Yeah, Ciara’s hit single “Goodies” has that beat

By Jiim Farber, New York Daily News

Let’s hear it for soundalike hits. First, Usher racked up the biggest single of the year with “Yeah!”

Now, a new singer named Ciara (pronounced Sierra) has struck No. 1 with a single called “Goodies” that makes you go, “Hmmm, where have I heard this one before?”

“That’s an opinion,” Ciara says, before admitting it’s one she has heard many times before. “I didn’t look at the song like that.” But her collaborators must have.

“Goodies” was produced by Lil Jon (who oversaw “Yeah!”) and co-written by Sean Garrett (who wrote the Usher powerhouse). Small wonder it has nearly the same synth hook and virtually the same beat.

It’s the “crunk” beat – that signature Southern hip-hop sound that has, in the last year, kidnapped the attention of the entire country.

Ciara’s debut CD, conveniently titled after the smash, hit stores last week.

Though Ciara’s name appears first on the credits, the recording gives more space to “guest” rapper Petey Pablo. The singer provides a counterpoint monotone murmur that could well be the most minimal vocal in a pop single since “Gimmie Dat Ding.” Judging by the record, Ciara’s voice is understated enough to make Janet Jackson sound like Maria Callas.

“I’m not saying I’m Whitney Houston,” the singer admits. “This record isn’t about singing, singing, singing. It’s just a vibe.” If nothing else, Ciara makes a great spokesmodel for the record. In fact, the 18-year-old (whose last name is Harris and whose first name comes from the perfume) wanted to be a model growing up, not a singer. She has done runway work in her native Atlanta. She switched her attention to vocal work after seeing Destiny’s Child perform on TV when she was 14.

“I could dance and I could model, so I thought, “Let’s be an artist,” she explains.

She had an agent who got her a meeting with Jazzy Pha, of Sho Nuff Records. He became her mentor, much like Irv Gotti is to Ashanti. Jazzy hooked Ciara up with Lil Jon.

Ciara wrote the hit’s lyrics, which have a funny hook line. “If you’re looking for goodies,” she tells a guy who comes on to her, “keep on looking/’cause they stay in the jar.”

Ciara admits her debut album isn’t the deepest CD in the bins, but says, “That will come later. I don’t want to give you everything right now.”

Right now, it’s smarter to give people what they already love.