Ciara: 'Fantasy Ride' Review

Being an R n' B fan in the UK is like being a surfer in the UK. You wait, and you wait, and you wait for that big wave, while over in America the scene is seemingly bustling with hot acts and new material all the time. Over here we have to make do with a bit of Rihanna and then listen to Chris Moyles for another two hours. A lot of acts like Amerie, Paula Deanda and Cassie are barely even promoted here. So when a new album does come out it’s an event worthy of celebration… if only because the videos might change for once on TMF in the gym (Die Gaga and Chontelle)

And here we have it, after a dry patch, and just in time for summer… Ciara’s back!

Despite one or two killer singles back in the mid noughties, Ciara’s last album flopped sadly. Save for a sickly-sweet appearance on the Sex and the City soundtrack with Click Flash, not much has come from Missy Elliot’s star pupil.

Ciara’s a hard act to sell, her voice is average and she looks a bit like everyone else. It’s all about producers, and for Fantasy Ride they’ve certainly picked out a strong bench.

Admitted: she’s still trying to be Beyonce, to the point that her album art is indistinguishable from I Am....Sasha Fierce. But it’s a perfectly sufficient album to pop onto the surround sound system in your pool house while you crack open some Bollinger. Or alternatively down a few Bacardis in your bach-pad before a night out in Leeds.

Here’s the Jack of Hearts track-by-track lowdown:

Ciara To The Stage: A sultry slow jam intro with a comeback from Justin Timberlake’sMy LovePingu sound effects. She repeats “I’m coming”… in reference to taking to the stage, and even tries her hand at a bit of a rap.

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Love Sex Magic: You all know this tune. But yeah, basically the big-time lead single that was hastily added to the CD in post-production. A great track all the same, it brings out the best of Ciara’s over-arching girly harmonies.

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High Price: Ludacris pops in to say hi on this dark urban sleaze track that occupies very late 90s Jamelia ‘DRAMA’ territory, which is fine since nobody knew of Jamelia before Superstar. Louis Vuitton namedrop – check.

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Turntables: Chris Brown appears this time for Ciara’s Bollywood take on Rihanna’s Please Don’t Stop The Music. It’ll be a big hit because it’s samey and simple. Pass the Nurofen.

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Like A Surgeon: Ciara takes on a bit of role-play in this doctor-patient pun-mania. “You’re my best patient” and “Book your next appointment” – Fine. “My ears will be your stethoscope” – Ciara you’re scaring us babe.

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Never Ever: This is my favourite song on the album. It will no doubt annoy some, with its blatant rip-off of ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’, but I can’t get enough of Ciara’s sugary Barbie vocals, gently skipping along a mellow and summery guitar melody which sounds like a slowed down carousel version of M.I.A’sPaper Planes’. Illegally catchy. She even quotes herself from 1,2,Step, bless.

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Lover's Thing: Like most of the stuff on Ciara’s last album, this is a very laidback r’n’b threnody. The Dream’s bunged-up nose wingey contributions begin to grate, but all in all – a sweet little song.

*
Work: Reeeeeeeeeeeee-wind. Missy Melissa Misdemeanor Elliot (M.E.) whips up her usual foot-stamping dance floor filler. A sped-up version of Work It, without the word It. Missy addresses the ladies and hot girls a lot more in this song than anything else… not that I’m suggesting anything.

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Pucker Up: Jamie Oliver must be in heaven, as must the head of marketing over at Pukka Pies HQ.

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G Is For Girl (A-Z): Ciara self-titles herself as original in the lyrics to this song. Shame it’s a rip-off of PSD’s Buttons. Still, a sexy track with some funky zig-zag twisty groove thing going down…with catchy over-rhyming alphabet-based lyrics. Ends up sounding a bit like "Your leg bone's connected to your......"

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Keep Dancin' On Me: Really interesting, not sure what to make of this one. It’s a bit 808s & Heartbreaks, she even mentions flashing lights. Moody and atmospheric, nice minimal keyboards, I like it.

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Tell Me What Your Name Is: Quite Mariah, especially the wealth-fantasy lyrics…. “flying first-class to the Philippines” – well done Ciara, do you want a medal?

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I Don't Remember: That’s right - it’s an Ode to the morning after a one-night stand, a bit like Britney’s “Blur”. It’s a fresh sound, but the lyrics are inevitably gash - “I can’t feel my face” … is that an Americanism or is the song darker than we think?

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Echo: Ciara tries to be Keri Hilson, but it’s the end of the album and you’re already skipping back to tracks 3 and 6. Good effort though.

Jack of Hearts gives this album 7/10



Words by Jack Cullen

2 comments:

  1. Some of the tracks are 100% catchier than I initially anticipated.. for example the final track Echo, which I criticised as a Keri Hilson wannabe track... it's SO contagious, turns my pages.

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  2. sou fan de ciara
    amo muinto ela
    temos muintas coisas em comum
    a nova canção never ever muinto profunda e tocante.
    espero um dia conhecela pessoalmente.
    quero vc no meu blog.pois amei o seu recheado de conteudo
    http//www.blogbarbykalll.blogspot.com/
    ou
    BARBYKALL_10@HOTMAIL.COM
    ME LIGA:071 82452286.
    BEXUU

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