The first song and title track of Ciara’s new record, Jackie, includes a line where she boasts about giving birth to a very large child: Man, I just delivered a 9-pound, 10-ounce baby / I’m a bad mothafucka. It’s one of the best boasts ever, and sets the tone for what could’ve been a maudlin breakup album, but turns out to be something much better instead.

After the R&B star’s much-publicized split from rapper Future—the father of her 1-year-old son, Future Jr.—it wouldn’t have been off-base to anticipate a whole breakup-themed thing. Jackie’s lead single certainly suggested that: The boring ballad “I Bet” includes ad-libs from Future sound-alike Theron Thomas, perhaps in an attempt to mock him. But that turns out to be this record’s only clear reference to her failed relationship. The rest is extremely positive and fun, and all about what it means to be a mother and a woman, and how great it is to be both of those things.


Jackie is named for Ciara’s mother; Ciara told Rolling Stone last month that she decided on that because after having her own son, she could see the world through her mom’s eyes:

Being a mom is the best thing that has happened in my life. Having my son has made making decisions much easier. Having my son also gives me clarity as a woman.

You really feel that clarity here: The first track here is actually called “Jackie (BMF),” and it’s not hard to guess what the parenthetical part stands for. But there’s an introspective quality to it, too: I had to go through the things she went through / I now know what it means.


But if Jackie were entirely in this vein, it wouldn’t be all that fun. But the very next track is a Pitbull/Missy Elliott collaboration entitled “That’s How I’m Feelin’”—a party song, a going-out song, a new-mom-going-out-and-having-it-all song. Ciara really does have it all, by the way: If you somehow forgot how hot she is, let me refer you to 2010’s “Ride” video. The new tracks “Lullaby” and “Let’s Dance Like We’re Making Love” are a reminder that Cici is still that hot, large baby out the door and all. She started making this album just three weeks after Baby Future’s arrival. What’s more badass than that?

Related: It’s fun to try to guess which song (if any) is about Ciara’s rumored new beau, Russell Wilson. Is it “Stuck on You,” with its chants of I wanna get stuck on you tonight? Is it “Kiss & Tell,” with a chorus that goes, I know I shouldn’t kiss and tell / About the way you do my body babe / But I just gotta tell somebody / How you do it, how you do it to me”? That one sounds not unlike Ja Rule’s “Livin It Up.” It’s positive! Subtext: Ciara is very much out here.

Unfortunately, while Jackie is all about being the bigger person, Future has already used his breakup from Ciara as endless sad-man fodder. He put out “Overrated,” a collaboration with Wiz Khalifa where he croons to someone that “your pussy overrated,” which is frankly a gross and petty way to (presumably) talk about the mother of your child. He also gave us “Throw Away,” a song on his late 2014 mixtape Monster that chronicles his exploits with multiple women who were (presumably) not Ciara.

Which doesn’t mean she can’t be a little petty, too: “I Bet” wagers that her not-mysterious ex will start loving me, once I start loving someone new, adding for good measure, Is that your bitch over there, giving me the ugly stare? / The one with the silicone ass, and the Brazilian hair?” She’s just better at it.

“Fly” is also about a broken relationship, but with an upbeat tempo and a big, danceable, bass-heavy sound, it’s more about freedom than anything: You should fly for the first time in a long time / Just fly, let you go, let you go. That to me, says more about being a woman who can and will do this on her own than it does about a relationship that went south. And sticking to the theme of women ruling, “One Woman Army” is a song that would pair nicely on a playlist with Beyoncé’s “Who Run the World? (Girls)” and M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls.” Chorus:

If you want my love, you better march to the beat
Fight for my love, you better stand up for me
If you want my love, well that’s how it’s gotta go
All my ladies say
If you want my love, you better march to the beat
Fight for my love, you better stand up for me
If you want my love, well that’s how it’s gotta be
I’m a one woman army

But perhaps the most badass material of all here is the mom stuff. We were introduced to “All Good” via Ciara’s Instagram, and Baby Future apparently loves it!

There is certainly a performative aspect to what people (especially celebrities) put on social media, but after listening to Jackie, you can tell Ciara is all about being a mom. It’s hard to fake that. The album’s last song, “I Got You,” begins with Mama Cici singing and talking to a happy, babbling Baby Future, who clearly loves hearing Mom belt it out. Can you blame him? It’s touching, and you can really see so much evidence of that mother-child connection throughout the album. It’s not even corny. Let’s hear it for all the moms out there!


“I Bet” was unimpressive as a first single, but all told, Jackie is a fun and positive record: It makes you want to dance, and it also makes you proud to be a woman (provided you are a woman). There aren’t many things men can do that women can’t, but there are a lot of things women can do that men can’t, such as deliver a 9-pound, 10-ounce baby. That’s better than any line about expensive cars and jewelry could ever be. It makes Ciara a bad motherfucker, and it’s a reminder that all women are BMFs too.

Top image via Getty.