Album Reviews: Goodies by CiaraIt had to happen: Crunk finally has its Paula Abdul. Like her Laker Girl predecessor, Ciara Harris is possessed of a thin but pleasantly breathy, kittenish voice, and she can't carry a tune worth a lick. But also like Paula, she's easy on the eyes, smooth with the dance moves, and backed by some of the top producers in the biz, among them R. Kelly, crunk king Lil' Jon, and her main mentor, veteran "Hotlanta" producer Jazza Pha. In other words, who cares if the girl can sing?
Much like her smash hit single of the same name, Ciara's debut long-player Goodies is the kind of record that will rule the planet for the next two months and be completely forgotten by this time next year. Not that there's anything wrong with that; the producers and songwriters behind these tracks are successful for a reason, and there's plenty of quality ear candy to be had here, from the come-hither slow grind of "Thug Style" to the bouncy "Crunk & B" of "Lookin' at You." And to Ciara's credit, her own lyrics, featured on 10 of the album's 12 tracks, don't buy whole hog into crunk culture's big pimpin', party lifestyle. Her odes to the boys (in other words, pretty much every song - she's only 18, after all) are laced with calls for respect and chides against all the bling-blingers "chokin' on their own chrome," as she teases on "Oh." Not exactly profound stuff, but a hell of a lot better than the skanked-out "goodies" peddled to the teen set by too many other female hip-hoppers.
So go ahead - gorge on these Goodies before they get stale. They're pretty tasty and not that bad for you. But something tells me they're gonna have a short shelf life. - Andy Hermann
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