MUSIC REVIEWS: Riding With Ciara, Cream of Peaches

On today’s docket: Ciara’s Fantasy Ride and Peaches’ I Feel Cream.


Fantasy Ride

LaFace Records

Everyone loves an underdog. Everyone loves a superstar. But almost no one’s got love for an underdog superstar.

That’s how I’d describe Ciara, the 23-year-old R&B star responsible for over ten million albums sold in only five years. While her latest outing, Fantasy Ride, will likely provide no help in separating CiCi from RiRi (and I dare say, from Beysus), it’s a worthy contender.

On paper alone, the album already reads like a smash: From Missy Elliot to Darkchild, Dr. Luke to Danja, and Ludacris to Chris Brown (boo, hiss, etc.), the girl’s simply got it written in the stars. Well, by the stars. But as you might have expected from such a list, the music can get a bit … messy. In fact, it’s the only thing keeping this Ride from lift-off.

Listen to samples right here (Full album stream available at Imeem)

Still, much of the album’s got the grit to inspire some sweat: “Work” and “Pucker Up” are the purest definitions of club bangers, while “G Is For Girl (A-Z)” offers C’s best attempt at ‘tude yet: “N is for
nothing, boy I do this in my sleep / O is for original, cause I’mma O.G.” She’s not nearly “gangsta” enough for me to buy it, but with that clang-a-lang beat, I don’t care if she’s about as hood as Asher Roth.

As we’ve gathered from 2006’s Promise, C knows how to command a ballad. With an Aaliyah-like disjointedness, she tip-toes along “Like A Surgeon,” floats all over the lush chill of “Keep Dancin’ On Me,”
and swoons atop the fluttery “Lover’s Thing” — all while obeying the restrictions of her voice.

Fantasy Ride isn’t quite the stuff of fantasies, nor is smooth sailing throughout. But with a string of floor burners and some truly killer baby makin’ grinds, it’s probably one of the better trips worth taking
this year.


I Feel Cream

XL Recordings

Peaches, Peaches, Peaches … check out your Chrissy behind now.

On her fifth album I Feel Cream, the Queen of Electrocrap has decided to let her hair down (way down if you’ve seen the video for “Talk To Me”) and invited some super cool collaborators into the creamery.
Among them? A slew of the most exciting movers and shakers of alt-electronica, including Soulwax, Digitalism, Drums of Death, and most extensively, Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford.

As with all of Peaches back catalog, the album is lined with skittish, electro up-tempos, including the sugary-sweet bounce of “Trick Or Treat,” the noisy “More,” and the faithfully minimal “Serpentine”
(2009’s contemplative response piece to 2003’s “I Don’t Give A…”).

Listen to samples right here (Full album stream available at Imeem)

While the album is rife with allusions to her age (having turned 40 in November), Peaches keeps her Teaches as sexified as ever, urging listeners to suck that fat and lick her crow’s feet: “Almost as old school as me / Im gonna send you back to school,” she taunts in “Mommy Complex.” Did I forget to mention Peaches was an elementary teacher once? Too real.

But perhaps the greatest surprises here are the numerous mid-tempos including “Lose You,” the best song Annie never recorded, and “I Feel Cream,” a gritty re-interpretation of Donna Summer’s signature “I Feel

It’s only with the plodding “Billionaire” that the artist seems to get mired in the super-slick production from her buddies, sounding as though she were deflating atop uneven electro slaps.

Though the album’s production value is at an all time maximum, the Queen of Nazzty holds her own against the torrent of hard synths and drippy electronica. It’s not the greatest album she’s done, but unlike
some of the other reigning Queens of the music industry (Pop, perhaps?), the songstress keeps it legitimate with this undeniably Peaches affair.


Aside from being a full fledged star, Bradley Stern is an up-and-coming young sprout who enjoys chocolate teddy grahams, organizing his Britney Spears singles in reverse chronological order, and musing about music on his pop music blog, MuuMuse.