invested in the relationship than she was, she's written a number of songs from this boyfriend's point of view--including the hopeful "Realize" on the last album and the resigned but brave "Fearless" on this one. "The song `Fearless' is sung by someone who's having their heart broken--but I really haven't been broken-hearted yet, so that song was me kind of switching it around from his perspective. I wrote it as him saying to me that he's fearless and this won't damage him for future relationships. The opening lines are, `It that's the way you love? You've got to learn so much.' And I really do have a lot to learn about love.

"All the songs have a different twist," Caillat continues. "It may not be exactly what happened to me, but it's happened in a situation that I've learned from or been watching. I wrote `Breaking At the Cracks' about one of my parents' friends who I've known my entire life. Everything in her life came crashing down on her at the same time: her mother died, her dogs died, then her father died, and finally her husband left her. I was on tour and my heart was hurting for her. So I started playing my guitar and crying while I was singing, imagining what it would take to get yourself out of that depression and get your life back together. That was another song that had nothing to do with me, but I was expressing someone else's emotions, like I was sending a message to the world for them."

Having just been a fan herself until recently, Caillat thinks about how her most emotional songs will click with her own followers. "Because I know a Coldplay song like `Fix You,' when I'm having a bad day, I can put it on and just pour my heart out--and then five minutes later, I'm ready for a smile again. So I want to have the perfect mixture of having those kinds of songs that you can cry to when you've had a horrible day, and these upbeat, fun songs you can listen to at the beach or when you're driving."

Breakthrough's title track is another ruminative song about a friend's experience--in this case, that of Colbie's best pal, who has long been estranged from her father and continues to desperately desire a breakthrough in her relationship with him. But when Caillat applied the title to the album, it took on a different, more celebrative, strictly personal meaning.

"I'm 24, and I'm still trying to grow up as a woman and find out who I am and be comfortable in my own skin," she says. "I had gone through this very hard time where I was really down on myself, and I just kind of wanted to take the easy route and drop everything hard that was getting in my way. And I realized I had to step up and get past that. It took me a while, but I did finally break through my fears and insecurities. And that's why I felt that that would be a great album title, especially for my younger fans."

A newly minted star who's still discovering her boundaries, Caillat tries t to stay open and even vulnerable. "You keep your guard up with some of the people that you meet. But I also think that fans should know who you are, and why be afraid of it? It's like that feeling you get when you see someone on YouTube with no makeup on or acting silly--whatever it is that you normally do--and it's like `Oh, they're doing it too, and it's okay, we can be who we are.' You just have to remind yourself not to hide what you do and who you are, because people like seeing that."

That's something Caillat clearly hasn't forgotten with this bigger, better, and even more intimate album. Finding out that increased amplitude and heightened transparency aren't mutually exclusive after all--that's the stuff that true bust outs are made of.



Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 25, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Republic
  • ASIN: B002DHSGVI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,240 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By WestGrl VINE VOICE on August 30, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This was my first time experiencing Colbie other then her singles on the radio from her first CD. I didn't buy her first CD but I was itching for something new & saw this listed in the new releases so after previewing some songs I decided to buy it. So glad I did. Colbie has a wonderful voice. The songs are very catchy but just different enough to make them stand apart from everything on the radio today. It's rare I can say I enjoyed every song on a CD but in this case, I did! It's full of talent from the songwriting, the music & her lovely voice!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Hoffman on August 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Anyone who owns Colbie's 1st CD won't be disappointed or surprised in her sophomore effort. After first listen, I can see where a few singles might come from this album. It's a light, fun, easy listen. She's not reinventing herself and I'd prefer it no other way. I'll be listening to this for awhile.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bassic on September 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I don't think Breakthrough has Colbie's "soul" that Coco had. A bit pop-ish and seems more commercial, so it didn't grab me like her first album. But no doubt it's good material and a nice second album from Colbie.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Shope on September 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an ok offering, mediocre at best. I'm very disappointed. People in the recording industry still don't get it. I'm mean come on, how many times do MySpace break out artists have to show these idiots what the public wants. This CD is much more produced and glossy than CoCo. Most of the intimate, raw, acoustic pop feel of Colbie's first CD has been stripped away. We are left with polished, studio, high production, mass market rubbish that is a dime a dozen and offers little appeal. Yes, there are few good songs, but Colbies first CD was something special. I'm kicking myself for even buying this one. I've listened to it dozens of times now, thinking I need to really give it a chance and yet, still not loving it. Once this CD goes on the shelf, I doubt I will ever play it again. It's not that it's awful, it's just that it's so not special compared to her first CD. By the way, I also don't like the cover art at all. Again, it looks way to polished. Note to Colbie: If you want a major success on your next CD, do a much more stripped down, raw, acoustic set.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Al G. on January 28, 2010
Format: Audio CD
"Breakthrough [Deluxe Edition]" is currently selling for the same price as this album. All the extra songs on the Deluxe edition are tacked onto the end of the album. If you are considering buying this album, you have nothing to lose from buying the Deluxe Edition instead. I have listened to both this edition first, and later listened to the Deluxe edition instead.

As for this album, well, it's slickly produced but has quite a good few songs on it. My favorites are, in order on the album, "Fallin' For You" (4), "Droplets" (6), "Fearless" (8), and "Break Through" (10). As you can see, the best songs are spaced out well in the first two-thirds of this album, which allows you to get to know the filler in between. And the filler isn't merely filler, in my opinion. So I rate this very good, although the slick production may turn off some fans. Specifically, the lullaby-quality folk-tinged songs that Colbie is best known for, such as "Bubbly," aren't apparent on this album due to the layered, slick production of these songs - except for "Breakin' At the Cracks" (12), which in my opinion is not one of the stronger songs on this album.

In fact, "Begin Again" (2) is so overproduced that it ends up sounding like a country song. All it needs is fitting hokey country lyrics and a steel guitar or banjo - then it would be a run-of-the-mill Nashville song. "Breakin' at the Cracks" (12) is the only song among these that does have an acoustic instrumental quality. For some people, there were too many cooks in the kitchen producing these songs, but I do think most of them end up sounding catchy and they do hold up to multiple listens. I'll give it a 4 out of 5.

Anyways, go check the Deluxe edition already.
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By Ken on July 23, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I always loved colbie ever since the first time I heard bubbly in 2007. Her voice is so soothing, I love "breakin'at the cracks"...even though most people say this isn't her stronger track just listen to it she puts so much emotion into this song the last part of that song so emotional I even teared up. Follow this song up with "fearless" when your down and out just let yourself know your going to make it and your fearless. You can't help but love the great duet voices on "droplets" with Jason reeves it makes you think about that person you love that you let go but can't turn back. "I won't" great song if your in love with someone but their love for you isn't as great but let that person know you won't stop feeling or forget and pretend that your not that persons lover but they make you feel like a friend instead of the other. "you got me" such a fun beautiful song what else can I say :D but you got me. "begin again" you just want that rocky relationship to get better and you want to start it all over again and forget about the past what happened, what was said etc.. :). "fallin' for you" great song name explains itself probably a good choice for the first single off this album. "rainbow" ?? Don't really listen to it much :( but it can grow on you. "runnin' around" runnin' around trying to find you and fix the mistakes that happened just like those movies where their love one is about to leave and that person might not be able to see or talk to them so try to catch that person and let them know how you feel before you make the worst mistake in your life. "breakthrough" <3 this song just like the other songs of the rocky relationship. "I never told you" great song a bit sad but generally saying that I never told you I loved you when you really loved them.....all these songs are great this one should be in the collection next to Taylor swift if you listen to Taylor swift.
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