Yes, you read that right; this is Ciara's third shot at a first single in the past year. I can remember a time, pre-2006ish, when a first single was a first single, and whether it sank or swam an artist's release date held firm, facing them with the challenge of coming harder with the second single to keep the album afloat. Today, artists release two simultaneous singles off-rip, and probably a third and fourth when the album actually drops. That's assuming the first two singles perform well; if not, record labels will hold an album until they've finally found a radio hit, or scrap it altogether (ask Mya). In this scenario you've heard half an album before you've ever had the chance to buy it, and the second half within two weeks of its release.
Perhaps that's the industry's way of coping with a serially-downloading, YouTube addicted culture that doesn't have to wait for much of anything anymore; but for the most part I think it's just an attempt to saturate the market with so much subpar material that listeners lose concept of what constitutes good music and make due with the best of the worst. Enter Ciara's wack ass Never Ever
When Ciara first surfaced with 2004's Goodies, she was instantly overrated. Besides her obviously weak vocals, not even her dancing could compensate for her lack of showmanship and originality. Plus, her weave was smoked…which, considering the technologically advanced faux-hair options we've had since the turn of the century, was inexcusable. But Ciara came much stronger in 2006 with the release of her sophomore album the Evolution. Everything from her material to her image was noticeably more polished and confident, and with each successive hit single it seemed as though Ciara was well on her way to establishing some seniority in the music industry.
However, in 2008 her place in music history isn't as secure.
The first two singles from Ciara's Fantasy Ride, Ludacris assisted High Price, and Go Girl, which featured T-Pain, were far from terrible. While the use of Ciara's higher register in High Price was a bit unsettling at first, after a few listens the pitch matches the song's mood nicely, and in the end the record was at least fun, if not lead single material. Second first single (yep, I'm gonna keep doing that) Go Girl was far better, even with the T-Pain feature. What the song itself lacked in originality, the accompanying video more than made up for in style and visual appeal. Still, both songs performed poorly on radio, and were pushed to the left in favor of more studio time.
If High Price and Go Girl couldn't do it for Ciara, I'll be sorely disappointed if Never Ever is the single that catches on. The Polow produced mid-tempo song is so Prom '94 that not even Jeezy's presence can bring it into 2009; we're talking fingerwaves and cross-color jeans. There's nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia (Keyshia's Let It Go), but Never Ever doesn't know that it's outdated, and that's a problem. Vocally, the song is a regression for Ciara, who sounds just as bored and uninterested singing the song as you will listening to it. And really, I can't blame her. Singing lyrics like "Throw your hands up in the air if you know he love you" would kill my spirit too. Then again, she co-wrote the song, so maybe I'm cutting her too much slack.
Ciara's career is far from permanently damaged, and I'd really like to see her get it together before it's too late. She's grown on me quite a bit since Goodies, and really, I can't think of another female artist in her age-range that satisfies her place on radio, stage, and video. That's enough to keep me interested in her.
Below you'll find Ciara's video for Go Girl