With a career spanning across 13 years, we’ve watched Ciara evolve from early superstardom in her late teens, all the way in a grown woman who now knows exactly what she wants in her personal and musical endeavors. Launching on to the scene with her debut single ‘Goodies’, her massive #1 single, it was evident from early on that Ciara was a not only a force to be reckoned with, but also a versatile artist. Being able to convey heartfelt emotion with the slowest ballads and then easily switch to the fastest uptempo, there is surely a reason why Ciara has been able to last 10 plus years in an industry where most acts can be replaced at a moment’s notice.
Fast-forward to 2015 and a worldwide May 4th release date, we now have Ciara’s 6th studio album, Jackie. From the early stages of the album’s announcement, Ciara made it clear that the album was inspired by newly motherhood status, along with being able to see things through the eyes of her mother, Jackie. Due to that description, many were left wondering if the 29-year-old singer would be taking a more mature route with not only the album’s sound, but the album’s content as well. It is with a pleasant surprise that the album is not only uptempo throughout majority of the records, but Ciara also seems to be at the most liberated phase of her life.
Kicking off the album, we have ‘Jackie (B.M.F.)’, which is best described as 3 songs meshed into one. The record starts off with a very honest intro that reflects on the past year and a half of Ciara’s life which is also met with an acceptance very early on the track. Within seconds, the record shifts into a club ready track with a bouncy bass line with Ciara talking the most trash-talk she’s ever talked. In a moment’s notice, the track shifts into an even faster uptempo with Ciara continuing the boisterous theme she introduced early on in the record. Next up, we have the inevitable single, ‘That’s How I’m Feelin‘ Ft. Pitbull and Missy Elliott, which was clearly crafted with Pop radio in mind along with touches of urban flavor. With the correct rollout, this record could be a massive commercial success for the singer.
Slowing things just a bit, but sticking to the uptempo & mid-tempo flavor, we have ‘Lullaby‘ and the album’s 2nd single, ‘Dance Like We’re Making Love’. ‘Lullaby’ starts off with a somewhat sultry intro and then kicks into gear as Ciara sings, “Me on you and you on me, I don’t mind being your freak“. ‘Dance Like We’re Making Love‘, which is one of the album’s standout moments, is the slowest cut from the album at this moment. With that being side, the record still holds true to its dance theme as the groove is still dance-floor ready. ‘Dance Like We’re Making Love’ will easily send listeners on a smooth ride. Moving along to ‘Stuck On You’, we have a percussion-driven track which hears Ciara experimenting with a somewhat scat/rap-singing type of ordeal within the record. The track also radiates sentiments of the 80’s is somewhat reminiscent of Madonna’s classic record, ‘Vogue’.
Reverting back to the in your face Pop theme of ‘That’s How I’m Feelin’ is ‘Fly‘. The song not only serves as a self-motivational cut for Ciara, but exudes themes than can be applied for anyone in any situation. Moving on, we now have the album’s lead single, ‘I Bet‘, which marks the shift towards one of the album’s slowest moments. What’s more left to say about ‘I Bet’? In the context of the album, it holds true to the uplifting but outspoken them that has been prevalent throughout the album, thus far. Up next, we have what I’d arguably consider Ciara’s best Pop record of her career. ‘Give Me Love‘ slightly holds a dark undertone in the beginning of the record which shifts into a European, club ready tune. ‘Give Me Love’ exudes all signs of a stadium anthem as I can imagine a legion of fans and naysayers alike all singing “Give me love or nothing at all” at the top of their lungs. Following up, we have ‘Kiss & Tell‘, which we get to hear Ciara singing out she’s so satisfied with her partner that she just has to go and tell anyone who will listen. With the perfect mixture of 80’s and 90’s influence, ‘Kiss & Tell’ slows things down a bit, but still has that Ciara touch that makes you want to move in any sort or fashion.
Wrapping up the album, we have ‘One Woman Army‘ and the record, ‘I Got You’, which is dedicated to her son. Ciara made sure she would leave us with the album’s most explosive track, next to ‘Jackie (B.M.F)’. Just as ‘Give Me Love’, ‘One Woman Army’ is more than ready for clubs that cater to the the Techno/Electro-Pop sound. Ciara made sure to declare, with the help of drums sounding straight out of a college drum line, that she is a one woman army and if you want her love, you have to work for it. The last track on the album’s standard edition, ‘I Got You‘, holds the pleasure as a dedication to her almost one year old son. Serving as the album’s slowest cut, Ciara pours her heart out for her son, letting him know that she’ll take bullets and crawl over broken glass for the biggest love of her life. With the theme and message behind Jackie, ‘I Got You’ serves as the perfect album closer for Ciara’s 6th studio album.
Overall, Jackie is Ciara’s most courageous album to date. Venturing from the Urban sound from her self-titled fifth studio album and diving knees deep into the Pop sound, even with the party and dance floor ready records, Ciara’s message with this album shines through.
Ciara is focused. Ciara is happy. And most importantly in this moment of her life, Ciara is liberated. Without a doubt, the 6th studio effort from Ciara is a job well done.