Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Ciara – Dance Like We’re Making Love

Do they teach that in ballroom dancing?


Josh Langhoff: Good idea! Let me just grab my lederhosen.

Katherine St Asaph: Success is equal parts luck and politics; else Ciara, who’s now released two albums of sparkling pop singles, would be a star. “Dance Like We’re Making Love” is certainly positioned for it, simultaneously timely and catch-up: Dr. Luke (fuck) and Cirkut doing their best Max Martin and Ali Payami with slinky melancholy. The verses introduce Ciara’s sly delivery to a roomful of mood, and the latter prevails. The chorus is perfect pop that won’t be called perfect pop by those who deploy the phrase: vocals like synths like starlight, making dirty dancing sound like the most sacred of rituals. “Making love” does some of that work, but more of it’s how everything in the song recedes around chorus; the effect’s akin to the room falling away, everything suddenly serious.

Anthony Easton: Instead of a thick, bump and grind track, it becomes a masterpiece of negotiation — putting her cards on the table, warning of the consequences of his actions, seeking active consent — the proposal, with the disco beat, the encyclopedia of vocal effects, the finger snaps, even the phrase “making love” which I usually find risible, are both profoundly erotic and very smart.  

Alfred Soto: Boasting some of her sultriest tracks, Jackie feels like it should’ve been bigger, and if R&B mattered on the pop chart it would’ve been. The staccato chorus of “Dance Like We’re Making Love” complements the splashes of synth-produced color and Ciara’s quiet writhing in the verses.

Thomas Inskeep: Few people have been making as consistent an R&B catalog over the past decade as Ciara, and “Dance” helps continue that run. Dr. Luke and Cirkut provide a suitably spare arrangement (lots of finger snaps) for Ciara’s breathy vocals, while lyrically this flips the script: instead of making love like dancing, it’s the opposite, and much more effective this way. “Once I’m turned on, you can’t turn me off,” she reminds you, so come prepared. A notch below the masterpieces “Promise” and “Body Party,” but only just.

Nina Lea Oishi: Ciara’s always had the pipes, the smokiness, the seduction down. But the lyrics are too clunky: “I can feel your nature rising while I wind on you,” “I be the time of your life.” “Dance Like We’re Making Love” is enjoyable enough; the song’s real sin is that it wants for personality, reaching for a climax it never really achieves.

Micha Cavaseno: Narcolepsy-inducing production that leans way too heavily to pop in a way that’s not suitable for someone who’s struggled to remain relevant in R&B (let’s be honest, no this has nothing to do with #FutureHive and everything to do with the fact that she’s just never had a zenith moment, just occasional good singles and its only continued to “almost kinda work” for maybe a decade or so now?). “Dance” is indicative of why Jackie is ultimately a bust of someone’s continued need to insist on a victory they’ve never achieved.

Edward Okulicz: Parts of the verse  — something in that melody, can’t put my finger on it — put me in the mind that Frank Ocean had written it, and then I find out it’s Luke and Cirkut; what, how, why? Then the empty chorus came in and it made a bit more sense.

Ramzi Awn: I wrote a review for this song on my friend’s veranda last evening. I knew I was ready. It was excellent. Then today I realized that what I wrote was actually a review for another Ciara track on the same album. But if we’re talking “Dance Like We’re Making Love,” we’re talking Michael, and we’re talking Janet. Ciara’s falsetto is pure, and the static on the track is honest and raw. Ciara, as a performer, is not one to ignore; and this includes, vividly, her vocal performance. Not all singers perform. The way she hits notes is precise like throwing darts, yet vulnerable. The beat is so minimal that in ways, it comes off as uncaring; in fact, the song is at odds with itself, claiming to make love, but also making as little fuss as possible. The combination is confusing, like love itself — but also impressive, beautiful, and disappointing, too. As an artist with a reputation for picking debatable singles, Ciara does not misstep on this one.

Josh Winters: As the opening synth shines on her like a diamond illuminated by a single spotlight, Ciara captivates and commands your attention from the get-go with laser-like focus. She controls the state between fiery tension and wild liberation, and riding along with her to see how this suspense resolves itself is what makes “Dance Like We’re Making Love” such a transfixing thrill.

Reader average: [9.5] (4 votes)

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5 Responses to “Ciara – Dance Like We’re Making Love”

  1. edward — is it that the melody/chords on the verses are almost exactly “Novacane”? it takes some rearranging but you can pretty much sing the whole thing over this

  2. Katherine – yep, I hedged a bit in case I was wrong, but that’s exactly what I heard

  3. i dig the end of your blurb katherine: on point

  4. “she’s just never had a zenith moment”

    Really? I think she’s had at least one personal (“Body Party”) and cultural (“Goodies”) zenith moment. I can understand the feeling though since she’s been on a near vertical uphill battle for the last half decade and her luck just refuses to turn.

  5. haha, I was scrolling through all of our posts for the year and realized somehow we missed this from Best of ’15