Confidence is a fatal weapon; the fearlessness it conceives makes one invincible, even to one’s worst enemy. Ciara is one who exudes confidence beyond her strut. The singer stepped on to the scene close to 10 years ago with the Petey Pablo-assisted “Goodies” — a song that teases her lady bits (and with an accompanying video which showcased her signature sensual and angular dancing).
Ciara followed up with “Promise,” the lead single off her sophomore album “Ciara: The Evolution,” which certified the singer as possessing the appealing combination of demureness and sensuality, from behind the mic to in front of flickering lights.
With every album, Ciara has gotten closer to becoming her true self. Ultimately strengthening her talents, Ciara’s self-titled fifth studio album finds the singer at her best: when she’s at her most confident. The album, her strongest and most concise since her debut, sees Ciara flourishing in mostly bass-heavy, slinky soundscapes (courtesy of Mike Will Made It, Soundz, Darkchild) that fit her vocal range. But she explores new territory (flirting with dance on her best “Ciara” song, “Overdose”), taking off her cool when rapping (“Super Turnt Up”) and using a new love for inspiration (hi Future.)
Check out our track-by-track review of Ciara’s 10-song full-length opus.
1. “I’m Out” (feat. Nicki Minaj)
“Ladies it’s your song/ So as soon as this come on/ You should get out on the floor/ Go and get your sexy on/ If you know that you better than the new girl that he on/ Go ‘head and tell him now/ ‘You gon’ miss me when I’m gone,” Ciara opens the bass-heavy, club banger. What’s better than one woman celebrating the end of an unhealthy relationship? Two talking their ‘ish as the production applauds.
Ciara straddles the Soundz’s produced-synths (“Gimme Dat”) with come-ons (“You gon’ be my student, I’m gon’ be your teacher/ Let’s p lay a little game, follow the leader/ I give a little lesson in sex education”) and self-compliments (“So soft, my skin/ So soft, my booty/ So soft, my bed/ I got ’em saying’ ‘Gimmie more”). Flaunt it, if you got it.
3. “Body Party”
Ciara delivers her best steamy slow jam, and only one on the album, since “Promise,” while revitalizing Ghost Town DJ’s R&B classic “My Boo.” Her boyfriend, rapper Future is heard throughout the slinky, Mike Will Made It-produced track, ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing,’ respectively.
4. “Keep On Lookin'”
To all who second-guessed Ciara, from former lovers to critics, Ciara has a message for you: “I would tell you haters to f-ck off, but I’m still such a lady/ Hate to say that ‘I told ya,’ now you see I ain’t playing/ I’m on another level, you should come get like me/ Can’t no one do it better, is that so hard to believe?” “Keep On Lookin'” is yet another “Ciara” track in which the singer stands tall in self-assurance.
5. “Read My Lips”
A 2013 R&B album, from a female R&B singer, wouldn’t be complete without an ode to the oral-obssessed. “So we’re staying in tonight. Everybody is going out, can we sit this one out, baby? I got something else in mind. Close the blinds, dim the lights and you better bring your appetite,” the singer kicks off a domino affect of innuendos that prove tasty and tart.
6. “Where You Go” (feat. Future)
Mike Will Made It and Future team up with Ciara yet again for a love song, but unlike “Body Party,” “Where You Go” feels lighter, as Future kicks off the up-tempo song singing (his favorite past time in which he always flourishes) of his dedication as a lover.
7. “Super Turnt Up”
Ciara channels all sides of her that love touches on the self co-produced cut, from the catering, hopeless romantic to the feisty, free-spirted rapper.
Ciara’s echoing, breathy vocals seduce on the song’s thumbing soundscapes, courtesy of Soundz and The Rockstars. “In the middle of the high-way, me and my babe/ R. Kelly on the radio, let it play… You got your hand on my thigh, I got my hand on the wheel and the other… I rather not mention,” the singer begins the provocative story of her and her boo teasing and touching while riding around. “I might have to pull over.”
9. “Livin’ It Up” (feat. Nicki Minaj)
Before introducing “Ciara” to the world with “Body Party,” she quietly teased fans with the Wynter Gordon-written “Livin’ It Up.” The island-flavored, feel-good track is not only a boost of energy, but you guessed it, confidence: “I’m livin’ on borrowed time/ And I’m going to be gettin’ mine/ I will be wrong if I don’t try/ I don’t know when my next meal’s coming all I know is I’ll be running.” Minaj comes at the latter part of the song with a well-deserved pat on the back.
Ciara closes her album strong. The singer experiments with EDM and pop on the album’s best song, “Overdose,” and wins. The up-tempo song, produced by Josh Abraham and Oliver “Oligee” Goldstein (Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Turn Me Up and Britney Spear’s “Up & Down”), appeals to fans of all genres, oozing funk and featuring an addictive hook.