First Impressions: Give Up Or Live Up? The Ciara Conundrum

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Guilty pleasures"---that term is a little loose with me, a little elitist in it's tone. If I enjoy it, I enjoy it with unabashed gusto, and well, I enjoy Ciara's music. Well, not with too much unabashed gusto, but I do find myself nodding my head every now and then.

Ciara is what I would call the 'Bridesmaid of R&B'. She just never gets to walk down that aisle to the handsome groom. She just remains right there on the sideline twirling a bouquet in hand and hoping to not get barked at by the bridezilla bride again.  I feel for her. I feel for artists like her. Still somehow I get reeled into her zone, possibly because she's an Austin-ite (I totally get her South Texas Girl struggle---and it's a struggle believe me). Then again there are a cluster of songs that I do enjoy from her, and The Evolution was very good to me in 2006 and still is, so there is that. Plus you can't harp on a girl for trying, but at this juncture Ciara shouldn't be trying, she should be doing, doing things bigger and better. So is she going to be 'doing the do' when she marches in with her now fifth album, One Woman Army this November? I'm formulating predictions thanks to already leaked songs, "Sorry" and "Livin' It Up" and still the future looks foggy.

After so many stops and premiere date stalls, the official first single, "Sorry" debuts by way of a visual (which you can view after the cut), and while that's nice and all I'm not going act like I haven't heard "Sorry" before. It's pretty much "Promise", reheated over in the microwave with all the smut extracted from it and so gushy Hallmark card lyrics in it's place. Not terrible, not out of line of Ciara's usual grindin' ballad steeze, just c'mon, I don't have amnesia.

Now the buzzy track, "Livin' It Up" premiered earlier this month through Cosmopolitan, and this is something a little different, a little something less comatose. Shimmering and swaying on a vibrant beat and a Kid N' Play sample, "Livin'" is the most polished she has ever sounded. Ciara sounds like she's dipped her whole foot into the pop music waters instead of tepidly testing with one toe, and she makes a much bigger splash this way. Okay, so we won't be getting "1, 2 Step" or "Get Up" greatness this time 'round, but we'll just see if Ciara will either 'give up' or 'live up' for the remainder of One Woman Army when it drops in November.

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