Release Date: May 5, 2009
Record label: La Face
Genre(s): Pop, R&B, Soul
Ciara's third album has suffered a somewhat tortuous gestation: for six months it has been subject to repeated delays, aborted lead singles and more leaks than a colander. One wonders, though, how RCA could have come close to screwing up an album as sleek as Fantasy Ride. The usual who's who of collaborators is present - Justin Timberlake, The-Dream, Young Jeezy - but impressively, it is Ciara's presence that is stamped firmly on the album.
The final version of Ciara's third album, issued after several months of delay, is quite dissimilar from the one detailed in an August 2008 Billboard cover story. According to the article, Fantasy Ride was to be divided into three sections tentatively titled "Groove City," "Crunk Town," and "Kingdom of Dance." At some point between then and the album's May 2009 release, this concept was mercifully scrapped, quite possibly because the track list underwent some changes. Regardless, it would not be difficult to construct an imaginary three-part Fantasy Ride from the finished product, with each song easy to slot into one of the designations.
On Fantasy Ride, Ciara trades in young girl flirtatiousness for the sexual confidence of a woman who knows what she wants. Riding the groove she found early in her career, she weaves through tipsy booty-call jams, Baltimore-clubesque dance numbers and straight-up rap beats. [rssbreak] This formulaic approach isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does feel like familiar territory at times, particularly on High Price, a Ludacris collaboration reminiscent of Oh.
For the normal pop fan, Ciara’s “Love Sex Magic” was likely the song that signaled that the Atlanta-based singer—once one of the most bankable stars in R&B—was back on the map and back in her right mind creatively. For the Ciara fanatic, “Love Sex Magic” arguably signaled the end of the singer’s career as it once was.In reality, the song resuscitated Ciara Harris’ third album, Fantasy Ride, a project that had already gone through three DOA singles and about four times as many release dates. But by saving the album, “Love Sex Magic” signaled just how far Ciara’s star had fallen.
Such a weird album. Ciara's never exactly been an album artist, but her last two records had album tracks that were good for at least a few moments of dizzy slow-burn pop ecstasy, her languid robotic coo curling itself around expertly futuristic tracks from whatever producer was on fire that year. Ciara's main gift was the way her soft, tiny voice would disappear into the track, turning itself into just one working part in a beautiful, gleaming machine.
Mini music reviews Ciara Fantasy Ride, Ride spends a lot of time in the car-pool lane, with guests like Justin Timberlake (”Love Sex Magic”) and Ludacris (”High Price,” a slinky, if lyrically obnoxious, ode to acquisitiveness). Still, her solo turn on the morning-after ballad ”I Don’t Remember” hints at something deeper under the high-gloss sheen. B — Leah Greenblatt The BoxmastersModbillyBoxmaster Billy Bob Thornton’s recent radio meltdown begged to be heard over and over.
CIARA“Fantasy Ride”(LaFace/Zomba) There’s nothing solid about Ciara, the sinewy Atlanta R&B singer whose whisper has floated above and dripped onto some of the most crooked soul music of the last five years. Invariably, though, those songs were more emphatic than Ciara is. Like liquid — or ….