And yes, we realise this technically isn’t a week anymore…
Alex Ostroff: Ciara is absolutely brilliant at exactly three things: 1) breathy slow jams with Minneapolis Sound drums and a heavy Princefluence; 2) bass-heavy hyperkinetic club bangers with ample opportunity to show off ridiculous dance moves; 3) songs that sound like “Oh“. “Gimmie Dat” falls into the second category, and it might be the best of its kind. The chorus is all overload — heavy bass, wailing synths and sirens, random background yelps. The verses, on the other hand, are exercises in austerity — CiCi and a beat, abruptly jumping octaves. By the second verse, she’s harmonizing with herself and copping moves from freestyle. It might all sound a little insubstantial on headphones, but in its natural (read: club) environment it destroys.
Michaelangelo Matos: The R&B-goes-techno juggernaut yielded many more manifest pleasures (to my ears) than this one in 2010, but I do enjoy it some, particularly the bridge (who will be the first R&B diva to go donk, anyway?).
David Katz: I got burned for comparing this to M.I.A. (earlier stuff, I promise) on a forum but I won’t shelve that comparison just yet, because it somehow explains to these lapsed rockist ears why I love this song so much. Doesn’t the “this right here’s a banger” verse, with its percussion an aural beckoning to the dancefloor, call back that seismic party anthem “Bucky Done Gun”? And how about those offbeat shouts and squawks, or the melodic centre the song seems to unveil and then cover under its cloak?
Alfred Soto: The Evolution boasted a bass track this bootylicious called “I Proceed,” for which Ciara contributed her usual diffident vocal. This is friskier, but still doesn’t sound as unhinged as a single might — another solid album track.
Mallory O’Donnell: A semi-charming bubble-bass techno jam completely wasted on Ciara. Except for the part starting at 2:39 that sounds like a juice commercial. That part she’s perfect for.
Martin Skidmore: I can’t understand why we ignored this at the time, since she is a big favourite of a few people here, me included. This is an energetic dance number produced by Tricky Stewart, with Ciara repeating “gimmie dat bass” a lot over hyper beats and buzzing synths and lots of background vocal interjections. Her voice is never powerful, but the sexiness of her breathy tones works well with this, and I’m surprised it failed to be a big hit.
Chuck Eddy: Aloof R&B, devoid of personality but not energy, with gurgling beats beneath that Ciara rides competently — but not sexily, no matter how much she seems convinced otherwise. The yelps in the background, the stop-and-start parts, the “bass!” interjections, and the electronic fuzz-blurts all add… something. I guess. At times, they suggest what I used to like about house music, when it was new. All they need now is a singer. And song.
Anthony Easton: Tightly controlled, and tightly wound, with a flow that contains so much information and so much noise simultaneously. It sounds manic, but it isn’t, and it sounds frenzied, but it isn’t — both of those expressions suggest that nothing is on purpose, and that she is on the verge of losing control, but she has more control, more ability to construct meaning in such limited space; the ruthless efficiency of this track is so abrasive and so beautiful.
Katherine St Asaph: It’s hard to tell which part of “Gimmie Dat” is the most electrifying. There’s the triple-time rap punctuated by shrieks, sirens, and whatever else spontaneously erupts from being near Ciara and, in the video, her choreography; the seething “I’ve been gone for so long” sections that clamp a lid over this energy precisely when you don’t expect it, and the part in the bridge where it’s like Ciara figured out how to literally make love to a bass line. There’s nothing on the charts a tenth this kinetic; the world’s that much more sluggish for it.
Al Shipley: The-Dream and Tricky Stewart are so inextricably linked most of the time that it’s refreshing now and then to hear a track powered by the latter’s inventive and propulsive percussion but not tied down by the former’s narrow and all too familiar lyrical and melodic palette. Kinetic dance tracks have always been an essential part of the Ciara sound but not necessarily the source of her biggest or best hits. This, however, feels like a big ballsy cumulation of them all.
Alex Macpherson: I underrated “Ride” back in May — it’s since become a legit song-of-the-year contender — but there’s no danger of that here. “Gimmie Dat” is more of a workout than a pop song, an elastic 50,000bpm club banger perfectly designed for the Ciara’s gymnastic abilities — in voice and body (in probably the most jaw-dropping, how-does-she-do-that video of the year), both marked by a blend of quicksilver suppleness and military precision. There is no greater dancer in pop right now. Afropop chants and an unexpectedly sweet middle eight provide perfectly judged ornamentation — elements that ensure “Gimmie Dat” isn’t just pure function, but that don’t distract from its focus. The latter is expanded on the stunningly pretty Urban Bass remix, which comes across as a deeply felt love letter to street dance — by now, it’s clear that this is not just where Ciara’s roots are, but her heart as well.
Zach Lyon: It’s really hard to disagree with anything Ciara or Tricky Stewart are proposing here. It can drag a little for a song this frenetic, but it takes enough left-field turns to make up for it. From the 2:30 mark on, it’s just nutty. Sexy bass, too.
Kat Stevens: Ciara is a rarity amongst female pop/RnB singers in that she seems to prefer wearing trousers to dresses (or police tape or whatever). Is this because it is easier to dance incredibly well in jeans? Is it because she has extremely long legs and dresses look weird on her (i.e. the opposite of Taylor Swift)? Perhaps it’s because jeans are more likely to have pockets, in which one may stash one’s
goodies Oyster card whilst grinding away to a backing track made out of Skype conversations between dolphins and bats? Or because you are less likely to get your lobster cape trapped in the car door if you are not wearing one? I can empathise and agree with all these reasons. However I absolutely cannot accept the lyric “I’m making love to the bassline” in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM.
Jer Fairall: So much here is good that I wish the whole thing were better than it is. Her voice is serviceable yet thin, reminding me a lot of Janet Jackson (‘specially during those bubbly “na na na”s) and not nearly commanding enough to match those urgent, sputtering beats. In the end, though, it’s still too busy to really be effective, like they didn’t have sufficient confidence in what they had and kept throwing sound upon sound at a would-be fantastic minimalist dance track until it resembled nothing that might potentially alienate anyone.
Jordan Sargent: Above all of the reasons why “Gimmie Dat” succeeds so effortlessly -— that it’s a dancefloor burner that eschews pop’s current obsession with Euro house; that it recalls, and even improves upon, the glorious first run of Ciara singles -— it’s the sheer number of hooks packed into the song that elevates it into the upper echelon of not only Cici’s discography, but contemporary pop music as a whole. They come quickly and relentlessly: there’s the song’s central jackhammering chorus, there’s the unexpectedly slowed down bridge that allows Ciara to weave in her nearly unmatched knack for breathy, swooning ballads, there’s the flirtatious refrain, and I believe that even the pre-chorus has a pre-chorus. So while some might argue that Basic Instinct ended up as a slight album that didn’t deliver on the promise of its brilliant singles, “Gimme Dat” offers an album’s worth of satisfaction in just over four minutes.
Jonathan Bogart: She comes hard, but the beat comes even harder, and I’m not sure it doesn’t overwhelm her. Have to bang it several hundred more times to make sure.