I’ll probably be posting only lightly for the next couple of weeks or so, and I assume that’s the case for Tom, Miriam, and Bill as well. I will try to put up some older reviews though, so things won’t entirely grind to a halt. So, without further ado…

This review ran in Bitch a while back.

The Evolution
{LaFace Records}

Ciara’s first album, *Goodies*, had some great hooks but was marred by an odd impersonality. On “*The Evolution*, her sophomore effort, she hasn’t so much transcended that failing as embraced it — she’s evolved (as it were) into a robot. On “Like a Boy” (in which the singer imagines what it would be like to be as emotionally inaccessible as her man), the heavily processed vocals and machined beats strip her of gender altogether; on “I’m Just Me,” she declares that she’s “ghetto” over alienated backing tracks that suggest she actually fell to earth from Saturn.

These incongruities, and the attendant guffaws, probably aren’t quite what Ciara intended. Still, she’s clearly enjoying the sci-fi goofiness — why else would she appear on her album decked out in giant silvery pants like some sort of intergalactic aerobics instructor? And the line-up of A-list R&B producers Ciara’s brought along seem equally thrilled at the opportunity to drop some Afro-futurist insanity. On “I Proceed,” the Neptunes lay down rhythms stiff enough to make Devo involunarily herky-jerk ; will.i.am provides glorious Kraftwerk-like blips and bloops for “Get In, Fit In”; and on “Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone” Rodney Jerkins does the best music box impersonation this side of Aphex Twin. These echoes of space-ages past are expertly blended with current top-40 technology; walls of harmony, intricate songwriting, guest raps, and (as indicated above) lyrics right out of your high-school journal. The combination is ridiculous, exhilarating, sublime, and genuinely startling. I’m glad Ciara has finally found herself — and delighted that the self she’s found is, counterintuitively, a cybernetic organism.

Listen To While Reading: *Do Androids Dream of Electric Boogaloo?*

Danger! Prolonged Exposure Will: Cause you to merge with your ipod.