Ciara – Ciara album review

It’s been a long and winding road for Ciara Harris since her 2004 introduction via the sensuous, Lil Jon-produced thump that was “Goodies.”

Initially an artist that appeared to be an obvious one hit wonder, the ATL-ien flipped the script and churned out hit after hit for the next three years before the gravy train stopped.

Seven years after her last hit album–2006’s The Evolution–with two failed albums (and celebrity romances), several stalled first singles and a greatly diminished public profile, Ciara looked like she’d finally reached the “here today, gone tomorrow” wall that she seemed so destined to hit immediately after “Goodies”’ runaway success.

That was until “Body Party.”

The track’s sensual, almost narcotic haze—built upon a classic, memory triggering sample of fellow Atlanta natives (and actual one hit wonders) Ghost Town DJ’s “My Boo—isn’t just one of the best singles of the year, it’s also one of the best songs that Ciara’s ever done.

“Body Party’”s status—her first R&B top ten hit in three years and a certified summer smash—aims as being thr opening salvo in the singer’s commercial resurgence (since an artist like Ciara is rooted firmly in the charts).

So why is Ciara—her fifth release—so forgettable?

“Party” easily proves to be the brief, ten-track set’s lone high point. Producer Mike Will—the man behind “Party”’s slow-grind magic—proves that magic doesn’t always strike twice on “Where You Go”, a duet with Ciara’s current beau Future (who shares executive producer status on the disc with the singer and reunited mentor L.A. Reid). While Future’s auto-tuned “oohs” on “Party” further accentuate the song’s unhurried sensual crawl, his croon on “Go” clashes significantly with his duet partner’s featherweight falsetto.  Far blander than Future’s collaboration with Ciara’s rival and fellow vocally limited pop&B chanteuse Rihanna’s “Loveeeeee Song”, the pop-aiming ballad is an easy miss.

Ciara’s voice, a malleable, almost non-existent coo, is in the same vein as Janet Jackson and Aaliyah—the two starlets whose footsteps she clearly follows. Like Jackson and Aaliyah, her almost weightless vocal presence makes her a producer’s wet dream. Her voice is merely just another sound that smoothly blends into a track’s soundscape. Yet, while Jackson and Aaliyah both prospered musically, thanks to chemistry with one production unit—Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Timbaland, respectively–Ciara and Ciara—which nearly features a different producer on each track–has not.

Along with the generally tossed-off nature of most of the songs, Ciara’s main flaw is its lack of direction. It’s obvious that both Ciara and her handlers are throwing many potential stabs at the charts and seeing what sticks. While that’s not a bad aim from a business standpoint, it doesn’t do much for believability. Whether she’s the “too fly for this” ex (on “I’m Out”, one of two duets with Nicki Minaj), the too-hot-to-resist vixen that’s playing hard to get (“Keep on Lookin’”), or sexually assertive cunnilingus advocate (“Read My Lips”, which sounds eerily similar to Taylor Swift’s “You Belong To Me”), she sounds like she’s singing from a teleprompter. This lack of identity becomes even more evident when she tries to convey aggression (see “Super Turnt Up”, which features a rather unconvincing rap from the lady herself).  The album’s attempts at catering to Top 40 trends—most evident during the disc’s second half, most explicitly on the Euro pop bounce closer “Overdose”-seemed similarly forced.

Caught between the pursuit of commercial resurgence and the expression of her own burgeoning womanhood, Ciara’s goal of achieving both ultimately seems perilous at best.


The Problem with Leakage

It seems like no one really has to wait until official release dates anymore to get a listen to new albums. The rule of thumb is: the more popular the artist, the earlier his or her tracks leak, and the faster they spread. Just ask Ciara. While her latest album can’t exactly be considered a flop, it’s definitely no fantasy ride, as pretty much the entire project leaked to the internet weeks and weeks before it was due to be released. You just can’t hit them listeners like you used to – and when it comes to responsibility, again, larger projects means more people being involved and more people being involved means a higher chance of someone letting something slip.

Then again, leaking one track early has the potential to make your entire album – if it’s good enough. Usher’s “Yeah!” (how could we forget?) lit everything on fire when Lil’ Jon, its producer, deliberately let it loose while Usher was prepping “Burn” as the lead single. Fans loved it, critics loved it, and Confessions went Diamond in the US (that’s Platinum status times ten for you people who’ve never heard of it). Brilliant marketing tactic… or just crazy luck?

Off the top of my head, upcoming artists whose albums in danger of pulling a Leona Lewis include: Ryan Leslie (although it’s doubtful because he’s writing and producing everything himself); Rihanna (although it’s unbelievable how tightly under wraps her new project is); Mary J Blige (she is working with quite a few producers); and of course, Usher (can you say high-profile??). While fans who just can’t wait for new music may benefit from all this lack of discretion, admittedly, it’s pretty damaging to the artists themselves. You’ve got artists like Cassie who are leaking songs every day, and although it’s not clear whether or not this is being done deliberately, it’s definitely not helping their careers – from what we’re seeing now, at least.

Rihanna’s new album is by far the most interesting out of the upcoming releases; she may not be the best singer, but everything she touches turns to gold. What I can’t fathom is how no one, apart from her camp, has any information whatsoever about her fourth album. It’s slated to drop in November, but as of right there isn’t even a hint as to what the name may be. Impressive. It’s doubtful that she’ll last all the way to the day of release without at least a song leaking (apart from the lead single), but the building anticipation promises pandemonium – could this be the antithesis to Usher in 2004? Or will a major leakage happen and make this just another warning for artists and producers who want to leak tracks without knowing what they’re doing?


Top 5: Michael Jackson Wannabes

You know that really bad cliché about truly great artists who will never die? These five artists are doing their best to make sure this cliché stays alive for the King of Pop.


He sings like him, glides like him, and owes 99.9% of his success to the late Michael Jackson. Usher’s R&B crown rests largely on the gloves and the smooth moves, trademarks of the original King of Pop. Apart from dance, Usher and Michael Jackson share an almost fanatical support from the African-American community at their respective heights of popularity. MJ’s influence on Usher’s performance style is so thorough that anyone who calls himself a fan of Usher (whether he knows it or not) is inevitably a fan of the man who originally popularized the moonwalk. Just sayin’.

Justin Timberlake

You could call Usher the black Michael Jackson… or you could call Justin Timberlake the white Michael Jackson. At the risk of getting a “Too soon,” I’ll just keep my mouth shut. What’s there left to say? Ever since he ditched ‘N Sync, JT has made no secret about his love for Michael Jackson. His first ever solo performance at the VMAs had the fedora, the gloves, Michael-Jackson-inspired choreography, and falsetto after falsetto. Even after his music started transitioning toward a more rock and even electronic sound, JT is not afraid to experiment and take risks. Just like someone who released Thriller back in ’82. If Michael Jackson were 25 years-old today, he’d be Justin Timberlake. Except for the… never mind.

Chris Brown

Chris, Chris, Chris. If it weren’t for his shocking assault on Rihanna, he’d be one of the biggest stars of this generation. Originally touted as the next Usher, this 20 year-old can literally dance his shoes off – as if you can be the next Usher without knowing how to do a decent glide. His singing leaves a bit to be desired, but hey. Like every other artist on this list, Chris Brown’s dancing is the most immediate connection to the legacy that Michael Jackson left behind; his tribute performances of Billie Jean and Thriller make that much clear. Now if only he can do something about that voice – oh and fix his ruined image.


Music, check. Fashion, check. Dancing – well, Ne-Yo poses more than dances, but close enough. Check. Shaffer Smith is the closest to what Michael Jackson would’ve been if he’d stuck with R&B instead of experimenting with different genres. He rocks the fedora too, but that might be more of a sneaky way to hide his receding hairline. Ne-Yo even has his own equivalent of MJ’s signature hiccup: the holler. Except of course it doesn’t sound as cool as the hiccup and he really overdoes it. And the choreography… it’s strange because the man tries to move, he really does. He has maybe two or three go-to moves/poses that come up about ten times per performance – check them out, they’re not hard to miss. Compared to the others on this list though, Ne-Yo is nowhere near the prolific dancers they are. Song-writing’s his bread and butter, and it’s probably better that way.


The only female on the list, Ciara Princess Harris has no problem taking risks with her choreography – just like… guess who. The woman who comes closest to putting on the moves like Ciara is probably Michael’s sister, Janet Jackson. Like Chris Brown, Ciara’s singing has a long way to go before she can get anywhere close to MJ’s level, and honestly, I can tell you it isn’t happening anytime soon. Her tribute performance of “Heal the World” is perfect evidence. Cici’s “1, 2 Step,” fortunately, is on point and her dancing is the best tribute that she could give the King of Pop.

Busta Rhymes

Janet Jackson – Feedback remix featuring Ciara, Busta Rhymes and Fabolous

Janet Jackson releases the OFFICIAL “Feedback” REMIX featuring Ciara, Busta Rhymes and Fabolous.

Download link

Audition to be Ciara’s Backup Dancer

Audition to be Ciara’s Backup Dancer
Ciara is hard at work in the studio on her next album! Now she’s looking for dancers with fresh, raw talent who can hold their own as Ciara’s backup dancer. She will be holding auditions in the following cities below so don’t miss your chance. Think you got moves? Come on out and show Ciara what you’ve got!

Atlanta – 02/22/08
Friday @ 11AM
Gotta Dance Atlanta
1778 Elisworth Industrial Drive., NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

Miami – 03/02/08
Sunday @ 11AM
Dance Attack Studio
13424 SW 131st Street
Miami, FL 33186

New York – 03/09/08
Sunday @ 11AM
New Dance Group
305 West 38th Street
2nd Floor
New York, New York 10018

Los Angeles – 03/16/08
Sunday @ 11AM
Millennium Dance Studio
5113 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

50 cent Ciara G-Unit Videos

Ciara featuring 50 Cent- Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone Video

Ciara featuring 50 Cent- Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone Video

Ciara Interviews

Ciara Interview

Ciaraby Felecia Hatcher

MVRemix: I know you must have a lot of things planned for 2007 what’s your New Year’s resolution?

Ciara: I haven’t really thought about it. I’m pretty sure one of my goals for next year is to be more focused and make sure I meet my deadlines and really stay on it. I have a lot of business goals and they are possible I just have to really stay on it.

MVRemix: I’ve noticed on this album you have taken on a more sexier tone, was that all on you or did you have others influence you to take that approach?

Ciara: Honestly, I’m just being me, beginning with this album, and the title of my album I felt that it was perfect because I had evolved as an artist and a women. In this case a lot of the things you have seen me do are just natural changes, I’m just growing. Even with the “Get Up” video that was something different. Even with the “Promise” video when I was thinking about the making the first scene from my video I thought this was perfect, the track alone just makes a statement. The record is different then what people are used to hearing from me. This record does have a more mature sound, I guess you can say sexier, but honestly I’m just being me and doing what comes to me naturally.

Original Article (extended)

Ciara Interviews

Ciara has very Valuable Goodies

Ciaraby Hugo Lunny

Listening to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” seemed to influence us all at one point in some way. But amongst all the material that floats around, it truly grabbed a young girl from Atlanta, serving as one of the reasons she became inspired to create her own music.

Few of us can remember having a bank account at eighteen that rivals that of most adult professionals. In fact, at eighteen, I don’t believe I have that much exceptional experience to shower people with stories of. Definitely little in comparison to that of “Crunk & B” superstar Ciara, who states that she is in reality, a “simple” girl. A simple girl who has achieved platinum sales before being able to have a drink legally.

Original Article (extended)

Original Article (Interview transcripts)

Ciara – Can’t Leave Em Alone featuring 50 Cent

Ciara – Can’t Leave Em Alone featuring 50 Cent

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