en: Ciara: The Evolution [info]
Springing from the same state as fellow-Texan, Beyonce, Ciara's stock in trade boasts the same vocal dexterity, but owes more to the 'crunk' end of Southern rap. Hardly surprising seeing as she now resides in crunk's capital of Atlanta. Her debut album, featuring the smash, "Goodies", (co-written with Sean Garrett) made her an overnight star, but is her new album going to continue the trend? The title says it all: This is the point at which Ciara finally throws off the tag of 'pretender to the throne of Aaliyah'. The Evolution, the R'n'B star's second album, is most definitely a step in the right direction.
The reason for this progression is obvious once you press the play button. We've had to wait a while in the UK for this album that's already racked up a couple of huge top twenty hits ("I Proceed" and "Bang It Up") and been certified platinum in the States, but as soon opener "That's Right"'s Miami bass, Atlanta crunk, and big fat pop hooks fill the room you're not going to sitting still.
While the singer's claims that it's '...about so much more than just my personal growth - it's about the evolution of music, the evolution of dance, the evolution of fashion.' may be frankly pushing it (as are the between-tracks monologues), there's no doubt that she's shown a vast amount of creativity. She's also done the only thing that will make a mark in an over-saturated market: she's chosen some very fine producers.
Polow Da Don, The Neptunes, Bryan Michael Cox, Will.i.am, Dallas Austin, Rodney Jerkins and Mr. Collipark all have a hand in the mix, and with name talent like that on board it's guaranteed to fill floors. Of course none of it lingers too long in the memory, and she's still prone to Diva-style histrionics ("Can't Leave 'Em Alone", featuring 50 Cent) but The Evolution... is just that; a giant step on for the 22-year old.