Ciara fails to stretch herself

Ciara fails to stretch herself

Ciara says she wants to go back to her original sound with her new album Basic Instinct. Although this means the listener gets plenty of R&B, her latest offering comes across as too safe and predictable.

Ciara has always favoured the use of heavy electronic beats to underpin her vocals, and opener Basic Instinct (U Got Me) doesn't break from tradition. A long, aggressive rap section segues into tuneful vocals, revealing some of Ciara's emotional range. But the rapping obscures her breathy singing, which only emerges more than halfway through the track.

Throughout the album, complicated, synthesised rhythms tend to dominate, drowning out Ciara's voice. Heavy Rotation, an enjoyable R&B number, would have had greater impact if the vocals had been brought to the fore.

Basic Instinct leaves us in no doubt of Ciara's potential. Turn It Up is a catchy party tune owing much to guest artist Usher, but Ciara's flawless negotiation between rap and vocals here only highlights the skill she doesn't use in the rest of the album. When she slows down for You Can Get It, she can't sustain the power needed to carry off the ballad.

If you're looking for background party music, this is sufficiently fun. But we expect more from the woman billed as the Princess of Crunk&B.

YP rating: 2/5



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