Ciara Is Hiding In Plain Sight

noah | May 4, 2009 10:00 am

Our look at the closing lines of the week’s biggest new-music reviews continues with a roundup of reactions to Fantasy Ride, the long-delayed third album by Ciara: • ” Two of the album’s highlights show how to rescue Ciara, both from herself and from others. On ‘High Price,’ produced by Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, her vocals are manipulated to sound like opera, a spooky, ethereal effect that’s both innovative and surprisingly natural. Matched with eyebrow-arching lyrics, it’s the most conspicuous song here, and the best. By contrast, the album’s closer, ‘I Don’t Remember,’ a barely there production by Polow Da Don, asks almost nothing of her. And with no real shape to adapt to, she sings in a sweet, soft voice that may well have been nudged into submission all these years but is tangy enough to give those nudgers second thoughts next time around.” [Jon Caramanica, NYT] • “Few artists go as hard as she does on her club jams, whether inviting the world to ‘kiss my swag’ over kinetic freestyle beats on ‘Pucker Up,’ combining outraged soprano braggadocio with thunderous crunk basslines on the broiling ‘High Price’ or gliding smoothly through the delectable, sun-kissed ‘Echo.’ At her best, her pace is furious, and keeping up is exhilarating.” [Alex Macpherson, The Guardian] • “Even if Ciara imaginatively develops the ‘Super C’ superhero introduced in the disc’s booklet, she and her collaborators will have to work extra hard on the next album to ensure that she does not stall in a creative cul de sac.” [Andy Kellman, Allmusic]