21. Ciara "Body Party"
Producer: Mike WiLL Made It
Comeback songs are difficult. When Mariah Carey released "It's Like That" at the onset of 2005—a song so replete with up-tempo, radiant affirmations ("Cause it's my night, no stress, no fights, I'm leaving it all behind," Carey sings on the hook) that it's hard not to believe her—it signaled the return of a star who, by most accounts, had been counted out by the public. Carey, ever the diva-songbird, dubbed it her "emancipation." Listening to that song now, eight years later, she really does sound untroubled and unburdened—fearless, even.
In a number of ways, Ciara finds herself in a similar predicament. Atlanta's once reigning Princess of Crunk-n-B hasn't had a legitimate smash since 2006's "Promise." Which makes "Body Party" even more of a treat. Co-written with current boo-thang Future, the song is all oohs and ahhhs—flirtatious and sexy, woozy in all the right spots. At a tidy 3-minutes and 55-seconds, "Body Party" doesn't overstay its welcome; Ciara sounds light, airy, free. Mike Will Made It's flip of Ghost Town DJ's classic "My Boo" accentuates Ciara's forthright sexuality: "Your body's my party/Let's get it started." It's just that simple. She's emancipated. —Jason Parham