Review Summary: Will the Gagaists please shut up?
For what’s on offer, and despite the perceptible diversification, Bionic
doesn’t feel anywhere near as risqué as many have prematurely touted towards; such, is the fact that this new founded cockiness and audacity feels well at home with Christina Aguilera, so much that the record would feel void without the clamouring choruses of “Vanity”
Don’t overlook the fact that it’s meant
to sound futuristic, no less heralded by its self titled ice breaker. “And if you don’t like it, fuck you” further emplaces what’s in store throughout with the anchoring “Not Myself Tonight”
and its incredibly raunchy film clip as accompaniment. The arguments projected to her merits for rendering such polarised exertion with respect to 2006’s Back to Basics
should also not forget she was proclaiming such possibilities immediately following its release. A rip-off response to Lady Gaga
here, is in fact, not as solid as her own mirroring to Madonna
’s eclecticism. Both Gaga and Aguilera grew from the musicality and imagery instigated by the now 51 year old pop queen. “We couldn’t be more vastly different”, states Christina when questioned during a radio interview on comparisons made between the two modern-electric-blondes.
In a twist, what she’s arguably culpable of is the provocative Auto-Tune usage she was so intent on dispiriting only last year as symbolised by the “Auto-Tune is for pussies” t-shirt. It’s far too simplistic to bicker on how she’s become ‘as one’ with the technology when it’s impossible to find any pop production team not purporting its commercial viability, especially over the past two years.
John Hill and David Taylor’s collaborations demonstrate this via the vocally experimental tracks “Bionic”
and the spastically fun “Elastic Love”
. Similarly, Christopher “Tricky” Stewart and Claude Kelly join to produce and write three other punchy additions: a sensual striptease “Desnudate”
, fashion-centric “Glam”
and the anthemic smugness of “Prima Donna”
that all collectively showcase the opening half’s tendency towards electro-synthesis and slick modern techniques so much it’s hard to dismiss the sure-fire easy pickings for the single viability of each. Closely following are three beautiful compositions from Sia
Furler and Samuel Dixon that paint Aguilera in 2006, a la 1940s light, but through a more innocent and breathy realm making the veteran Linda Perry’s effort during “Life Me Up”
(i.e. Beautiful 2.0) feel boring and stale in comparison. Even though “You Lost Me”
recently garnered second-single status, “All I Need”
and “I Am”
is where you’ll find Aguilera at her vocal prime. It’s hard to pass by the best voice of the last decade and sweet orchestration under the same poignancy.
Poignancy may be a factor that divides listeners so used the melismatic jazz bomb of four years back, but Aguilera simply doesn’t seem fazed by those that still reel over such nostalgia. Here, vacant to all, is the best of worlds, electro-[insert obligatory adjective here] and untainted soulful balladry. Even while the track listing is partially lopsided and rounded off by a triptych of lesser dimes, Bionic is quite simply a continuation of solid form for Aguilera.