After Ciara's 2009 album "Fantasy Ride" failed to meet expectations -- selling a meager 195,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- following the success of 2006's "Ciara: The Evolution," which sold 1.3 million copies, and her "Goodies" debut, which sold 2.7 million -- many counted her out.
But with the help of lead single "Ride" from "Basic Instincts," her fourth studio album due Oct. 5 on Jive Records, the R&B singer/dancer/actress is back with a vengeance.
The single, produced by Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and written by the-Dream -- who together helmed the entire album -- is No. 5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 42 on the Billboard Hot 100 after 13 weeks on each. The track has sold 250,000 downloads to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"The track has caught on because it's infectious, memorable and returns Ciara to her fan base," Stewart says. "The last album we had a number of people in our ears not believing in our vision. This time Ciara drew the line and really fought for what she believed in."
Another reason: Sex sells. Ciara takes that adage a step further than she did on her "Love Sex Magic" song and video with Justin Timberlake from her last album. Her limber writhing in a bodysuit in the videoclip seems demure compared with "Ride." The highly sexified, push-the-envelope track finds Ciara boasting about her sexual prowess ("I can do it up and down, I can do circles/To him I'm a gymnast, this room is my circus," she sings in a breathy tenor) atop a thumping, slinky beat.
The accompanying video, directed by Diane Martel, is just as explicit as the lyrics. The clip features Ciara provocatively gliding and bouncing atop a mechanical bull while wearing a wet T-shirt, among other highly sexualized visuals -- so much so that BET Networks banned the video from its channel.
"Ride" isn't the only promising track gleaned from "Basic Instinct" so far; "Gimme Dat," a more uptempo but equally brash song was released as a buzz track. "I've been gone for too long, now it's time I take it back," she confidently opens the song over a lively, bass-driven dance beat. Additionally, a remix to "Ride," featuring OutKast rapper André 3000, was released on the Internet.
While Ciara's album was pushed back a number of times and an official second single hasn't been released yet, her recent chart successes have many rooting for her and the future of her music career. "I am grateful to work with such a talented artist as Ciara," the-Dream tells Billboard. "I've never doubted her talents or her will to succeed."