Soul songstress Ciara zooms into the future on Fantasy Ride, employing several high-profile producers, as well as giving German-Jamaican electro-grunge wizard Tricky a spin behind the boards for some of the album's best work.
Several R&B singers of late -- Raphael Saadiq and Solange Knowles come to mind -- have put out excellent albums relying on sounds from the old school, straying from the current synth-swirling, guest-MC-heavy formula of more modern sounds.
Ciara zooms into the future with the spacey Fantasy Ride. Several tracks are co-produced by German-Jamaican grungy electronic whiz Tricky, and he adds a bit of grimy, futuristic depth to some of the album's best work.
"Turntables" veers from straight-ahead R&B dance to include Eastern-flavored synthesizers, a robotic kids' chorus and Chris Brown; producer Los Da Mystro puts a dubby spin on the traditional R&B ballad on "Lover's Thing," and "Work" builds on an old-school drum loop that would be perfect for popping and locking, until Missy Elliott comes in for a double-time chorus.
Tricky's imprint can definitely be heard on the horrorshow melody and low, grinding synths of "High Price," and boardwork by The Y's, The-Dream and Polow Da Don is solid, if a little generic at times.
Hear samples from Fantasy Ride at Amazon.com.