Review Summary: Christina shows up late to the party.
With her sixth album, 2010’s Bionic
, Christina Aguilera, the hit making pop princess really jumped ship. Her previous album, Back To Basics
was a well deserved success, blending styles from Aguilera’s traditional R&B with throwbacks to music of the 50’s and 60’s that was anything but subtle. Just from the horrendous album cover, you can tell Bionic
will not be a Back To Basics Part 2
, in fact it is the polar opposite of that. With her new album, Aguilera throws away the majority of her originality for an electronic dance album that is meant to be “futuristic,” paralleling Basics
, but is actually a very unoriginal work. It comes off as simply mimicking artists like Madonna on Hard Candy
, Britney on Blackout
, and basically everything Gaga has released. Although the album should be view as it’s own body of work, it is difficult to avoid the comparisons because they are just so glaringly obvious.
While Aguilera was always pretty raunchy, there was always a slight bit of class somewhere in her songs, but instantly from the single, “Woohoo,” you know this is also out the window. The song is ridiculously catchy and fun, and the Nicki Minaj feature proves to be a good addition, but it is also all quite over the top. From lyrics like, “All the boys think its cake when they taste my (woohoo),” you cannot take Aguilera seriously as an artist, if you ever did to begin with. One of the songs biggest flaws though, is that it does not showcase Aguilera’s powerful vocals that we all know are there. These unmistakable vocals do show up here and there on the album, see the dance heavy lead single, “Not Myself Tonight” and the piano ballad “I Am” for example, but the bouncing around from top notch vocals to annoying robot-like vocals (“Elastic Love” and “Prima Donna”), is too spotty for comfort.
The album’s flow altogether is pretty subpar. The parts it is broken down into are so spread out that you do not even feel like you are listening to the same album throughout. From the opening section of steamy, sexy dance tracks that push sex appeal to its overused limits, and the middle section of unoriginal piano ballads that ultimately ruin the album, then the end section jumping back into a collection of girl power march anthems.
The end of the album, is really one of the only parts that keep it afloat (particularly the deluxe version of the album). From the stomp and clap tune “I Hate Boys” and it’s companion song “My Girls,” the album picks itself up a little, particularly with the magnificent feature from the lovely Peaches on the latter track. Even the absolutely ridiculous “Vanity” smashes anything featured on the first half of the album. Its lyrics are beyond stupid, but this time you know it was intentional and the song is a very well crafted pop piece. Really though the biggest shame of this album is that the three best songs are not even on the regular track listing, they are three of the bonus tracks seen only on the deluxe edition. “Monday Morning,” “Bobblehead,” and “Birds of Prey,” all shine as album highlights, the later showing that Aguilera can in fact blend her traditional vocals with dance music, but clearly failed to conduct this throughout the rest of the album, which ultimately as a single body of work is quite forgettable and a massive disappointment considering the album she released previously.