Album review: Ciara - Fantasy ride

Ciara - Fantasy ride | Album review
Ciara's Fantasy ride was a ride in every sense of the word. She talked big, generated hype and had a whole load of us lined up around the block for ages to get in on it. Problem is that the ride is all that great, and now me, myself and I is wondering why I bothered waiting around.

Ciara's Fantasy ride yields few surprises, spills, twists or turns. It's pretty much business as usual. An album divided between potential club bangers, potential slow jam grinders with a few guest features thrown in for good measure. A recipe like this shouldn't fail, but somehow is manages to.

Even though dropping club worthy up-tempo's and shaking her p***y is what Ciara has become known for to much of the music listening public, they're a mixed bag on Fantasy ride. "Turntables" is initial fire, which dims with each repeated listen. Danja continues to show he's an absolute beast when it comes to synth work. Once the initial allure of how hot the beat is wears off, you begin to realize that "Turntables" actually isn't that good a song. Ciara and Chris 'Take you down' Brown don't muster enough sass and energy that the song needs, and as a result they both play second fiddle to Danja's production - never truly matching it. It's a good thing the music is so good, because Ciara and Chris failed in their roles to bring an A-vocal game to the tables (pun not intended). Plus, Chris wasn't really necessary on this song, especially given there's a distinct lack of vocal chemistry and cohesiveness between him and Ciara. All the lisping arse n***a brings to the song is the prospect of how amazing the dancing would be in music video and nothing else. "Love Sex Magic" is by numbers. It's catchy, it's fun and it gets you moving. But the song could've been given to anybody and it'd be just as hot. It's a Justin Timberlake sounding anybody song. "High price" is crazy. Familiar and cliched, yet with enough originality and quirkiness that it could fly as a single and do big things. Then you have Luda who absolutely KILLS his verse. I have to rewind his section every time I listen to the song because his verse is just over hot. Why this was scrapped as a single, we'll never know. Ciara could've had a hit on her hands with this. "Work" just gets better with each version that drops. First it was rubbish. Then it was fire. Now it's just crazy stupid. The song is so hot and I cannot believe it took so long for it to become a single. Missy comes better on the album version than she did on the original leak, but I still feel she wan't really necessary. The production and energy on the song is so insane that it's impossible to listen to this song and not move. Once again Danja does the damn thing. Somebody throw the n***a a Grammy and an AMA.

The slow songs are what shine on this album, and showcase Ciara in a much better light than the uptempo's. None of them are a patch on Goodies' "Other chicks", or The evolution's "Promise" and "My love", but they're still pretty hot. "Like a surgeon" and "Ciara to the stage" both stink of Aaliyah. I can actually smell baby girl when the songs start. But they are cool songs. They're not as sexy as Tricky Stewart, The Dream or Ciara seem to think they are, as the lyrics are so cheesy and laughable. But they are hot songs with a great sounding old skool swing to them that'll get'cha putting in some bumps and grinds. "Lover's thing" is the BOMB. Thanks to that hot now signature LOS Da Mystro's sound with sexy thick bass lines and phased drum patterns. Ciara sounds so sweet and sexy that she could've easily carried the song herself. It's a shame The Dream didn't let her do just that and instead infects the song with his horrendous vocals. "Tell me what your name is" is nice purely because it's just a nice song. The cut is surprisingly produced by Dr. Luke - who seems to pulling some Aces out of his sleeves with his production as of late. "I don't remember" is a really nice song and closer to the album. The only problem with it is that it clearly sounds like a Ne-Yo song. Not a problem highlighted by Ne-Yo, but more a case of Ciara not having it in her voice or delivery to truly make the song hers in the way Chrisette Michele, Beyonce and even Rihanna did with their contributions from Ne-Yo. It is a nice song however and a departure for Ciara.

An issue I have with Fantasy ride is with the producers and their lack of producing Ciara as an artist. Ciara's albums have always lacked a consistency because they've featured one too many producers. Fantasy ride doesn't throw too many producers into the mix, but the problem this time around is that the right producers have gone about giving her the wrong sound. The Dream and Tricky Stewart's efforts are all over the place. Aside from "High price", nothing they gave Ciara has any form of lasting impact. If you thought Rodney Jerkins' contributions to The evolution were dead, wait till you hear his shit on Fantasy ride. Giving her a club joint which sounds too muddy, messy and busy to be of any good. Not only is Ciara lost on the track, but Rodney's signature sound is too. The Y's both give Ciara songs which cause her to fade behind the production and talent involved. "Love Sex Magic" sounds like a Justin Timberlake song which features Ciara. And frankly, the "Magic" demo with just Justin was better. "G is for girl (A-Z)"'s beat (which bites Timbaland's signature style so badly that somebody should feel a little ashamed) and quirky penmanship which comes courtesy of James Fauntleroy and Justin Timberlake both outshine Ciara, who you forget is even singing on the song. The only producer who brings something worthy to the table is Danja, and even his productions fall short. Not because of what he offers up sonically, but because Ciara never sounds as though she's owning the songs. "Work", "Echo" and "Turntables" could've gone to Rihanna or Cassie and they'd still be just as hot. Ciara has nothing to do with why these songs are good and this is what ruins Fantasy ride. Ciara is a girl who is all about swagger, but it seems to be in patches on this album. It's sad that 2 good songs which had Ciara exuding the sexy swagger in spades got left off. "Go girl" wasn't amazing, but it was a decent track and deserved to be more than a Japanese bonus track. "We can get it on" was the sexy electro pop jam this album needed. Acting as a "Love Sex Magic" type song that is on Ciara's terms and not Justin's. Ciara sounded hot on it, and Danja hooked her up. But for some reason, it got left off of the album. Maybe it's because Ciara didn't have as much of a hand in writing and co-producing the songs as she did on The evolution. But something definitely went wrong here. It's all over the place. The only consistent aspect of this album is its inconsistency.

The flow of the album feels off. Possibly a result of Ciara recording 3 albums worth of tracks and then having to skim it down to one. You can definitely hear the divides between the albums styles, which swings between club jams, synth anthems and mid-tempo's nonchalantly and not always in the best way.

Goodies was a surprise because the album had better songs on it than the singles had you believe. The evolution was a surprise because it showed Ciara had originality and the makings of an artist who could stay in the game for a while. But Fantasy ride doesn't really have you feel anything at all. The songs which are hot were hot months before the album came out, back when they'd leaked. And the track which didn't leak aren't all that special. You feel like you'd waited in line for a ride that wasn't worth the wait at all.


Album highlights:
■ Ciara to the stage
■ Love Sex Magic
■ Work J's fave
■ Lover's thing
■ Echo

3 comments:

  1. I personally love this CD. It doesn't really feel like an album but it has some solid tracks on it. I think it's better than Keri's and Beyonce's.

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  2. I think Fantasy Ride is aight, if the majority of the songs wouldn't have leaked I would've liked it a lot more. But I definitely think Keri's was A LOT better then Fantasy Ride.

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  3. Yeah, I prefer Goodies more. And The Evolution was great too especially Get Up.

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