Album review: Ciara - The evolution

Album review: Ciara - The evoltuionAfter giving us her "Goodies" and then demanding we do some bullshit dance called the "1, 2 step", Ciara hit back with a second album. So just how does a young lady whose vocal talents left much to be desired and whose lyrics were as hollow as a half-pipe fare with her newest album?

Ciara doesn't have the best voice, but she sounds a lot better vocally then she did on Goodies. Fortunately, Ciara has opted to release tracks which show off her vocals and new found sound without compromising her style. The majority of the songs from her first album had her displaying as much vocal talent as the cooling fan of a Nintendo Wii. This time she steps up her game. Whilst not in the same league as the Beyondroid or Jennifer Hudson, she does sound better than she did before with the aid of some smooth crooning, tight vocal production and vocal layering.

Ciara's personality also shines through on this record, and you feel you can finally take her seriously as an artist. True to the album title Ciara shows evolution, but also signs of being stuck and tied to a particular sound. There are a handful of tracks on the album where Ciara delivers a fresh, different sound and it works brilliantly. Lead single "Promise" was and still is pure hotness. A shock, because you wouldn't have expected Ciara to drop such a song as a single and didn't know Ciara had it in her to do such a song. Ladies anthem "Like a boy" stays true to Ciara's up-tempo roots, but is much more fine tuned and melodic than anything on "Goodies" - not to mention featuring a set of substantial lyrics that many ladies will empathize with. But then you have crap like "I proceed", "Get in, fit in" and "Get up" which ruins the display of growth.

The evolution starts off incredibly strong with the high energy, Afrika Bambataa funked "That's right", followed by a couple of hot songs that'll get you moving and singing along. But the album soon hits a messy, forgettable patch in the middle. And even though the album brings you back again towards the end with the amazing "My love", it insists on dropping a couple of crappy songs on you before it all ends. This album would've benefited greatly from a skimmed down track listing. Rather than padding the album out with filler tracks and nonsensical interludes, it should've been cut down to just 12 of the strongest cuts.

Given who Ciara worked with on this album, the results could've been better. It's the names you didn't expect to bring the hotness who in fact do. Polow's "Promise" and "Bang it up" are examples of hotness at 2 completely different ends of the spectrum. "Promise" will forever be the slow jam Ciara is remembered for and "Bang it up" is just a straight club banger or nothing but fire. The still some-what unknown Brian Kennedy's "My love" is stunning, adopting a very Bryan Michael-Cox like sound. With lyrics of a love walked out on. Then you have big names Rodney Jerkins and Pharrell Williams, who you'd think would've given Ciara the SHAT! But instead they slid her some sedate arse songs. Rodney Jerkins' songs are nice, but he could've come a heck of a lot better. Especially after his bold words of giving CiCi songs that'd channel old school Janet Jackson. And Pharrell gives Ciara some pretty standard songs, void of that Neptunes funk you would've thought he'd give her. "I proceed" doesn't even sound like a Neptunes track. Only when the bridge comes in is there a hint of the signature sound. And whilst "I'm just me" is nice, the lyrics are too stupid. Ciara is is no position to be talking about carrying a hood on her shoulders, being ghetto and having the power and resources of a CEO. Especially not after her third album went from being 3 discs, to 1, being pushed back and then copping a horrid album cover.

Ciara delivered a pretty solid album, that showcases a great deal of substance and style. It's a shame the singles weren't pushed more, because a great deal of the album is single worthy. A hot album to roll in the car and just chill to. The evolution is a hot album, but to call this an evolution seems premature given most of this album is what we'd have expected Ciara to have delivered any way.

Ciara's 'The evolution' scores itself a 7 out of 10
Album highlights:
■ That's right
■ Like a boy
■ Promise
■ Can't leave 'em alone
■ Bang it up
■ C.R.U.S.H
■ My love J's fave
■ I'm just me

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