Dan Weiss’ review of “Jackie” by Ciara

Ciara cover big

Artist: Ciara

Album: Jackie

Critic: Dan Weiss

Publication: Spin, 2015

Writing Disorders:  Infectious Punctuation, Jargon Palsy, Idea Fever



Dan, congratulations. Thanks to your sloppy execution and uniquely awful tone, you’re the first repeat offender of the new RipFork era. When I read your stuff, I don’t feel like you’re relaying information so much as spitting words at my eyes. It’s gross. Your writing is gross.


“At 18 she coyly rebranded her tits…”


And it’s weak.


You play flashy with your big adjectives and astute comparisons, but you’ve got piss-poor fundamentals. Maybe the big Spinner is afraid he’ll hurt your feelings by calling out typos and rambling tendencies, but you don’t seem to give a fig about cleaning up your own presentation. Look at your second sentence:


Her mononym (and title of her previous album) for once reflect a keep-it-simple-stupid ethos rather than a desire to hear it in households, which for Cici is medium at best”


I’m duller in the skull these days, but I think “mono” still implies the singular. So why did you write that it “reflect” instead of that it “reflects”? I’m going to guess that you tripped over your own confusion and treated “title” as mononym’s date to the predicate. It doesn’t work that way, Dan. Either the verb agrees with a singular subject alongside the parentheses, or it agrees with a plural subject without them. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. This is words.


Let’s keep checking for warts. Wouldn’t want to miss one:


“Her mononym (and title of her previous album) for once reflect a keep-it-simple-stupid ethos rather than a desire to hear it in households, which for Cici is medium at best.”


Is “Cici” the same “CiCi” you mentioned later in your review, DaN? And what does the “which for” even refer to: her desire to be heard or the extent to which she’s being heard? Maybe you reckon that’s obvious, but to me the connection wasn’t abundantly clear with all that clutter mucking up the road. This is a problem of yours: fat clauses.


“…the former “Princess of Crunk & B” (as Lil Jon once said of a dubious genre that she’s outlived) is content to make her (sole) name by foregrounding what matters most”


Dan, that’s word abuse. What kind of a man separates a defenseless verb from its subject…with a 12-word footnote? Abusers like you should be thrown in jail (the kind where the WORDS type and pound on PEOPLE all day) and left to rot for all their lives. Wait…who’s being left to rot?


And let’s talk about hyphens, Dan. WTF is with you and hyphens? Check this buffet:


“a keep-it-simple-stupid ethos”


“Miami bass-inspired, let’s-get-it popper”


“a chopped-and-screwed taunt”


“an all-too-aware sigh”


Daniel, we all love you, but you won’t make any progress until you admit that your hyphens hurt those around you. Now, you may sigh because you’re all too aware of this. Maybe keeping it simple isn’t your ethos. But I think Page 896 of the Affordable Care Act says something about subsidized treatment for hyphen addiction. You might want to check that out or try the cookies at Hyphens Anonymous. You’ve got the infectious punctuation, and you’ve got it bad.


Dan, you’re an odd case to me. Not many writers I know would start a review of anything with the words “forgive me this one.” It’s not the best way to herald strong insight to come. And that’s interesting to me because you seem very concerned with giving the impression that you’re strong, that you’re mean, that you’re raw:


“…bore a resemblance to Collective fucking Soul’s Shine


But your writing isn’t lean and raw. It’s fat and gristle.


Dan, just do us both a favor and reread your stuff before you submit it. Reread it, but do it from the perspective of someone who isn’t you. If you care about the music you’re fumbling to sound cool describing, think about why you’re doing it. Is it for His glory…or for yours?


One last thing, Dan — call it a friendly speculation. I think you have tight hips. It’s okay, we all do. Even dudes in porn have a little yacht prow over the pipe from sitting too long at a desk. Tight hips will strangle the body and mind, Dan. And when I read your writing, I see something bound up and forced. And gross.


Try the stretch in the video. Write. Reread. Change. Repeat.