Playdar: Ciara’s New Album Worth the Wait?

G Philly's resident DJ Patrick DeMarco pitches in his two cents on whether CiCi's latest offering lives up to the hype.

Get up in the kitchen with Ciara as she serves up a fest of trunk-bangin’ beats and bedroom grooves on her eagerly anticipated, self-titled fifth studio album.

Rhythm-and-blues diva Ciara has had an interesting musical journey since we tried to tap into her jar full of “goodies” nearly a decade ago. Though she had back-to-back hits right out of the gate, her later work has had to fight for the attention of radio programmers while other R&B divas (namely Beyoncé and Rihanna) filled the airwaves. And surely, the lack of support for her last two albums (2009’s Fantasy Ride and 2010’s Basic Instinct) from her new-defunct record label, Jive, didn’t help the situation either. Now, like a true lady, she’s still standing and rejoined with original mentor (and The X Factor reject) L.A. Reid, along with record label LaFace Records. The result? A fierce and focused set that brings Ciara back to her roots with plenty of that car-rattling flavor.

With this album, Ciara brings plenty of heat on the dance floor and in the boudoir. Twerk-tastic lead single, “Body Party,” is an irresistible romp that is no doubt one of Ciara’s finest slow jams. The rattling basslines of “Sophomore,” “Super Turnt Up” and “Keep On Lookin’,” meanwhile, will send you straight into a booty pop at the club. Also, the silky seductions of “DUI” and “Overdose” just may have you drawing those blinds, locking that door and having you indulge in your own private kiki. One of my favorite tracks, the aptly titled “Read My Lips,” is a delicious ode to tasting that lovin’ downtown. (You might say it’s her “Kisses Down Low.”) In the sexually-charged ditty, Ciara says plain and simple to her man, “You gotta savor it, savor it / I know it’s your favorite dish.” Yummy.

There are really only two tracks that bring the energy down a notch. The first is the opening number, “I’m Out,” with Nicki “Wigs” Minaj. Put simply, Minaj’s spastic presence made me say “I’m out” when I heard it. But I will say that the bootylicious video (below) makes up for the lagging track just a little. The other dud is “Where You Go,” which is an odd ballad that features Ciara’s latest hip-hop beau, Future. The space-like slow jam seems to feel out of place in a set full of bangers.

There has been a lot of buzz building around Ciara’s fifth album, and for quite some time now — and I’m here to say it’s all been much-deserved. Ciara sounds very comfortable on this record with these sleek, well-produced numbers, and that is something I haven’t been able to say about my girl CiCi in a while. If you still don’t believe me, be sure to check out the new album for yourself when it hits store shelves July 9, and also check out her fiery performance of “Body Party” and “I’m Out” from the BET Awards this past Sunday.

I’m going to give Ciara four twerks out of five.

“Body Party” Music Video:

“I’m Out” Music Video:

Album Highlight:

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