The Cha Cha Slide requires a group of 20 or more for optimum effectiveness. Stepping (in the name of love, indifference or hate) requires a partner, but to 1, 2, Step all you need is access to the Internet, MTV, BET, FUSE, or for those free health-cared, terrorist-harboring Canadians’ Much Music channel to watch Ciara mesmerize, in her Missy Elliot-featuring second single and instructional dance video. A few slippery morns in the shower or exuberant takes in the mirror (to perfect your technique) and you’re good to go.
The auburn-haired beauty behind this real-life Dance Dance Revolution, Ciara, kindly exercises her sweet, albeit weak, voice on her delectable debut album Goodies. Capitalizing on the success of the Petey Pablo answer record of the same name, Ciara and her impresario Jazze “Oh Boy” Pha craft 12 not-too-serious songs for these frighteningly serious times. Smash singles “Goodies” and “1, 2 Step” are joined by “Pick Up the Phone” (a rip-off of Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat”), “Thug Style” (a bad boy serenade in the vein of Destiny’s Child’s “Soldier”), and the dark, infectious, Ludacris-featuring “Oh”, whose beat approximates the David Banner-constructed “Rubber Band Man” banger. Goodies is nothing new, but it is executed well.
Ciara is no Aaliyah, although her long locks, lean frame, and breathy soprano recall the fallen angel. Nor is she Janet Jackson, despite her intricate dancing and pop sensibility. Ciara is, according to the prescient and conflicted Jazze Pha, “what the game’s been missing.” But who can argue? One is hard pressed to find happy feelings in top 40 R&B or fun female musicians who don’t unabashedly prostrate themselves and their naked bodies at the feet of men. In the tradition of R&B masters Kool & The Gang, Ciara’s Goodies attempts to get wallflowers “down on it”, and that is a decent and honorable aim.