An apology: work has been very, very busy lately. Something had to give, and that something was the Square Table. Hopefully it is now, in the immortal words of Barlow,G. “back for good”.

Touch-don’t-touch R&B very much from the Milkshake school but with added drooling from Petey Pablo. The initial bubblecrunk intrigue wore off pretty quickly for me – after a few plays the teasing turns to frustration. Some lovely sounds but they don’t – how shall I put this – give much up. 6 (Tom)

I mentioned how out of touch I’ve become in my Alcazar comments: well I’ve no idea what kind of record this is, except when Petey Pablo is rapping, in a very cool and laconic style, it sounds rather crunk to my ignorant ears, but I expect it is something quite different and probably very fashionable. It’s a beautifully controlled and produced record, and the restrained but sexy female vocals, presumably Ciara, are great. It’s got a lot of subtle, underplayed sexiness that reminds me of Prince’s ‘Kiss’ or some of the best of TLC or Kelis – I wonder if this might have the same kind of popular success as ‘Milkshake’? Given the right video, I think it might. Absolutely wonderful, and one of my favourite singles of the year. 10 Joker (Martin Skidmore)

It seems impossible that songs like this don’t make the UK Top 40. Naturally, it’s ubiquitous on this side of the Atlantic. Lil Jon and his cohorts saturate the airwaves to such a degree that it’s difficult to appreciate any one track on its own distinct merits. Then again, that may be because each of his productions adhere to such an idiosyncratic formula that they become nearly interchangeable. But even in the face of such criticism, this is simply excellent. Amazing (albeit recycled) production, great vocal hooks, occasionally-great lyrics (“You’re insinuating that I’m hot”) – I love it. More evidence that mainstream pop trumps indie foolishness every time. 10 Joker (Atnevon)

Like: acid-style synth line (actually k-like, more of this please, producers take note; breathy Tweet-lite vocals; ‘goodies’ in general. Can’t really imagine this at no. 1 in UK, though.
Dislike: mixed metaphors — image of goodies squeezed against glass jar: surely they should ‘stay in the bra’ instead?; pervey Pete Pablo drooling over the goodies — couldn’t we be left to imagine the goodies-grabbers? (also makes listener third party to goodies-perve dialogue, rather than placed in perve position).
Generally bored of: war of the sexes R&B. 9 (alext)

this might be up there with Usher’s ‘Yeah’ by the end of the year though this is my first listen. the immediate distinction between this and that is the male/female vocal switcheroo. she sounds so flighty, breathless, high and concerned but still soothing like Beyonce in her quieter moments, he’s all whatever (‘i been workin at it ever since i came to this planet, i ain’t quite there yet but i’m gettin’ better at it’), such modesty a rare treat in this game. apart from a few sweet little nuances like that, not much else to say and i can’t get THAT excited about it. maybe too subtle – though that may prove to be a real strength in weeks to come and it should ride the crunk wave pretty well as it’s one for ladies AND fellas in equal measure. 8 (Steve M)

It’s a sort of Milkshake reshook, a dirty South jailbait come hither. The tiger-in-the-cage bass line, the freekaleek whistles and synths, the Faux-yonce vocal stylings, the de rigeur hip hop chorus… it’s all been done before. Not quite this nice, LATELY tho; which is a helluva saving grace. This is lean and nasty and struts on high heels it stole from mommy’s closet. Play ball. 8 (Forksclovetofu)

Well a little rooting around sees me put wrong on that. It’s Lil’ Jon no less – the guy who spoils recording two-fold by getting himself on the record and also appearing in the videos. Thankfully not here.

What are her Goodies?
Where I am from goodies are sweets. I hope the video is Ciara naked in a sea of Werthers Original.

Better than (I’m obviously alluding to it) Kelis’ Milkshake?
Better put the headphones on. Yes, it’s sonically going on. Left, right, left. Snippets of things here and there, not quite giving us enough. Production is minimalist; it’s very reminiscent of Rosco P. Coldchain – Hot.

Best Bit?
The introduction of cowboy theme when the bad guy rappers arrive.

I’m sold. 8 Joker (MW-Jimmy)

“Goodies” is a slowed down “Yeah.” A Crunk & B tune that lacks the grit of Usher’s ultra-laser single. As such it doesn’t scream, instead it floats around you. Kinda overdosing on codeine. Although it’s supposed to be a Ciara tune, it’s Peter Pablo – basically a less manic Lil’Jon substitute – that dominates this track. Ciara’s sumnambulic singing appeals but never convinces. Cookies, boobies, whatever. She’s teaching us/Petey a lesson: you may have the bling, she’s not buying. Or selling. Like I said, whatever. Beyonce already taught me all I had to know about being independent. The lyrics don’t really matter, it’s the twangy guitar and the whistle that have me most hooked. Bada Boom Bada 7 (Stevie Nixed)

The dumb rapping at the start is a red herring, ’cause the gossamer female vocals are the main thing to relish. Smooth vocals catalyse an otherwise low key production (G-funk style synth sounding like the dry whine of a phone left off the hook). The lyrics describe a tantalising come-and-get-me flirtation. Not much happens, but it stays in the aural-erogenous zone expertly. 7 (Derek Walmsley)

Sex can occasionally be interrupted by moments of blandness. It happens. “Goodies” has enough going for it – the achingly stark vocals, a rough minimal beat, the synth from Usher’s “Yeah!” – to provide me with a sensual and insidious thrill, yet all of the additional adornments (Petey Pablo’s languid rapping, the vocal layering on Ciara’s voice) threaten to bring the sizzle down to a simmer. It?s a curious song to hit the #1 spot, since it doesn?t have a huge hook to grab onto, but we mustn?t underestimate the power of sexual allure. More girly crunk, please! 7 (Michael Gill)

For the first time in this Square Table I’ve been confronted with a record and an artist I know absolutely nothing about, so presumably this is massive in the States at the moment. Still, it allows me to approach Goodies with an open mind and… its not at all bad, actually. It sounds like a crunk record, great Southern drawl in the opening verse, but with all the awkward edges sanded off and glossed over with that great girly pop chorus. I can’t imagine a record like this really hitting big over here, but that says more about how far apart our singles charts are than anything else. Its probably too sparse, too minimal, to really appeal to UK radio programmers, but nonetheless I approve. 7 (Matt D’Cruz)

Goodies. Never really liked them. I always rooted for the baddies. And rooting is what this song is all about, which goes to show that goodies have changed a lot since I were a nipper.

Nice squeeky bit, but both the breathy lady sex bits and bored man sex rapping are inferior to other entries in this genre. 4 then, though if I think about Graham Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor that score goes down to a 3, as the idea of a hairy ornithologist getting down to this is ALL WRONG. (Pete)

Bootylicious for about 10 seconds, but then turns into “Freak-a-leak” with Casios set to stunt and featuring the little Dutch dike boy cock blocking and sandbagging in his smart li’l clogs. Methinks a little carpetbagging’s happening here, too – sure, come on North, all you fine Southern pimps; bring your crunk and your draaaaaaarwl and maybe we can hook you up w/ some nice round reparations, sloppy seconds style. But, please, only able-bodied folk need cross the Mason-Dixon. Lady folk that sound like they hit the pipe sing like they got no pipes, and there ain’t no need to lay that rusty sort of stuff up here. 3 (David Raposa)