Release Date: Dec 14, 2010
Record label: LaFace
Genre(s): Pop, R&B, Contemporary R&B
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.
Always a strong singles artist, Ciara has struggled to find enough memorable material to fill an album. She comes closer than ever on her fourth full-length, Basic Instinct. The big difference is her choice of collaborators: Hitmakers Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, the duo behind Rihanna?s ”Umbrella” and Beyoncé?s ”Single Ladies,” produced and/or co-wrote most of these tracks.
“Basic Instinct (U Got Me),” the opening track from Ciara’s new album, starts with a syncopated guitar riff lifted from “Eye of the Tiger. ” The track is half fight song, half apology for Fantasy Ride‘s lack of a chart-destroying hit: “See I was on the red carpet/When I shoulda been in the studio, layin’ down hot shit. ” Self-awareness turns out to be a good look for Ciara, though the song works because the muscular track totally undermines her self-critique, like she’s come out swinging because we were all too stupid to realize how hot her last album actually was.
On the opening track of Ciara's fourth studio album, the R&B performer takes aim at the haters and goes in on herself for allowing fame's spoils to distract from her musical ambitions. Basic Instinct (U Got Me) should be full of fiery bluster, but Ciara's ire is so unconvincing, she establishes herself as an afterthought on an album that plays like a showcase for top R&B producers Tricky Stewart and The-Dream. The duo surround Ciara's whispery timbre with sleek, hazy beats and bass jams that hit satisfyingly low (especially on intoxicating closer I Run It).
It’s come late, but Basic Instinct is one of the best RnB albums of the year. Matthew Horton 2010 Ciara’s hoity-toity brand of charisma can feel like a lack of personality, her unapproachable demeanour precluding warmth, an endless turnover of producers clouding her identity. From a standing start, she was an RnB/crunk star, scoring a number one straight off with Goodies, but innovation and momentum tailed off as a succession of collaborators tried to nail a signature sound – each album has had its moments, but focus has been fleeting, with credits as long as your arm.