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Ciara: The Evolution is Ciara's second studio album. It was released on December 5, 2006 on LaFace Records.

The album is separated into five sections with each showcasing a different side of Ciara's artistry.

The first section features crunk and uptempo records which mainly deal with feminine independence while its successor entitled "The Evolution of Music" features ballads dealing with the positives and struggles of love.

The "Evolution of Dance" features dance tracks The "Evolution of Fashion" deals with self-expression and "The Evolution of C" features tracks that discuss how Ciara has evolved as a person since the start of her career.

The album was seen as a coming of age project for Ciara as it featured songs with more substance than her last effort.

It deals with her experiences after being in the public eye for the two years prior to the album's release.

The tracks are also said to be geared toward a more urban audience.

Ciara was the executive producer of the album and enlisted production from Phillana Williams, Antwoine Collins, Brian Kennedy, Bryan-Michael Cox, Calvo Da Gr8, Dallas Austin, Jazze Pha, Kendrick Dean, Lil Jon, Mr. Collipark, The Neptunes, Polow da Don, Rodney Jerkins, The Clutch, will.i.am, among others and featured guest appearances from 50 Cent and Chamillionaire.

Ciara also co-wrote and co-produces most of the songs.

The album received mixed to positive reviews from most music critics.

Generally, critics praised Ciara's increased vocal ability and the album's lyricism, but criticised its frequent interludes and the latter half of the album.

"The Evolution" became Ciara's first and only number-one album in the US, selling 338,000 copies in its first week.

It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) within five weeks of its release and has sold 1.3 million copies in the US.

The album also achieved moderate success in international markets, reaching the top forty in most of the countries it was released in.

The album spawned four commercial singles including "Get Up" which reached the top ten in the United States and New Zealand.

The next single, "Promise" reached number-one on US R&B charts and number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first top twenty without a featured act.

The third single "Like a Boy" peaked within top twenty in most of the countries it was released in, including the US.

The final single from the album "Can't Leave 'em Alone" achieved moderate success.

Album Production & Development[]

According to Ciara, the title is "about so much more than just my personal growth. It's about the evolution of music, the evolution of dance, the evolution of fashion."

The source of the album's creativity such as the sound and edge comes from Ciara in general, however, Michael Jackson, Prince & Madonna were influences on the album.

During a MTV News interview at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards, Ciara wanted the album to be "Goodies to the 10th power," but didn't want to "stray too far from Goodies" and "rehash the same ideas."

Ciara decided to collaborate with up-and-coming producers such as The Clutch, Calvo Da Gr8, Brian Kennedy, and Antwoine Collins who have not been any artist’s album, so she could be "all about that new person and that new energy." All-star producers also produced on the album.

Polow da Don produced the revolutionary single "Promise" and "Bang It Up."

In early June of 2006, Ciara headed to the recording studio with Sean Garrett (who co-wrote her debut single "Goodies" and The Evolution's "Bang It Up.")

She went on to say that she and Sean fight in the studio, but "it makes a good record."

The Neptunes produced "I Proceed" and "I'm Just Me."

Bryan Michael Cox produced the emotional R&B ballad "So Hard" and Mr. Collipark produced the bonus track "Love You Better."

will.i.am's production included "Get In, Fit In" and "Do It" which samples Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It."

Ciara thought the album needed "some kind of flavor" so she brought in 50 Cent for the Rodney Jerkins-produced "Can't Leave 'Em Alone" which was originally called "Dope Boys."

Jerkins also produced "Make It Last Forever" which samples Lyn Collins's "Think (About It)" and Rob Base's "It Takes Two."

Dallas Austin helped with the inspirational pop ballad "I Found Myself."

Ciara returned to the studio with her debut album collaborators Lil Jon and Jazze Pha.

Lil Jon produced "That's Right" and "C.R.U.S.H." while Jazze Pha produced the album's lead single, "Get Up."

She dipped into the production world while recording this album, co-producing three of the album's tracks, "Like a Boy", "My Love," and "Get In, Fit In."

The album production wrapped between late-August and mid-September.

Composition[]

For the album artwork, Ciara included many stylized images.

She expresses her "evolution of fashion" strongly through the photography.

Andy Kellman of Allmusic said "even the album's sleek cover, somewhere between RoboCop and Pointer Sisters' Break Out, has a devolved look."

Throughout the album, there are several interludes that all start with "The Evolution."

Each interlude deals with different things, such as fashion and dance. The songs following the interlude all relate to the interlude.

The album's opening track, "That's Right" is before the first interlude, and was produced Lil Jon, who is also featured on it.

It is described as an "electrifying album opener." Ciara sings with a "sexy mellow voice with Jon's in your face type rapping." It received positive reviews from music critics.

The song was scheduled as the fourth single, but it was cancelled for unknown reasons. A music video was released for the song in late December of 2007.

The second single "Like a Boy" was well received by critics. It is a female empowerment song which discusses double standards in society and relationships.

The third track "The Evolution of Music" is an interlude which Ciara narrates how she wanted to record music for the album that is different from others on the radio.

The interludes serve as monologues and a "welcome message to be yourself and be confident."

The fourth track, "Promise" was critically acclaimed. The song, described as "Prince-ly ballad" and "sci-fi R&B" became Ciara's first single without a featured act to peak in the Billboard top twenty.

"I Proceed" is the fifth track on the album. Many critics compared the song to Janet Jackson in the 1980s and called it a "Missy Elliott-style throwback" jam.

The sixth track from the album, "Can't Leave 'Em Alone" received mixed reviews from critics.

A negative review called the song "very bad pop-lite" while a positive review published that the song is "'simply another Darkchild classic."

The J.J. Fad–ness C.R.U.S.H. is the seventh track. It details about a young woman having a high school crush on a guy and she yearns to be his girlfriend.

The eighth track, "My Love" was co-produced by Ciara. The song is interpreted to be directed towards Ciara's former boyfriend, Bow Wow. It received favorable reviews from critics.

"The Evolution of Dance" is the second interlude and the ninth track on the album. Ciara tells how she started dancing and how she became the dancer that she is.

The tenth track, "Make It Last Forever" is a "real cool dance/party cut" which samples Rob Base's "It Takes Two."

The crunk–pop "Bang It Up" the eleventh track, received favorable reviews from critics. The song is a mixture of "half-spoken vocal style" and "sweetly, flirtatiously rapping."

The album's lead single and twelfth track, "Get Up" was released as the lead single from the film soundtrack "Step Up."

The single received mixed reviews from critics and fans, being called a "dead ringer for "1, 2 Step."

"The Evolution of Fashion" is the third interlude and thirteenth track on the album.

Ciara gives influential advice about changing a unique fashion style and others will follow the trend.

The fourteenth track, "Get In, Fit In," is a 1980s electronica track. The song received mixed reactions.

"The Evolution of C" is the fourth and final interlude on the album.

Ciara details about how her life has changed within the past two years. The album closes with three ballads, beginning with the sixteenth track "So Hard."

The song received mixed reviews from critics. It has been called a "slog," but it "surpass[es] the aching and breaking moments on the debut."

The seventeenth track, "I'm Just Me," had mixed reception. The final track "I Found Myself" is a "quite beautiful and moving epic suite."

Tracklisting[]

  1. That's Right (feat. Lil Jon) (4:16)
  2. Like a Boy (3:57)
  3. The Evolution of Music (Interlude) (0:10)
  4. Promise (4:24)
  5. I Proceed (4:13)
  6. Can't Leave 'em Alone (feat. 50 Cent) (4:04)
  7. C.R.U.S.H. (4:17)
  8. My Love (4:00)
  9. The Evolution of Dance (Interlude) (0:15)
  10. Make it Last Forever (3:33)
  11. Bang it Up (3:04)
  12. Get Up (feat. Chamillionaire) (4:21)
  13. The Evolution of Fashion (Interlude) (0:15)
  14. Get In, Fit In (4:13)
  15. The Evolution of C (Interlude) (0:19)
  16. So Hard (4:49)
  17. I'm Just Me (4:32)
  18. I Found Myself (4:32)

iTunes Bonus Track

  1. Love You Better (4:30)

Target Bonus Tracks

  1. Addicted (3:08)
  2. Promise (Go and Get Your Tickets Mix feat. R. Kelly) (4:59)

Singles[]

"Get Up" (featuring Chamillionaire) was released as the worldwide lead single on 20 June 2006 It was included on the soundtrack to the 2006 dance film "Step Up."

The song peaked at seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and ten on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming her seventh top ten hit on the former.

It achieved moderate success in international markets, and reached the top five in New Zealand.

The second single from the album, "Promise", was released on 6 July 2006 and peaked at eleven on the US Hot 100 and became Ciara's third number-one hit on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart where it topped the chart for two consecutive weeks.

Its official remix (which features R. Kelly) was released via digital download on February 13, 2007.

On February 13, 2007, "Like a Boy" was released as the third single from the album.

It peaked at nineteen on the US Hot 100 and six on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

It reached the top twenty in most of the international markets it was released in and even reached the top ten in Sweden.

"Can't Leave 'em Alone" (featuring 50 Cent) was released as the fourth and final single on June 12, 2007.

It peaked at forty on the US Hot 100 and became her tenth top ten-hit on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

It achieved moderate success in international markets, and even reached the top five in New Zealand.

"That's Right" (featuring Lil Jon) was planned to be released as a single numerous times, but its release was ultimately cancelled. Its music video was still released on January 12, 2008.

Album Promotion[]

Ciara performed the song "Get Up" on several occasions. She performed the song on the second season finale of "So You Think You Can Dance."

She later appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to perform the song on December 5, 2006 as well as the 2006 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the 2006 St. Lucia Jazz Festival and MTV Goes Gold: New Year's Eve 2007.

On April 3, 2007, Ciara made an appearance on the reality show Dancing with the Stars, where she performed "Like a Boy." She did her famous matrix in a pair of high heels.

While the song was at the height of its popularity Ciara's name was featured in a Sprint campaign along with Joss Stone and My Chemical Romance.

On June 26, 2007, Ciara performed a medley of "Like a Boy" and "That's Right" at the 2007 BET Awards.

On November 24, 2007, she performed "Can't Leave 'em Alone" with 50 Cent at the 2007 World Music Awarda.

In November of 2006, Ciara went on The Evolution Tour. In the tour, she previewed songs from the then-upcoming album, and also performed past hits.

The tour went to seventeen clubs in cities throughout the United States. Its last date was aired on BET's "Access Granted."

In August 2007, she headlined the Screamfest '07 tour with T.I., which went to cities in the United States.

Ciara (along with Chris Brown and Akon) were supporting acts for Rihanna's "Good Girl Gone Bad Tour" in the United Kingdom in December of 2007. She performed songs from the album.

Commercial Performance[]

Ciara: The Evolution debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with sales of more than 338,000 (which is 213,000 more than Ciara's debut album which debuted at number three).

The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the January 27, 2007 issue of Billboard for shipping 1,000,000 units to retail outlets within only five weeks of its release.

The album remained in the top twenty for eight weeks before dropping out and top fifty for sixteen weeks.

In Canada, the album debuted at thirty-two on the Canadian albums chart and five on the R&B albums chart.

In Australia, the album debuted below the ARIA Top 50 at seventy-six.

In the UK, the album debuted and peaked in the top twenty at number seventeen, also the album debuted at number twenty-five peaked at number twenty-one in New Zealand.

As of June 2010, the album has sold 2 million copies worldwide.

Critical Reception[]

"Ciara: The Evolution" received mixed to positive reviews from most music critics.

According to Metacritic, the album holds a score of 65 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews."

Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone said that "Ciara's still prone to diva blandness and silly little pop songs...but this time she's more interesting by half."

For Allmusic, Andy Kellman wrote that "there are plenty of tracks geared toward letting loose and dancing, and most of them do deliver, even if they don't seem quite as fresh as Ciara's past hits."

Entertainment Weekly called the dance songs "rugged and terrific, but eventually the tempos slow and the album slowly settles."

Billboard, on the other hand, gave a mixed review and said:

"Songs such as the Rodney Jerkins-produced "Make It Last Forever" and "Get Up," produced by Jazze Pha and also featured on the film soundtrack to "Step Up," are surefire club hits, although such ballads as "It's Over" tend to fall flat. Nonetheless, "The Evolution" should one, two-step Ciara even closer to superstardom."

In his Consumer Guide, Robert Christgau gave the album a one-star honorable mention (), stating:

"If this hottie next door believes she's moving on up toward 'I'm Just Me' and 'I Found Myself,' I want to know why they're not the singles (yet)" and picked out two songs from the album: "That's Right" and "Like a Boy."

Personnel[]

  • Executive Producers: Ciara Harris and Phillana Williams
  • Management: Phillana Williams for TPF Management
  • Mastered by Chris Athens at Sterling Sound, NYC
  • A&R: Mark Pitts and Ethiopia Habtemariam
  • A&R Administration: Shay Young
  • A&R Coordination: Leticia Hillard and Jill Tschogl
  • Sample Clearance: David Schmidt, Kobie "The Quarterback" Brown, Donato Guadagnoli
  • Art Direction and Design: Courtney Walter
  • Photography: Markus Klinko and Indrani
  • Styling: John Moore
  • Make Up: Yolonda Frederick for Goldfinger Creative
  • Mix engineer: Dylan "3-D" Dresdow
  • Hair: Shirlena Allen for Dawn To Dusk Agency
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