Ciara Beauty Marks
Published May 14, 2019"The best thing I can do for myself is love myself." These days, for Ciara, music superstardom doesn't seem to be a priority. Perpetually in a curious place of R&B-pop, elevated solely by charisma and a knack for working with generically catchy Destiny's Child-adjacent melodies that work for her limited range, Ciara has been an artist that we've been rooting for since 2004's "1, 2 Step."
That's not to say the Austin-to-Atlanta artist doesn't still bring it on Beauty Marks. Her seventh album sees the artist as a mother, wife to a professional football star and with a legacy that is, while not Earth-shattering, is nothing to completely dismiss.
Having Macklemore guest star on your album in 2019 is eyebrow-raising, but "I Love Myself "is effervescent enough to sound like a winner. "Thinking Bout You" is the pop-flavour ditty that grooves off Prince-lite guitar chords; "Trust Myself" carries itself off of its simple yet well-constructed songwriting; and Kelly Rowland hops in the whip to give "Girl Gang" a satisfying spin.
Things take a mildly adventurous turn with the West African musical influences within "Na Na," and "Freak Me" featuring Tekno. Despite the predictable power-pop piano chord progression and set in a key that pushes her vocal range, the title track works for what it is: an empowering anthem about being comfortable in one's own skin that is destined for soundtracks.
ATL vibes reign supreme on Beauty Marks, a breezy and carefree offering that is still as non-proprietary as ever — but reveals she has nothing to lose or prove in 2019. (Independent)