You may not have heard of Kimberly Caldwell – Without Regret, released today, is her debut full-length – but you may get the sense that the singer sounds a bit familiar. That may be because Caldwell has released music before, but it may also be because the slick production and pop-smart songwriting has a lot in common with music you’re hearing on the radio now. Or perhaps you caught her on the second season of American Idol. Either way, Without Regret (download right here) is worth a listen.
Album opener “Desperate Girls and Stupid Boys” channels Katy Perry both in the boys vs. girls subject matter but also through the thumping chorus with half-sung, half-spoken vocals. While it’s not the most sophisticated music ever, the style on this and other tracks indicates that Caldwell will likely enjoy some success with this release.
“Heart Like Mine” is a radio-ready anthem in which Caldwell sings, “I’d rather let you break my heart and live with your mistakes.” The track offers piano and electric guitar, which is a nice reprieve from a pop landscape dominated by synthesizers. “Naked” features a triumphant chorus tucked between steady, string-backed verses. The next track, “Hotter Without You” is a not-so-found farewell to an ex, making it a good addition to your girls’ night out soundtrack.
Caldwell shows that all of her tracks don’t have to be upbeat pop anthems when she switches things up with the brooding, contemplative, “Say Love.” “Why is it so hard for you to say love? You’re broken and you’re breaking us,” Caldwell croons, her voice trembling with authentic emotion.
The following tracks, “Mess of You” and “If You’re Gonna Fall” offer different feels than the rest of the album, with the latter boasting some minimalistic but catchy guitar work.
“Taking Back My Life” is a slow, powerful broken-heart ballad, and the track is juxtaposed nicely with the following song, “Going Going Gone,” an upbeat power-pop track in which Caldwell asserts her independence. The penultimate track, “Frozen,” has a singer-songwriter feel thanks to the steady strumming of the guitar, and it’s a solid track that stands out stylistically.
The album closes with “Human After All,” shows off Caldwell’s range and vocal talent, thanks to the unobtrusive backing instrumentation and gradually developing melody.
Without Regret isn’t the most original or stunning debut of all time, but it is an impressive pop record and its sound bodes well for Caldwell’s future. If you’re a fan of Katy Perry and other leading ladies of pop, feel free to pick up this album without any regrets.