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Yahoo! Music Album Review


Ciara - Fantasy Ride

(Monday May 18, 2009 3:35 PM )

Released on 11/05/09
Label: RCA

As moves go, Ciara enlisting Justin Timberlake to help take her from niche R&B starlet all the way to the top of the charts was a smart one. OK, so she sounds like Jennifer Lopez guesting on a Justin Timberlake track, which probably wasn't quite what she had in mind, but in the JT co-written "Love Sex Magic" she's lucked into the sexiest thing to happen to pop since Timberlake's own "FutureSex/LoveSounds", and one of the biggest anthems of the year.

The only shame is that he didn't write the rest of the Atlanta diva's third album. Really, if "Love Sex Magic" is your idea of a good time, avoid "Fantasy Ride" at all cost. Disappointed won't even begin to cover it. Proof that the single of the year was the result more of luck than design comes in the fact that the tracks either side of it, "Ciara To Stage" and "High Price" are respectively the most generic R&B track of the year and the most wilfully uncommercial. The limp romance of the former is a spectacularly dismal way to open a record. The hostile crunk grind of the latter, is a stupefying way to follow the biggest hit of her career, knocking her straight back down to niche she came from.

Sadly, it just gets worse from there. The only remarkable thing about the vaguely Usher-esque "Turntables" is that it made it on the album considering that a) it features incredibly whiney vocals from R&B persona non grata, Rihanna's ex-Chris Brown and b) it's really, really bad - the best bit being the burping sound which appears halfway through. Missy Elliott duet "Work" isn't much better; searing synths of the chorus aside, it's an underwhelming twitch which Missy surely wouldn't have had anywhere near one of her own albums.

It's not just that "Love Sex Magic" is the highlight, it's "Fantasy Ride"'s only saving grace. The second division "Like A Surgeon" and "Pucker Up" make a lot of noise, piling on synths, stutters and bleeps, but are neither killer club tunes nor decent pop. Meanwhile if "Lover's Thing" is Ciara's idea of love and affection she must be in desperate need of someone to show her a good time.

So all in all, as disasters go, this is a pretty major one. Not only does she fail to make the most on the opportunity Justin Timberlake gifted her, she doesn't even match her own previous best. Which definitely isn't what she had in mind.

    by Dan Gennoe

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