With no release date in sight, Ciara’s fourth album, ‘Basic Instinct’, was looking a little uncertain for a while. A few weeks ago I reviewed her recent smash ‘Gimme Dat’, which has since been serviced to the radio and is doing quite well. It looks like Ciara’s team has finally gotten their act together and decided to release dual-singles before the album drops. While ‘Gimme Dat’ is being serviced to Top 40 radio the radio R&B stations will be graced with the mid tempo ‘Speechless’. This is a great idea because it worked for Usher’s last album, which proved to bring strong sales for him. I’m sure her team is hoping for the same outcome.
‘Speechless’ is the best mid-tempo song that Ciara has released to date. The song was produced and written by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. They seem to have left their comfort zone with this song because it does not sound like anything they have produced in the past. The horn lead beat runs smoothly against the bass line and claps. This sounds like a song that could have been on Ciara’s debut album, which is not surprising since she has stated that this album would return to her roots. The beat is very much an urban anthem, and proves to be the exact switch up that Ciara needed. With hard beats like ‘Ride’ and ‘Gimmer Dat’ Ciara needed to have a song that was both soft yet gritty.
Ciara has one of the weakest voices in the industry today but she does not let it bring her down. ‘Speechless’ shows her voice off very modestly, display both her range and ability to connect emotional with the song. Her harmonies at 2.54 in the song sound awesome, and she seems to have more confidence when singing in her high register. Her top 10 hit ‘Love, Sex, and Magic’ displayed weak high vocals that did not sound as good as they should of. Ciara seems to have found a key that works well with her voice.
I’ve said it before but I will continue to say it, it is important for an artist to show growth both vocally and musically on every album. If you continue to sound that same than you will lose your audience. Ciara may not be one of the driving forces in music right now, but she has consistently tried different things on each of her albums and pushed herself vocally. ‘Speechless’ fits both Ciara’s image and sound, yet sounds fresh and new for her. I was nervous when she announced that she was returning to the sounds of her first album, because that was released back in 2004. Music has changed since then, but Ciara proved that she knows what she is doing. ‘Speechless’ is an updated version of the southern slow jam. She is not only evolving herself, but also evolving the music she became famous for.
‘Speechless’ is not one of those tracks that you will fall in love with at first listen, which is better off. Songs that grow on their audience have more staying power on the charts, but do take longer to reach their peak. The “I-I-I-I-I-I’m speechless” line may be annoying to some listeners at first, but most hooks are annoying; that what makes them so addictive. The song should do quite well on the R&B charts. It has gotten a lot of radio play without being officially released, so I could see this going to number 1. I hope for Ciara’s sake that I’m right. A number 1 single could save her career right now. With two singles out, each getting the video treatment, it appears that Ciara is doing all that she can to make sure ‘Basic Instinct” is a success. If she continues to release songs like this I’m sure she will fair just fine.