Fantasy Ride

Review Roundup: Ciara – ‘Fantasy Ride’

Ciara’s third album Fantasy Ride drops tomorrow. After several delays, does the R&B princess deliver thrills on her latest effort? Find out below.

Entertainment Weekly: Ride spends a lot of time in the car-pool lane with guests like Justin Timberlake and Ludacris. Still, her solo turn on the morning-after ballad “I Don’t Remember” hints at something deeper under the high-gloss sheen. B

The New York Times: Two of the album’s highlights show how to rescue Ciara, both from herself and from others. On “High Price,” produced by Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, her vocals are manipulated to sound like opera, a spooky, ethereal effect that’s both innovative and surprisingly natural. Matched with eyebrow-arching lyrics, it’s the most conspicuous song here, and the best.

Newsday: While Ciara doesn’t really cover any new ground on Fantasy Ride, the ground she’s been mining for three albums is still so fertile that she doesn’t really have to. At this point, the hits seem to just grow themselves. B

The Dallas Morning News: A couple of cuts are particularly bad: “Like a Surgeon” and “G Is for Girl (A-Z).” Those titles are as lame as the songs. It’s pretty amazing that Ciara has carved out a career with nothing more than a pretty face, a lithe body, and a weak voice. At least Janet Jackson was once in control. C

The Guardian (U.K.): Few artists go as hard as she does on her club jams, whether inviting the world to “kiss my swag” over kinetic freestyle beats on “Pucker Up,” combining outraged soprano braggadocio with thunderous crunk basslines on the broiling “High Price,” or gliding smoothly through the delectable, sun-kissed “Echo.” At her best, her pace is furious, and keeping up is exhilarating. 4 out of 5

Los Angeles Times: More agile than powerful, Ciara takes on different styles as if they were disguises: shimmery on ballads produced by Polow Da Don and Tricky Stewart and The-Dream; teeth bared for “Love Sex Magic,” her Madonna-esque duet with Justin Timberlake; and simultaneously sneering and operatic on the daring, Ludacris-fortified “High Price.” 2.5 out of 5

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “High Price,” “Work,” “G Is for Girl (A-Z),” “I Don’t Remember”