You know that ditsy, naïve, overly cheerful girl in class you just can’t stand? That’s Colbie Caillat on her sophomore album, Breakthrough, a dim-witted collection of redundant, uninspired and excessively sunny boy-crush songs.
I’ll be the first to admit my soft spot for Colbie Caillat and her deliciously raspy voice; Coco was a solid feel-good debut album with a variety of catchy and laid-back (though by no means revolutionary) acoustic pop songs. So when Breakthrough came out last week, I wanted to like it. I really did.
But where Coco was warm and refreshing, Breakthrough is trite and sluggish — so much so that it’s almost impossible to get through. OK, Caillat, we get it: You’re a Cali-girl with a nice tan and blonde hair, you like boys and you love to feel ooey-gooey inside.
There’s a point when sweet becomes too sweet and ooey-gooey becomes just plain sticky. Breakthrough reaches that point — fast.
The album’s first single, “Fallin’ For You,” says a lot about the record as a whole. The tune is formulaic and forgettable, not to mention sappy and unimaginative (I’ve been spendin’ all my time / Just thinkin’ ‘bout you / I don’t know what to do / I think I’m fallin’ for you). Still, it’s one of the less annoying songs on the album.
A few other tolerable songs on the record include opener “I Won’t,” and possibly the only song on the album that entertains the idea that we experience emotions other than love-struck giddiness, “I Never Told You.”
Breakthrough also includes a previously written song, “Droplets,” featuring honey-voiced singer-songwriter Jason Reeves. The song is a bright moment on the otherwise dull record; still, the album version is rather disappointing, over-produced and nowhere near as magical as the acoustic version.
The rest of Breakthrough is remarkable only in its extraordinary ability to make you want to gag — one warm, fuzzy, monotonous song after another. One can only digest so much sappiness before feelings of extreme nausea begin to take hold.
“You Got Me” is the album’s standout cringe-inducing track, an unbearably bland number with lyrics to insult your intelligence: I like you, I like you, Caillat divulges. Oh, I just can’t get enough. Well, we can, and we do — in the first 10 seconds of the song.
Breakthrough falls victim not only to the sophomore slump, but also to the offenses repeated time and time again by the pop music industry. The album is repetitive, uninspired and lacking in depth, never failing to give off the impression that it was written by a 13-year-old girl in her bedroom.
Caillat is the kind of person who’s really hard to hate, someone so bubbly and laid-back that it’s almost impossible to imagine anyone ever shaking his fists in fury at the sound of her name.
But after the torture she put me through with Breakthrough, she might just have to watch her back. I’m slow to forgive.