Ciara

Basic Instinct

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

On her fourth album, Ciara works extensively with Terius “The-Dream” Nash and Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, the duo who collaborated on four of Fantasy Ride's best tracks. Unsurprisingly, the move fosters the singer’s most consistent and unified release. For the most part, Nash and Stewart alter their ever-present sound just enough to avoid repeating themselves, albeit while incorporating some of their telltale sonic imprints -- the dive-bombing synths, the subtle background-vocal chirps, the unrivaled sonic opulence. They cover each base with great accuracy; there’s a bombastic intro, a sleazy club track, some playful pop, and a ballad with a feather-light touch among them. The euphoric “Speechless” is the best of the seven Nash/Stewart productions, working a kind of regal slow-motion glide with synthetic horns and trunk-shaking bottom as Ciara’s voice hovers in a love-struck daze. A few songs touch upon characteristics from Ciara’s first two albums without being complete retreads; the Infinity-produced “Yeah I Know,” for instance, enters like a low-profile update of “Goodies” -- Ciara is half confrontational, half flirtatious -- but incorporates a twisting, glitzed-out chorus. “Turn It Up,” featuring Usher, improves upon Ciara’s other attempts at aggressive dance-pop. It’s one of the few effective Euro-flavored club numbers to be fronted by an R&B artist. Altogether, this is one of 2010’s finest pop-R&B albums -- Ciara's best yet.

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