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CD Review: Colbie Caillat

Breakthrough (Universal Republic)

In the early '70s, Mattel introduced Malibu Barbie, a blonde and tanned version of the toy that came with several summery outfits. The litigious Mattel lawyers might have a case against Colbie Caillat. It's as if the leggy SoCal-based singer-songwriter is the living embodiment of Malibu Barbie. The CD's photos of her frolicking on the beach only confirm the comparison. The follow-up to 2007's Coco, a MySpace sensation turned platinum seller, Breakthrough returns Caillat to the heartbreak that made her debut such as smash. "This is not the way it should end/It's the way it should begin," she croons on "Begin Again," a tune so tepid it makes you wonder if she's ever truly experienced a breakup. At one point she's falling in love ("You Got Me"); the next she's falling out of it ("Fearless"). It's all rather rote, but a gang of studio musicians and guest producers work hard to employ pianos, horns and strings to make every tune sound lush and gorgeous. It's no wonder Caillat keeps her vocals in check throughout the entire album. Niesel

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