Ciara has come a long way from dancefloor fillers with pals like Missy Elliot, including 1, 2 Step and Lose Control. I Bet, the renowned R&B dancer’s new track, is the lead single off her upcoming sixth studio album Jackie.
As it is a subdued ballad that alludes to Ciara’s recent breakup from ex-fiancé rapper Future, it is a nice change for those accustomed to her previous booty-popping, choreography-dependent output.
The production by Englishman Harmony Samuel harks back to the soothing, timeless late 1990s R&B ballads like K-Ci and JoJo’s All My Life, Monica’s Angel of Mine and Usher’s U Got It Bad. Those warm, familiar harpsichord-like, percussive keyboards with subtle, modern trap beats are an antidote to Ciara’s anger at her partner’s infidelity, conveyed in explicit, cutthroat lines like ‘keep your bitch over there’ and ‘silicon ass’. These words give the track its jagged edge, though at the expense of being relatable to everyone.
Admittedly, the stripping of reassuring vocal harmonies disappear in the verses exposes how exposes how undistinctive Ciara’s voice is and how monotonous the melody can get at times. Ciara’s vocals are pretty and angelic, but are plagued by a bit of autotune. If listeners didn’t know, then they would be forgiven for thinking they were hearing another Ariana Grande track.
Whether I Bet is about Ciara responding to rumours of Future’s alleged infidelity or not, the track is a overall a charming effort. It may not be deep, but it still has heart.