Evolotion of what
Sherance Brothers | Jasper Ala | 08/15/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"never liked ciara she's cute but not much of a singer she's best known as a p popper."
A True Evolution Toward Greatness (4.5 Stars)
firefairyangel | Canada | 04/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When Ciara Harris debuted in 2004, many wrote her off as just another artist on the crunk train, which would stop making music as soon as the engine behind the trend fizzled out. It is rare for the average artist these days to take a risk, especially when faced with the possibility of the dreaded "sophomore slump" curse. Luckily, Ciara took a risk with her second album and it worked in her favour. With this album, Ciara had a lot to prove, both vocally and stylistically. After her debut, she was quickly written off as a weak singer who could only do well when singing upbeat, dance tracks. In addition, producing album after album of nothing but dance tracks is hardly a viable option, since it is subject to the ever-changing trends and would inevitably become a tired re-hash. While Evolution had proved to most that Ciara can sing, it does not necessarily do much to prove that her albums don't need to be dance-heavy.
In spite of an unnecessary spoken interlude, and even more unnecessary yelling by Lil Jon, "That's Right" is an amazing opening track. The chorus is vaguely reminiscent of Ciara's earlier work, but the verses are on a whole other level. Between the breathy vocals and the driving beat, this is one of the catchiest songs the album has to offer, and a great way to start things off. "Like A Boy" is easily one of the most innovative songs of recent years, especially as it interpolates a positive message among its engaging production. Here, Ciara questions how a guy would react if she started doing things that were stereotypically male. This is likely to become one of Ciara's career highlights. "The Evolution of Music" is the first of a few interludes where Ciara adds in her own commentary about current music. While what she is saying is certainly true, it disrupts the flow of the album. Lead single "Promise" provides solid evidence that Ciara is capable of making a single that is neither upbeat nor crunk. This is also one track that showcases Ciara's singing ability. Here, she opts to sing mostly in falsetto, like she did in her first single, but this time around it sounds much stronger. The bridge in particular sounds beautiful.
"I Proceed" is a confident, hard-hitting dance track although the chorus is quite repetitive. The verses are spoken more than sung, which in most cases is a clear indication that the artists cannot sing, but in this case, it works to Ciara's favour. Despite the repetitive nature of the lyrics, the track as a whole works, although it is far from the best the album has to offer. "Can't Leave Em Alone" features past-his-prime rapper 50 Cent, yet surprisingly he does a decent job. As a single, this track received mixed reviews although considering the two singles before it were so strong, it's no surprise. This is much more of a pop track than anything else Ciara's ever done, yet her ability to pull it off convincingly indicates some level of versatility. Again, the bridge is the best part of the track. "C.R.U.S.H" is another more pop track, which may seem very immature, but it should be pointed out that people of all ages could get crushes. In general, songs where the artist spells things at you tend not to work, but the way Ciara incorporates it into the lyrics makes it believable. Instead of just singing out the letters, each one stands for something Ciara likes about the guy.
"My Love" slows things down into a beautiful mid-tempo kiss-off, in which Ciara lets her guy know that he's the problem. Essentially, Ciara is telling him that if he knew how good he had it, he would have treated her better. This is definitely an album highlight, due to the vocals and simple yet effective lyrics. "Evolution of Dance", another somewhat unnecessary interlude, follows, setting the stage for a slew of dance tracks. The first of these, "Make It Last Forever" is very reminiscent of Janet Jackson, but fails to stand out when compared to the first half of the album. Ciara's airy vocals make this an enjoyable listen and a great album track, but there is nothing especially remarkable. In fact, Ciara's "rap" toward the middle actually detracts from the song as a whole. "Bang It Up" is a step although Ciara's voice is all but completely buried among all the layers. This song suffers from a weak chorus, although the verses sound good. In all honesty, the production makes this song, but its style is enough to make it an enjoyable dance track. "Get Up", the single from the Step Up soundtrack fares much better. It's infectious hip-hop number, and even guest rapper Chamillionaire sounds decent. This probably would not have sounded out of place on Ciara's debut, although that is certainly not a bad thing. "The Evolution of Fashion" is yet another needless interlude, especially since there is only one song between it and the next interlude.
"Get In, Fit In" is easily the worst track this album has to offer. Although the verses aren't bad, there are just too many other things wrong with it. Aside from the repetitive chorus, we have Ciara counting in Japanese for no apparent reason. It tries hard to have a good message, but unlike "Like a Boy", it doesn't have the appeal to back it up. "The Evolution of C" is the final interlude is another nice commentary from Ciara, but really does not contribute anything to the album. Luckily, Evolution ends off with a triumvirate of its strongest tracks. "So Hard" succeeds due to its sincerity and simplicity. Here, Ciara comments on a past relationship and how it is affecting her current one. This is also one of a few tracks to really show off Ciara's vocal ability. "I'm Just Me" uses the overplayed theme of artists being just like everyone else in spite of their fame. In this case, Ciara manages to pull it off rather convincingly. This is arguably the most overlooked track, since few seem to have much opinion on it right away. It is sandwiched between the albums two strongest ballads, and although it is not quite on the same level as they are, it remains a strong track on its own. Finally, Ciara ends off the album with "I Found Myself", a true highlight and testament to her growth. This is one of the most personal tracks, and easily Ciara's best ballad. She is wise enough to remain within her vocal limitations, yet still manages to create a beautiful, touching track.
Overall Mark: 4.5/5
With this album Ciara has skilfully sidestepped the dreaded sophomore slump. At the same time, she brought her work to an unprecedented new level, showcasing her skill at both upbeat and slower tracks. In fact, many of the places where Ciara shines brightest here are the slower-paced tracks. Another main asset is the innovation demonstrated by several of the tracks, especially hit single "Like a Boy". If it weren't for the interludes, and the one weak track, this album just may have been on par to be a contemporary classic, although of course it is too early to tell. Nonetheless, Ciara has already proved herself as more than a one-hit wonder, and hopefully will continue in this vain on albums to come.