With Gypsy Heart, Colbie Caillat showed herself off at her most produced state thus far; her pop rock style met with a more modernised synth-driven sound, still very much noticeable as a Caillat album but more up to date. Now, for The Malibu Sessions—her first album on her independent label PlummyLou Records—she returns to a more natural sound, and ultimately creates an entertaining if not somewhat safe album.
The Malibu Sessions opens on a somewhat unexpected note. Gypsy Heart opens with the breezy sounds of the beach as layers of harmonising vocals sing over the top; a beautiful intro, but one that doesn’t last long before it runs full force into an acoustic rock track. And unsurprisingly, this is the route most of the album follows. The breezy vibe continues on most of the tracks, and she does play around with different styles somewhat as she takes a stab at reggae on Only You and throws in a few acoustic ballads near the end of the album, but there’s a dominant pop rock style across most of the album.
Aside from the surprise factor of Only You and its reggae style, very few tracks truly stand out on The Malibu Sessions. The songs that do stand out tend to be the ones that feature a more substantial production, namely Good Thing with its use of synths and reverb in a way that’s more pop than anything else on the album, and Runnin which is ultimately lighter but features some production tricks as well. Additionally, Goldmine stands out for its sheer positivity even though it feels similar to many other moments on the album. The similarities among many tracks isn’t a major detracting factor, though; while songs can slip your mind or merge into each other, it’s a perfect piece for setting the tone or simply boosting your own mood with its unrelenting sunny attitude.
The Malibu Sessions may not be Colbie Caillat’s most surprising or inventive creation to date, but it takes some of the better elements of her older music and repurposes them into a breezy, sunny collection of tracks that you’d be hard pressed to hate. The Malibu Sessions easily feels like something that needed to happen for Caillat as she shows off her more enjoyable carefree side.