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After requesting to be released from her contract with Jive Records in 2011, it seemed like new music from Ciara would never come. Wrought with failed start ups and frequent delays in album release dates, the Atlanta native’s new album is finally getting its coming out party. Today, we review Ciara’s self-titled fifth studio album, Ciara.
1. I’m Out (Feat. Nicki Minaj)
Releasing a crunk version of Beyonce’s Single Ladies, Ciara and Nicki Minaj are the perfect compliments to one another’s musical styling. Minaj gives the song a hard edge with her spitfire rhymes and Ciara’s smooth voice softens the track, keeping it pop enough to become a must for any girls night playlist.
It’s an especially exciting track for Minaj, who seems to be regaining her footing in the hip hop world on I’m Out, writing lines that are relevant to the subject matter and laden with the on-point social commentary that launched Minaj into the spotlight years ago.
Singing “Ladies this your song, so as soon as this come on you should get out on the floor and get your sexy on,” Ciara and Nicki are brushing off failed relationships and celebrating their independence. The duo released a sleek video for the single last week, which shows the women wearing all white ensembles while performing in a very Scream-esque setting, an ode to Michael and Janet Jackson.
The first of many bedroom-ready tracks on Ciara, Sophomore features a breathy delivery of clever, pun-filled lyrics that make for one of the best hot-for-teacher lessons in music history. The chorus reads “So soft, my bed / So soft, I got him sayin’ / Give me more”. Attendance is mandatory for Sophomore.
3. Body Party
Ciara is an artist that wears her influencers on her sleeve, but understands how to take sounds of musical greats like Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey and still incorporate a sound that is all her own. Body Party could easily be a track pulled from the top of the R ‘n B tracks in the early 1990s, but still fits on radio in 2013. Ciara was even kind enough to give fans a tutorial on how to move to the song in her video for Body Party, which features the song’s co-writer and Ciara’s real-life boyfriend Future, also known as the luckiest guy in the world.
Ciara has also released a version of Body Party that features fellow Georgia native B.o.B.
4. Keep On Lookin’
Ciara’s time spent in the studio with Missy Elliott during the formative years of her career were not in vain, as heard on the track Keep On Lookin’. The singer shows signs of the ground-breaking rap artist’s influence on her sound in the track Keep On Lookin’, which features a gritty and down low beat that includes off the wall sound effects.
5. Read My Lips
Ciara takes the descriptive sexual imagery from songs Body Party and Sophomore and puts a lighthearted and fun spin on the subject. A wonky metronome beat throughout the track keeps the sound light and playful.
6. Where You Go (Feat. Future)
Where most pop and R ‘n B singers are relying on whatever EDM beat is hot at the minute, Ciara’s partnership with producer Mike Will Made It gives her fifth studio album depth and maturity that is missing from most Top 40 offerings. Combining sound affects with guitar, drums and vocals from Ciara’s boyfriend and frequent Mike Will Made It collaborator Future makes Where You Go a stand out track on a stand out disc.
7. Super Turnt Up (Feat. Ciara)
Doing a 180 from Where You Go, Ciara goes hard on Super Turnt Up, mashing up a heavy beat with a dreamy piano sequence to create a song filled with polarizing sounds that somehow work. Ciara drops rhymes for the first time on the Super Turnt Up, explaining why she’s featured on her own song, and shows that she’s been paying attention during her 10 plus years in the music industry, rightfully name checking mentor Missy Elliott during her rap debut.
Ciara continues to master her ability to pick analogies for lust, this time moving from the classroom with the car with her song DUI. The four-wheeled inspiration hits again in the album’s final track, Backseat Love.
9. Livin’ It Up (Feat. Nicki Minaj)
Just when DUI finishes getting us ready for a revival of smooth R ‘n B, listeners are thrown another curve ball with the pop-tastic Livin’ It Up, which will make most wonder why it isn’t Ciara we’ve been watching for years enjoy the spoils of pop royalty that include modelling for H&M and taking 130 journalists around the world in seven days.
Minaj is featured for the second time on the album, getting stronger with each appearance. The two obviously bring out the best in one another, with Ciara breathing fresh air into a genre that is overrun with female pop stars relying solely on male artists to guest on their tracks in an attempt to give singles an ‘edge’ to make it appeal to both sexes.
Overdose has long been my favourite song off Ciara’s new disc, with a minute and a half of the track surfacing on the web about six months ago. Easily the most radio friendly singles, Overdose is a classic pop song, comparing feelings of love to overdosing on drugs. Not new ground, but done successfully with a catchy and uptempo beat.
11. Backseat Love
Ciara keeps it classy on Backseat Love, borrowing the famous line from Ludacris’ What’s Your Fantasy, stopping short of finishing the verse and ensuring her album stays away from any Explicit Advisory warnings that may limit her sales. Not that Ciara is an album for young ears, but eleven tracks that focus mainly about sex with *gasp* respect? Well, it was worth the wait for Ciara.