Album Review: Ciara - Fantasy Ride

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 12:58 PM

Artist: Ciara
Album: Fantasy Ride
Release Date: 5.5.09

When you’re three albums deep into your career, there are certain things fans will justifiably expect: growth and quality. What this album lacks in growth, it makes up for in quality production and delivery from the self-proclaimed princess of Crunk & B. Originally planned as a three-disc project, Fantasy Ride aimed to satisfy fans in three avenues across Ciara’s listener-base: R&B, crunk, and dance. The end result is a project that rises and falls with no adherence to a particular theme or concept.

Fantasy Ride gets off to a strong start with the sultry opener Ciara To The Stage. From there, it kicks it into high gear with the smash single Love, Sex and Magic, which is one part sex, one part dance. To keep the ride moving, this album excels on dance tracks like Turntables, a duet with Chris Brown, as well as the Osinachi-produced Pucker Up, which grew to be one of my favorite cuts on the album based on its infectious beat and the undeniable sense of confidence in the lyrics. G is for Girl bangs through for the streets, adding a new edgy bad-girl anthem to Ciara’s repertoire. Unusually enough, the bonus tracks Echo, Go Girl and I’m On fit better than some of the project’s other selections.

Ciara doesn’t fail to improve upon her ability to rock the ballads just as well as the uptempos. On this project, she teams up with Tricky Stewart and The Dream for some of her best slow jams to date, including a romantic duet with Dream on Lover’s Thing, which would make a great single if it didn’t sound so much like his earlier duet with Mariah Carey (My Love). Ciara To The Stage opens the album with a side of sexy swag, while the smooth midtempo Keep Dancin On Me ups the ante to become one of album’s sexiest tracks and a personal favorite.

The downside to Fantasy Ride is that quite a bit of it sounds recycled. Even without Ludacris’ verse, the synth-infused High Price sounds too much like their earlier collaboration Oh from her debut album. Pop producer Danja usually does great work for artists like Ciara, but his contributions on Work add up to nothing more than a reworked version of Danity Kane's Pretty Boy – re-using almost identical production! Beyond that, Ciara’s content throughout the album is still very much surface-level, which makes it hard for fans to really connect with her on any level beyond the dance floor. So while Fantasy Ride is mostly enjoyable to listen to, it’s certainly not the album to advance Ciara to the next stage in her career or to expand her fanbase. There are more ups than downs, but overall this isn't a ride we haven't been on before...

Sound-Savvy officially rates Fantasy Ride with 3.5 out of 5 platinum headphones.

Related Posts:
Ciara - Like A Surgeon
Video: Ciara feat. Justin Timberlake - Love, Sex & Magic
New Music From Ciara - Echo
Video: Ciara feat. Young Jeezy - Never Ever

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