After a stalled comeback attempt with the scrapped “Sweat”, Ciara finally returns with what is her official (and rather over-hyped) first single, “Sorry”.
The one-time princess of crunk’n'b hasn’t had a hit with an uptempo record since her sophomore album dropped, so L.A. Reid –the man who is supposed to be reviving CiCi’s stalled career– has her taking the ballad route this time round.
Just like recent singles from Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys, “Sorry” is a less-good version of something Ciara had success with years ago. L.A. Reid should get the sack for letting producer Jasper Cameron so lazily recycle Polow Da Don’s “Promise” beat, essentially watering down what is probably the strongest single of Ciara’s entire career.
In countless interviews and one laughably overwritten press release, Ciara has been hyping up her forthcoming album, One Woman Army, to be some kind of emotional tour de force that will reveal her vulnerable side and cement her as the black Adele. In reality, “Sorry” is the same kind of radio-friendly R&B balladry that you’ve heard countless times before, and Ciara’s thin voice doesn’t carry enough weight to elevate the song above it’s relatively standard production and lyrics. It’s nice enough, but it’s not exactly “Someone Like You”.
“Promise” was, and still is the kind of record that reaches out of the speakers, grabs you by the waist, and gets you grinding happily into submission. “Sorry” is the Diet Cola version, pleasantly playing in the background, completely inoffensive and perhaps soliciting a soft sway from an undistracted listener. It’s too safe to evoke anything else, other than perhaps the desire to put “Promise” on.
This sounds like an overly negative assessment of CiCi’s comeback single, but it’s really not. There’s nothing particularity wrong with “Sorry”, and I certainly wouldn’t change the station if it came on. It makes sense from a commercial point of view, but as a longtime Ciara fan who has seen the slinky songstress knock out some of the hottest urban-pop records of last decade, it’s hard not to feel at least a little unimpressed.
Fingers crossed that “Sorry” turns out to be the “If I Were a Boy” before the “Single Ladies”.