Ciara’s ‘Jackie’: Album Review

Ciara's "That's How I'm Feelin'": Listen
Ciara invites Missy Elliott and Pitbull to the roller rink in the 'Jackie' track.
Ciara gained attention for her sixth album Jackie (out today, ) because of her baby and breakup that inspired the record. Listening to her 2013 single “Body Party,” a billowy quiet storm anthem with trunk-rattling bass, felt like eavesdropping on a private moment between her and featured rapper Future. Less than two years later, on rueful R&B ballad “I Bet,” she makes an Atlanta-specific reference to further spark comparisons between her lyrical accusations and headlines suggesting that Future, now the father of Ciara’s first child, cheated: “So, I’m supposed to believe that’s Fellini’s calling your phone?”

“I wanted for fans to connect with me as it relates to this new chapter in my life. From pre-baby to post-baby, there’s a big difference,” the veteran pop-R&B singer says, on why she named her new album after her mother. Instead of expanding on how her life has changed, though, Jackie finds Ciara settling into her comfort zone.

These songs are good fun, though they aren’t as revelatory or forward-thinking as “Body Party” or the rest of 2013’s Ciara, the best album she’s made. With her soft, barely-there vocals taking center stage in “Dance Like We’re Making Love,” Ciara can be mistaken for Janet Jacksona comparison that listeners have drawn throughout her career. “One Woman Army” aims to be her own “Rhythm Nation,” though its fizzy synths and club sirens makes for a standard, if not slightly-dated club mix. Ciara even reunites with Missy Elliott in the breezy roller-rink jam “That’s How I’m Feelin’,” though only to try recreating the magic of 2004’s “1, 2 Step.”

Ciara talks motherhood twice in Jackie. Both attempts, the disjointed dance pop-rap intro “Jackie (B.M.F.)” and closing credits ballad “I Got You,” have good intentions but sound out of place. She seems far more at ease in old-school bass tracks like “Lullaby” or the disco-lite “All Good,” where the recent Los Angeles transplant imagines herself back in Decatur, as if hoping that T.I. considers her for ATL 2‘s soundtrack. It’s like Ciara would rather relive her youth  a slight disappointment, given the album’s title.

Idolator Rating: 3/5

Christina Lee

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