Remind Us Why Ciara Is Amazing – #fivesongsthat

In #fivesongsthat, Features, HOME, MUSIC by Sam Prance

#fivesongsthat is a feature in which someone selects and discusses fives songs that…do something collectively. Political, personal, perhaps a mixture of the two – it encourages people to consider what certain tracks might represent when placed together. That and it gives us a chance to indulge in some great music.

Ciara is the McDonalds Apple Pie of pop – she’s amazing, and unbelievably underappreciated. Over the course of her career thus far, she’s provided us with a vast array of amazing tunes, and some eye-wateringly incredible music videos to accompany them. She also dances like a pro, and whilst we’re not usually ones for commenting on appearance here at PTL, she does manage to look incredible in everything she does.

Case in point – the above. In celebration of Ciara’s return with said amazing new single ‘I Bet’, I decided to look back at Ci-Ci’s five best musical moments. Comment below to let us know yours. – James

 1. Pick Up The Phone – 2004

In 2004, life was simpler. For one, we bought CD singles from Woolworths. Furthermore, Top Of The Pops was still airing, and most importantly, songs about phone calls had far more of an urgency to them. Isn’t it sad that in the age of Twitter, songs such as this, Ciara’s outpouring of emotion over an inability to get through to her caller, are few and far between? The reality that hits you when listening to this is Ciara’s urgent delivery – she is repeating the same line – ‘Pick Up The Phone’ – because she has no alternative.

Back in 2004, Ci-Ci couldn’t drop a Whatsapp or a passive aggressive sub-tweet – this was her only option, and it shows. ‘I know you see me on your Caller ID, so pick up the P-H-O-N-E’ – 2004 was a simpler time.

2. I Proceed – 2006

In the year of Nelly Furtado and Shakira dominating the charts, I’d be lying if I said I remember Ciara’s second era in 2006. At this point, I was actually engulfed with two major personal struggles to overcome – my hatred for Textiles lessons and my fear of standing on the school bus following an unfortunate incident with an emergency stop and a tub of Fruit Salad some months earlier.

Nonetheless, retrospectively this record is a pretty solid listen, and my personal highlight is ‘I Proceed’ – a song that lyrically tackles that often-neglected pop topic of a love of dancing in a club. Also, it was produced by The Neptunes, and that’s probably 75% of the reason that it’s so so good.

Pharrell’s legacy is pretty much secure in 2015 – he could probably release an album of cat screeching and he’d still be heralded as one of the producers of our era. Yet, in 2006 his legacy was less secure. He was still unpredictably amazing, and this is one of the records that reminds us just how innovative and influential his work has been for pop, not just post ‘Blurred Lines’, ‘Get Lucky’, ‘Happy’, but over the last decade or so.

3. Love Sex Magic – 2009

In preparation for our Year Eleven prom at school, we’d been told that the final song of the night would be the iconic classic ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’ from Dirty Dancing. Such was the gravity of this promise that we had been rehearsing a special dance routine in our P.E lessons leading up to the big night. As prom night drew to a close, and the announcement was made that it was time for the last dance, we all got ready for the momentous moment that was about to happen. It was going to be real tear-jerker.

Imagine our surprise then, when rather surprisingly, instead of Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes life affirming vocals, Ciara and Justin Timberlake’s ‘Love Sex Magic’ started booming out the speakers. Had it all been a joke? Had the DJ simply pressed the wrong button? Was anyone going to say anything?

No-one did say anything, and we subsequently celebrated the completion our Key Stage 4 education to the dulcet sounds of Ci-Ci and JT’s ode to all things saucy and sexual. What a way to toast out the GCSE years.

Absolute tune too.

4. Gimmie Dat – 2010

Has a fanny pack ever looked so flawless?

Ciara’s videos are always pretty amazing, but this one takes the crown for me as her best. She exudes star quality in every shot, she dances in a rain storm and in the final moments of the video she clones herself to form a five-strong dancing army. This was lifted from the album that saw Ciara debut at Number 44 on the Billboard 200. Number 44. The lady literally cloned herself and danced manically in an abandoned warehouse. She wore a ‘FLY’ fanny pack and the public still didn’t bite – proof that *boundary-pushing* fashion and strange video shoot locations don’t always equal strong record sales.

5. Body Party – 2013

What an amazing comeback this was. After releasing a series of ‘lead singles’ that didn’t chart (what is the world coming to), it was looking as if Ciara’s fourth album was going to meet the same fate as it’s underperforming predecessor. Luckily, all Ciara needed was an amazing song – and this is just that.

It’s hard to pin-point what exactly makes this the best straight-up R’n’B song of the last five years. Is it the amazing production of Mike Will Made It? It is the video that reminded us of Janet Jackson in her mid-90s prime? Or was it the fact that it was so lovely to see a star who unequivocally deserves success return somewhat to her creative and commercial peak? Probably all of the above.

At its core, this is an amazing song.

Sometimes, regardless of theatrics, stage presence and star quality, that is all you need.

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Ciara’s sixth album, Jackie, is due out in May, and its lead single ‘I Bet’ is available in almost every territory but the U.K. Aside from some questionable ballet performances, Ciara is pretty much everything you could want in a modern day popstar, we’re so happy she’s back doing what she does best.

James Fyfe

James is the Editor of MUSIC at PTL. Apart from a love of pretty much all things music, he also enjoys watching Question Time on Thursday nights, going out on Fridays and watching as many awful films on Netflix as he can. If James won the lottery, he would create a musical based on the works of Janet Jackson. Watch this space.

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