Over the past 2 years Ciara has been on a rollercoaster ride of emotions with leaving her record label, to giving birth to a beautiful baby boy and separating from her fiancé Future all while writing and recording her sixth studio album. She’s tried to stay very private while going through these life changes and promised her upcoming album would be her most intimate and honest yet. Named after her mother “Jackie” the album delivers some pure rnb/pop bops but lacks the emotionally fueled ballads she hinted towards. Opening with the incredibly messy “Jackie” (B. M. F.) I was very worried where this album was musically going to go because this song was a fusion of three musical ideas cut together and had no real consistency. Luckily the RNB dance track “That’s How I’m Feeling” steered it in the right direction with a playful hook and cool rap featuring Pitbull and Missy Elliott. This is a future smash waiting to be unleashed and could potentially see her re-entering the mainstream charts. “One Woman Army” also stands out with its strong B.P.M, empowering message and infectious hook that leads into a serious dance breakdown that one can only hope you could witness live. “If you want my love you better march to the beat. Fight for my love, you better stand up for me. If you want my love, well that’s how it’s gotta go”. She also brings the RNB/pop bops on this album with the sexually driven “Lullaby” and “Dance Like We’re Making Love” that reminisces old school Cici. Experimenting with a more pop influenced “Fly” lacks the inspirational feel it tries so hard to capture because of unnecessary synth additions. The verses should have been piano led and allowed the chorus to explode with additions of drums and guitar instead of lackluster synths. “Give Me Love” was an instant album favourite with its EDM experimentation that are similar to some of the tracks on her last studio album. While “Kiss & Tell” and “All Good” gives us a cheesy pop/RNB that is playful, cheeky and cute. But this album does have a couple of forgettable tracks that bore and could easily use the skip button including “Only One”, “Stuck On You” and the emotionless “I Got You”.
Looking at the credits for “Jackie” I was quite disappointed to see that she didn’t have much songwriting input. After all this was meant to be her most personal and honest record yet but how could that be when she only co-wrote on some of the “party anthems”? The most personal track is the lackluster lead single “I Bet” that delves into the demise of her relationship with fiancé Future. I would have loved to hear her belt out some power ballads because we know that her vocal range would perfectly compliment them. As a collection of tracks “Jackie” has some strong moments that long term Ciara fans will love but there are a couple of messy, over produced songs that weigh it down.