So Hard (Main Version)
Label: Laface Records
According to Ciara's theory of evolution, urban music is in the throes of natural selection. The trait that's becoming the fittest? Crunk&B, Ciara's name for her diamond-edged, icy-hot style. On her intelligently designed second album, the songstress demonstrates the strength her poised pipes have over "Dear Diary" ballads ("I'm Just Me") and retro pop ("Make It Last Forever," with Jacko-riffic beats and downy vocals copped from Janet). Ciara's dominant strain takes hold both between the sheets ("Promise") and in the club, as evidenced by "That's Right," featuring crunk punctuation from Lil Jon.