Deep Album Cuts Vol. 40: Ciara

Ciara is not someone I ever really expected to have a catalog that I respect, but with the release last month of her 6th album, Jackie, she's really getting there. When she debuted a decade ago, she seemed like a classic singles artist who'd only ever be good for the occasional radio jam. But then she dropped a really impressive follow-up album, Ciara: The Evolution. And then she's been in varying states of career limbo since then, releasing four albums from which only "Body Party" has really emerged as something remotely as big or enduring as the hits from her first two albums.

That her last few albums have had a lot of unsuccessful and/or outright bad singles, while the albums themselves have been fairly consistent suggests one thing: a lot of good deep cuts and woefully neglected would-be hits. I wouldn't say she'd be a much bigger artist if she'd released some of these songs as singles, but she might have a better rep if she'd picked them over dogs like "Go Girl" and "I'm Out" and "Like A Surgeon" and ok I'll stop, I've made my point.

Ciara Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist): 

1. Bang It Up
2. Kiss & Tell
3. Hotline
4. Pick Up The Phone
5. You Can Get It
6. That's Right (featuring Lil Jon)
7. Tell Me What Your Name Is
8. I Don't Remember
9. C.R.U.S.H.
10. Girls Get Your Money
11. Next To You
12. Where You Go (featuring Future)
13. My Love
14. Lover's Thing (featuring The-Dream)
15. Ooh Baby
16. Addicted
17. Yeah I Know
18. Give Me Love
19. Make It Last Forever
20. Read My Lips
21. One Woman Army

Tracks 3, 4, 11 and 15 from Goodies (2004)
Tracks 1, 6, 9 13, 16 and 19 from Ciara: The Evolution (2006)
Tracks 7, 8 and 14 from Fantasy Ride (2009)
Tracks 5, 10 and 15 from Basic Instinct (2011)
Tracks 12 and 20 from Ciara (2013)
Tracks 2, 18 and 21 from Jackie (2015)

Ciara does two things really well: athletically propulsive dance tracks and sultry ballads. I never thought the latter would be possible when her first album came out, but then came "Promise," my #1 R&B single of the 2000s. She's not a terribly forceful singer or personality, but she does just fine when she stays in those two comfort zones.

Given Ciara's charming, vaguely earnest blank slate persona, her records tend to rise and fall on the strength and compatibility of her collaborators. And she's made deep cuts with some of the same people who helped make her biggest hits, so you get things like "That's Right," a Lil Jon track I like more than "Goodies," or "Where You Go," a song with Future that foreshadowed the current state of their relationship better than "Body Party," and several The-Dream-penned songs that are much better than "Ride," and Polow Da Don tracks like "Bang It Up" that make a good uptempo companion to "Promise." There are also people she's only worked on album tracks with, like R. Kelly ("Next To You"), Bangladesh ("Hotline"), and Ne-Yo ("I Don't Remember"). I'm also really fond of the unjustly dismissed new album Jackie, which has some Dr. Luke tracks that suit her surprisingly well.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
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