Ciara: ‘Jackie’ Track-By-Track Album Review

onlyciara.com
onlyciara.com

R&B hitmaker and dancing queen Ciara is back with her sixth studio album Jackie, which the songstress has hailed as her most personal. After a turbulent year filled with motherhood, cheating lovers, and hard work this diva is back and has a message to deliver on her last album.

Ciara declares that she is a “B.M.F.” (Bad Mother F***er) from the very moment that she hops on Jackie with the album opener “Jackie (B.M.F.).” The track starts out with a touching tribute to her late mother, a girl with big dreams that taught Ciara what it means to be a woman. Following an orchestral introduction, Ci Ci calls for a beat drop, and things get sick nasty in a damn good way as the “Goodies” songstress rides the beat like the baddest B.M.F. imaginable. The song is comprised of a series of dramatic beat drops and switch ups, building into a more than five-minute mini-drama. It’s a compelling track, woven together around the chorus over which Ciara absolutely growls that she is indeed a “bad mother f***er.” I don’t know about you, but I absolutely believe her.

Following her strong entry, Ciara teams up with Pitbull and Missy Elliott to take things to the dance floor on “That’s How I’m Feelin’,” a breezy and easily danceable track. Ciara’s vocals are absolutely engaging as she sings about enjoying a night at the club. Missy and Pitbull deliver strong verses, though Missy Misdemeanor Elliott definitely brings something a little extra. Although it’s not the most original cut on the album (Ciara and Missy have teamed up to huge success in the past and are undoubtedly hoping to capitalize on that here), it is still a fun dance cut.

After breaking it down at the club and tossing back a shot or two (or four), Ciara moves things into the bedroom for some energized bedtime adventures on “Lullaby.” Starting out with a throwback piano production, complete with a signature crackle on the track, “Lullaby” rapidly evolves into a song for “freaking.” It’s raunchy fun, but Ciara manages to keep it more playful than X-rated.

Things get a little more romantic as Ciara moves into a standout track “Dance Like We’re Making Love,” which features a more stripped back production and is more romantic than overtly sexual. The song’s chorus is an absolute standout as Ciara breaks down the words into their syllables with a breathy stutter. The song resonates with passion as well as a mature sexuality. It’s a slinky and dazzling R&B stunner complete with a wonderfully emotive vocal track from Ciara, proving that this songstress is capable of riding the slickest beats as well as serving something a little more personal.

Ciara makes a return to some freakier love making while growing across the stripped back urban inspired beat on “Stuck On You.” On the track she proclaims that she wants to get stuck on a lover at the club, take of that what you will (but know that things are getting nasty). Lyrically the song doesn’t bring anything particularly ground breaking to the mix, but the production is fairly innovative and drives resolutely forward underneath a little fuzz and Ciara’s passionate ad-libs.

Ciara picks things back up and gets inspiring on the moving mid-tempo ballad that is “Fly,” on which the songstress lets go of a failing relationship so that she and her lover can move on to better opportunities in the future. There is a refreshing maturity to the performance with Ciara approaching the breakup with optimism for a better future. Her vocal performance is filled with warmth and hope, and it is without a doubt one of the stronger vocal tracks on Jackie. The hopeful lover’s voice soars over the strong production that provides a little lift for the deeper topic.

Some relationships don’t end as well as others, and Ciara proves just that as she moves into her 90s inspired lead single “I Bet.” The song is dedicated to a cheating lover and features some of the most amazingly shady lyrics to describe her lover’s mistress. What better way to prove that your lover downgraded than by declaring that his lover has a “silicone ass” and “Brazilian hair?” Game set match and this one goes to Ciara, queen of shade. Slick digs aside, the song is good but far from the strongest cut from Jackie. Rumor has it that the song is dedicated to Ciara’s ex-hubby and rapper Future, who allegedly cheated on Ciara while she was pregnant with his child, which may explain the selection as lead single. It may not be the strongest, but everyone wants to know what happened. This provides a fair idea without airing all of the couple’s dirty laundry for the world to see.

Ciara doesn’t want a lot of things in life. She’s got money, cars, and all that jazz, but what she really wants is love, a desire that she demands on “Give Me Love.” The track is less than ecstasy-inducing but a fairly energizing offering from Jackie. Following a fairly commonplace theme, Ciara declares that she doesn’t need anything but love. It’s an admirable command, but the track doesn’t really bring anything new to the mix and falls a little short of expectations. It’s fun for dancing too, but it doesn’t really deliver anything that you haven’t heard before

Things pick up a little bit on “Kiss & Tell,” a song about sharing a relationship with the world. The chorus is pretty compelling as Ciara declares “I know I shouldn’t kiss and tell / about the way you do my body baby / but I just gotta tell somebody / how you do how you do it for me” over a throwback production. Moving into “All Good” Ciara makes a move to start yet another dance party. This time, around things are eternally uplifting as Ciara sings about enjoying the ride that is life.

On the emotional “Only One” Ciara begs for a lover who treats her with respect both when they’re in public and in private. Realizing that she has allowed this to continue for far too long, Ciara shares her ultimatum with her loved one. You can feel her pain as well as her hope that said lover will realize the error of his ways and provide for her.

Regardless of whether or not her lover is capable of providing for her, Ciara realizes that she will be fine on her own as she moves into “One Woman Army.” The song starts out with a dramatic intro, complete with a drum line and the sound of marching troops. “I rise above /cuz I’m too blessed” Ciara confirms before marching forward with the utmost conviction. The actual song features a more electro inspired production that still contains some of the more dramatic elements of the song’s introduction. On the track Ciara reveals that she is capable of taking care of herself, though she wouldn’t mind a partner. The song builds in power as it moves towards its chorus and is another standout on the album as it simply resounds with energy. It’s undeniably confident and feel good, making for a wonderfully danceable track especially as it moves into the extended dance break. This is one of the song’s I most want to see live, because Ciara is going to break it down like none other.

Jackie closes out with “I Got You,” a song dedicated to baby Future Zahid Wilburn who makes a short appearance on the track. The song starts out with Ciara singing a lullaby to baby Future, before the duo break out into laughter and Ciara follows up by moving into the original content of the song. Ciara vows to protect and provide for her baby over the simple acoustic production. She declares that sometimes things can get difficult, but that she will always provide for and love her child. The song is breathtakingly beautiful for Ciara’s entirely dedicated vocal track, which resonates with purity and conviction. As the song evolves, strings come in underneath Ciara’s vocals and provide a gorgeous instrumentation. This is easily the most personal song on Jackie, and Ciara’s performance is commendable.

Overall, Jackie is a decently strong offering from Ciara. Things haven’t always gone her way, but that hasn’t stopped Ciara from providing strong music in studio. The “Ride” siren promised that Jackie would be her most personal offering to date, and in a lot of ways she delivers. The album is overflowing with true emotion and a brazen confidence, proving that Ciara is a survivor. After everything that she has been through, she is still a confident B.M.F., and more than that she is still capable of love both in a maternal and romantic sense. This is a woman who has been burnt before, but she approaches new situations with a sense of maturity as well as a spark of fun. She’s been bent, but she’s not broken. In fact, she has come back stronger than ever.

Jackie serves some truly innovative tracks that prove the songstress is still capable of creating. The album blends the heaviness of a broken heart with the fun of letting loose and ends with one of the most touching and mature tracks of Ciara’s discography. Jackie proves that she is a woman, and it’s an entirely listenable ride. What do you think of Jackie? Let us know in the comments below!

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