It's not often that and R&B artist opens their album by admitting that they were slacking off before and vowing to come back stronger. But that's exactly what Ciara does on "Basic Instinct (U Got Me)," th opening track on her fourth album, Basic Instinct, released in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2010. On the song, she implies that her previous album, 2009's Fantasy Ride, wasn't as strong as it could have been, and then throughout the new album, she goes all-out, using R&B, hip-hop and dance beats to seduce her devoted fans into sticking with her. And for the most part, the strategy works.
Energy and Excitement
It's no secret that Ciara doesn't exactly have the strongest or most supple voice. More than many R&B singers Ciara relies heavily on producers and studio wizardry to surround her somewhat flat and thin vocals with hot beats in order to make her songs tight. And although her singing ability doesn't seem to have gotten any better since her 2004 debut album, Goodies
, she's definitely grown into her role as a pop-R&B diva: her voice is definitely more confident than ever, and she has quite a bit of swagger on this album. And in her case, that's a good thing; any personality is better than none. On songs like the aforementioned "Basic Instinct," the sexually-charged "Ride," which features some outstanding verses by cameo king Ludacris, and "Wants For Dinner," CiCi shows that sometimes the greatness of a song is more within the singer's attitude than their voice. The latter song is a prime example: when she sings "You can entertain him all day long, but I'm what he wants for dinner" to a rival, you can practically see an evil smirk on her face.
The album's producers - mostly the team of Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, who wrote and produced eight of Basic Instinct's 11 songs - are to be applauded for helping infuse Ciara and her music with the renewed sense of energy and excitement she exhibits throughout the album. And even though she's not the greatest vocalist, this is still a fun album that's got some bangin' beats that are easy to dance to. And as long as you don't expect any more than that from her, you'll be happy with Ciara's Basic Instinct.