The Ciara Primer
Ciara's self-titled fifth album arrives in an era when it's tougher than ever for R&B artists to get on pop radio. It's her best work since 2006's The Evolution, and it definitely deserves a wider audience. As a 27-year-old survivor of a failed label deal and two well-publicized flops, she's no longer the talented ATL ingénue who landed two No. 1 hits as a 17-year-old exponent of "crunk&b." But as the sex kitten romp "Body Party" proves, she's still upholding the tradition of sweetly voiced songbirds like Aaliyah and Brandy with music that's infectiously memorable. This playlist recounts a career that ranges from her brief dalliance with Bow Wow on "Like You" and a cameo on Missy Elliott's "Lose Control" to the Justin Timberlake duet "Love Sex Magic" and the mind-blowing eroticism of "Ride."