So I've just previewed the new Christina Aguilera album Bionic and although I really hate to be a Hater, I am hard-pressed to say that it left much of an impression on me. The collection which includes 15 tracks and three interludes is simply too long, without any coherence. One minute it's hip-hop. One minute it's acoustic. One minute it's electro. I'm a strong supporter of having diverse influences, but this fourth studio effort is directionless.
Aguilera has opted for edge on this effort, going against her famous brand of melody and unapologetic big stylized vocal flourishings. I have always been of the mindset to never change a recipe that works; only improve upon it. The Aguilera I love most is her circa What a Girl Wants up to The Voice Within; she was Pop and unashamed of it. This was an artist who could pack a stadium with her voice, sheer talent and girl next door personality. The singer today boasts she "has nothing to prove" with an out-of-nowhere bravado which she attributes to having become a Mother. And if this is what Parenthood does to you, I want no part of it and I'm sure hoards of her young female fans will be terrified. Needless to say, it is not surprising to hear she has decided to
cancel postpone her summer Bionic Tour.
She is compelled to embarass herself with overt sexuality in the earlier part of Bionic. On tracks like potential third single Woohoo, rapper Nicki Minaj proclaims: "You know you really wanna taste my... all the boys think of cake when they taste my...now kiss my... allover my..". It is a pity Aguilera doesn't use that gift of a voice to its fullest, wasting it on meaningless drivel like I Hate Boys. It comes off insincere especially coming from a woman who claims to be happily married and perhaps somewhat insulting considering her huge male fan base.
On earlier Press Releases, Aguilera claimed that Glam was a modern day Vogue (Madonna). Not quite. Lift Me Up is the one semi-saving grace with its live organic sound reminiscent of Stripped-era Aguilera, personable yet listenable enough to be played on radio. It's not enough to resuscitate this stillborn baby though. Aguilera hypnotizes us with Zen-like tranquility on her collaborations with Australian singer-songwriter Sia, I Am, You Lost Me and All I Need. In other words, there is no trace of classic Aguilera to be found and ditto for any real viable singles off the album.
With a couple weeks still til its release, I hope with baited breath Bionic might be shelved by Sony Music, giving it an opportunity to be perfected. As it is, it's not ready to be released. Aguilera is amazing and deserves nothing but the best and to give us fans an album we can be proud to own and listen to. Grade: C-