Soul pop that could take Ciara to the next level.
Talia Kraines 2009
When listing great pop stars of the 2000s, it's more than likely that Ciara will be unfairly forgotten. Yet from the dirty bass of original hits Goodies and 1 2 Step to the effortlessly elegant Like A Boy she's proven that she's a force to be reckoned with. Still only 23, Fantasy Ride is her much-anticipated third album. After a lengthy delay by her label, it's a record that's been jam packed full of the right writers, producers and collaborators from Darkchild to Ludacris to Missy Elliott to Dr Luke. The question is, though, was it really worth the wait?
Love Sex Magic, a sizzling collaboration with Justin Timbalake was the perfect song to relaunch Ciara to the post-Timbaland explosion marketplace. But despite its crunchy bassline and star turn, it almost feels like a song Rihanna or Nelly Furtado turned down. Much more convincing is the second Justin scribed track - the jerky G is for Girl. Reminiscent of some latter day Destiny's Child, its grunting bassine and eastern vibe combined with a fierce rap breakdown turn it into an anthem with real Ciara attitude. Similarly the Knightrider sampling Echo could be mistaken for an Aaliyah club track save for her singing, ''Ciara's got the moves and the curves''.
It's just as exciting to hear the slow jams as the club tracks, thanks to the detailed and often strange sounding backing tracks. She uses her silky vocals on softer tracks such as the Ne-Yo produced I Don't Remember or the delicate Never Ever to great effect. Only Like A Surgeon with its somewhat bizarre sex/hospital metaphors may leave you at a loss for words.
A record that manages to make you dance as much as retreat to the bedroom, Fantasy Ride is an album which could take Ciara to the much deserved next level. Beyonce better watch her back.