Ciara Review: Nice Rev Up

Ciara has made a summer comeback.

The singer, known more for her killer moves in songs like “Get Up” and “Ride,” spices up the summer with her fifth record, the self-titled ‘Ciara.’ Made around a stronger sound, the tracks outline confidence, exude sex appeal and chronicle the growth of a performer. Following her last record, 2010’s ‘Basic Instinct,’ ‘Ciara’ presents an evolution in sound, appeal and identity.

The opening track, “I’m Out,” featuring rapper Nicki Minaj, a raunchy club banger about stepping out after a breakup, is pure cute, X-rated girl power. Headed by a simple, watered-down hip-hop beat, Ciara taunts, flaunts and raps about a good time, enjoying booze and attention in the club. Both Ciara and Nicki are suggestive and aggressive in their lyrics, Nicki’s opening bar setting the assertion, Ciara chanting lines such as “you gon’ miss me when I’m gone.” The track encourages girls to have a good time after they end it with their lover, supporting the “I don’t need a man” theme heard throughout female-fronted hip-hop/R&B nowadays. It serves as a cute little club popper, sure to catch a woman’s attention.

The second track, “Sohpomore,” is just as feminine, although more raunchy. Opening to a more aggressive hip-hop/crunk beat, Ciara boasts her sexual prowess, using sensual and vivid metaphors as well as a creative way to divide the word “sophomore (so [soft], gimme more)” as she flaunts raw desire while she taunts her lover. Ciara, as she did on the previous track, sings as if she’s rapping, which flavors the hip-hop some more while she purrs the bridge, which levels the underlying tone.

A jump to the number seven track, “Super Turnt Up” tells longtime fans that Ciara hasn’t given up her identity on this album as much as it shows her core. This track, a favorite, highlights Ciara’s signatures, from the soft, intimately inviting tone to a nicely blended hip-hop/R&B/crunk blend. This song winds and grinds as Ciara opens up into the beat, a rich tempo you can feel instantly. She talks a bit more than she sings, which, oddly enough, gives back to the track. Again Ciara jumps into hip-hop with another bar, stronger than the one in “I’m Out,” wisping along words like a seasoned rapper. This song is aggressive and sexy, sure to catch the attention of listeners.

The next track, “DUI,” is wonderful. With a rich, dark, erotic tone, this song is the R&B sequel to “Sophomore,” with Ciara, instead of boasting her sexuality, giving thanks to her lover’s. Supported by a mild tempo, the lyrics compares her lover’s influence to that of being drunk, submissive in the wake of a romantic evening. Ciara breathes out the lyrics, her low tone coasts against the beat, guiding the eroticism. This song is not only one your can hear, but feel, the sexual undercurrent sure to surge within Ciara’s peers. From start to finish, the song gives good R&B, stimulating, relaxing, even.

This album is the perfect comeback for Ciara. Honestly, she hasn’t had a good album since 2007’s ‘The Evolution,’ and one would say this serves as the perfect successor. Nearly every song on the album can be felt more than heard, relatable more than not, makes you dance, hurt and want.

The album was produced by several different people, including Ciara herself, Josh Abrams and Naydavius Cash, aka rapper Future, aaka Ciara’s current beau. Each producer provides amplification for Ciara’s image, and her prescence in production shows the depths of her talent. Now if only she could work on singing instead of squeaking.

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