What Does Ciara’s Return Mean for R&B?

Her Goodies were once kept safe in a jar, but now they’re Super Turnt Up.

Yes, Ciara Harris, the princess of Crunk, the mistress of the dance floor, the champion of booty shaking music has returned. And this time, things are looking up.

Album Artwork
Album Artwork

If you asked me a year ago about Ciara, I would have replied with a sarcastic “who?” Or directed you to the closest Billboard chart she didn’t make it on. I was always fan of her music (besides Goodies), but she was in a major slump and everyone could tell.

Plagued with record label issues, Ciara’s last album debuted at 44 on the charts. Number like these would put any musician out of work. Instead, she got another record deal and decided to start over. Although I had hope for her, things seemed bleak with three failed singles, however Body Party changed things.

Even though Body Party broke top 40, it peaked at just 25, and in Ciara’s prime she would have at least hit top 10. Nonetheless, it was still an improvement from her previous singles. But part of me feels like Ciara’s career woes say less about Ciara, and more about the state of R&B. It seems like the music industry is in a weird phase where dark, trap beats have consumed urban radio and dubstep-stuffed dance floor anthems have taken over mainstream top 40 music. While there are exceptions to this like Robin Thicke and Bruno Mars, we’re currently living in a world where the Ashantis, Keyshia Coles, and Myas can barely survive. Some could say these women are tired and older. But unlike other genres there have been no new hopefuls successful enough to step up and replace their late 1990s/early 2000s successors.

For every Britney, Madonna and Cher, there’s a Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. And we’ve seen artist like Frank Ocean and Miguel transform the R&B genre to something now called “progressive R&B” (which I’m not 100% for), but when was the last time you’ve seen a young R&B female vocalist take over the radio airwaves. What does this mean for urban music? I’m not sure. But I do know that the music industry is constantly changing and going through cycles. We’ll see where it goes next.

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