Album review: Ciara - Basic instinct

After the complete promotional and counter-productive mess that was the roll out of Fantasy ride, Ciara quickly headed back into the studio to record another album and put things right. Only to find herself back in the same position of trying to flog an album plagued by countless push backs, leaks and singles which could not have bombed harder if they were produced by dynamite and featured a verse from Guy Fawkes. Some hoes just can't catch a break. Even when they are pussy popping like their lives depend on it and riding on bronco's in a wet wife beater and no bra to get it.

Album opener "Basic instinct (U got me)" is Ciara's shout out to the haters. We all heard the song a good while ago, and also saw the video which looked like it cost all of 7 dollars to make. This song should have been left by the wayside as a buzz joint to get people talking. Because it centres on a side of Ciara nobody really wants to focus on. We want the Ciara who is all about dropping smooth songs we can move to. Not rapping about how angry she is on some mixtape beat that sounds like "Eye of the tiger" gone hood. Plus, she's getting angry at the wrong people. Don't hate on the critics, the bloggers and chicks in the game who have talked out of the side of their mouth about you. Go have words with your record label. They're the ones making you look like the biggest joke right now.

"Ride" on the other hand, is the Ciara we want. Smooth R&B with a hot beat we can grind to. Third time (supposedly) being the charm, Ludacris makes yet another appearance on a song of Ciara's and does great things with the bars he's given to work with. As hot as the song is, it does drag on for a bit too long; highlighting the repetitiveness in the production. Cutting out a verse or two would have helped make this a leaner song and all the better for it. But it's still a winner with all the ingredients for you to get low and work your back to.

"Gimmie dat" and "Heavy rotation" both tap into Ciara's danceable side with beats centred on 808's which command that you get the f**k up and move! "Gimme dat" is the more club ready of the two songs; whilst "Heavy rotation" is primed for Summer radio, sounding like some good ol' Janet. Ciara even channels the inner ho, by claiming a dude can put it on her to his favourite song. Good luck to her vagina if said dude is into Grime. But Janet is smiling all the same. Her work of ushering in a new legion of hoes to carry the torch in the game is done!

Ciara goes as gutter as a rat on "Yeah I know". least for the verses. The beat is as hood as f**k on the verses featuring nothing but a set of pitched wheeling 808's and some woodblocks, which then switch up into bright, synthy and pop-lite melodies for the hook. It should not work at all. But Tricky Stewart is a master of the switches, and he makes the shit work. If Basic instinct manages to go the distance until the Summer (which it probably won't if the first week sales are anything to go by), then this would make a hot Summer single - as it's made for the cars.

Ciara slows things down nicely on "Speechless". We all heard this song when it leaked earlier in the year and featured the stagnant vocals of The Dream. Thankfully the album version cuts his verses out and relegates him to backing vocal duties. I wasn't keen on this song back when it leaked, but I rather like it now. It really is difficult to listen to this song and not rock your head to it. For me, it's no "Lovers thing" (one of my favourite songs from Fantasy ride). But it is a hot song. Follow up "You can get it" is nonsense, and is without a doubt the weakest mid-tempo on the whole album. The song feels incomplete and is just 4 minutes of repetitive bullshit. Skip!

"Wants for dinner" is horrendous. I don't know if there's something in the water in Atlanta, between Ciara and Keri both going reggae for a track on their albums, but they both need to shut that shit down. Nobody wants to hear Ciara try and weave her way around some weak sounding reggae beat. Producers need to save this shit for chicks who can pull it off. Chicks like The Forehead, who shot both bitches down on her Loud joint "Man down".

It takes Ciara 8 tracks to get there, but she goes for the lowest common pop denominator for the Usher collaboration "Turn it up". The song sticks out on the album like a sore thumb, and feels like a last ditch attempt to have a song on the record to put out for Pop radio in case the Urban angle falls on deaf ears (which it already has). So expect this to be a single real soon. Cynicism aside, it is a good song. And Ciara and Usher sound good together. It's just a shame they had to get put on a beat that sounds like something Ke$ha passed on.

Ciara closes the album with the albums slowest of jams "I run it". It's wonderfully sexy and channels sexy Janet from back when. Even though Ciara is known for her crunked up jams, it's the slow jams she shines on. And bitch is like a star on this track.

Tricky Stewart once again proves that he is one of the best producers in the game, by adapting his sound to the artist instead of trying to bend them to match his own. He does great things with Ciara and gives her a set of sounds which really capture what Ciara is about. The problem however, is that as good as the songs sound, they are not that memorable. There is nothing as insta-catchy as "Like a boy" and nothing as infectious and playful as "Work". And as hot as Tricky's productions are, the magic wears off quickly on 80% of the album's tracks because the production never switches up at any point, and neither do Ciara's vocals. I feel for Tricky. First he does the whole of Mariah's album and that flops. And then he goes and does Ciara's and her shit flops too. I would have loved for Ciara to have teamed back up with Danja again. But it may have been for the best if the project was only going to flop...again. Maybe for album number five. Perhaps by then Jive and Zomba will have their shit together.

Basic instinct is one of Ciara's most consistent albums. But it's not her best. Is it better than Fantasy ride? I'd have to say no. As messy as Fantasy ride was, it did feature some great songs and its fair share of potential singles. Where-as despite Basic instinct sounding more focused and being a leaner release, you find yourself trying to remember which songs you actually liked or thought were hot once the whole album has finished playing. I didn't find myself scrambling to skip back to my favourites, as was the case on Fantasy ride; where I could not press the skip / repeat buttons fast enough for "Work", "Echo" and "Lover's thing".

Basic instinct is an album which wreaks of outside influence affecting the final product. Ciara should have done the album she wanted to do. But instead she played it safe, and shows no form of growth or direction as a result. If Ciara is not able to get her shit together for her next album, she will find herself dropped and having to pull a Sharon Stone: flashing her pussy sat on chairs to make ends meet.

Album highlights:
■ Ride
■ Gimmie dat
■ Heavy rotation J's fave
■ Yeah I know
■ I run this


  1. I cant believe you didnt give Basic Instinct a 10. It has so many FANTASTIC songs. I never tire of playing Ciara's CDs. I have all 4. Ciara's promotion/publicist team are at fault for not giving her more exposure. She rivals Michael Jackson in pure entertainment.

  2. I like wants for dinner and girls get your money too. But fantasy ride is her best album to date I think. There was pop, r&b and urban all together. Maybe a mess but I like every single song on it, the bonus tracks too.


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