It’s been four years since Christina Aguilera released a proper studio album. (Her last effort was 2006’s Back to Basics ) Back then, she was all neo-soul. Channeling the look and the sound of 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. Since then, Christina had a son (Max, with her music executive husband Jordan Bratman) and has been all about the future. Hence, the title Bionic– which, according to Aguilera, encompasses the superhuman of all women. Track-by-track (and not including intros and interludes), I’m reviewing Christina’s first fully pop-record since 1999:
- Bionic – The title track open the album on the right note. Produced by Hill & Switch (frequent M.I.A. and Santigold collaborator), the album sets the tone for the next era of music for Christina. It would’ve made a powerful comeback single: ” Many times imitated, not duplicated, can’t be replaced / Na-na-now let me spell it out, everybody can shout my name / X-T-I-N-A”
- Not Myself Tonight – The debut single from Bionic. It’s a shame the song was shrouded with Gaga-comparisons and little appreciation, because it’s a great dance track with great tribal beats.
- Woohoo – The Niki Minaj assisted track was produced by Polow da Don (who also produced “Not Myself Tonight” and Pussycat Dolls’ “Buttons”). It’s subject matter is a little raunchy but it has strong crossover potential if it were released as a single.
- Elastic Love – A very M.I.A. style track written for the clubs. Christina uses her voice less for the usual “vocal acrobatics,” as she calls it and more as an instrument that’s a part of the song, and it works.
- Desnudate – Produced by Hill & Switch, this Latin club banger will satisfy Latin Xtina fans wanting another Spanish record from her. It has summer anthem written all over it, and it’s Latin horns and drums arrangement would do well on radio this season if it were released as a single.
- Love & Glamour (Intro)
- Glam – In what starts off as a song reminiscent of Madonna’s “Vogue” turns comes into it’s own as soon as Christina puts her soaring vocals on this Tricky Stewart-assisted track. I can easily hear this song being played at fashion shows all over the world.
- Prima Donna – Easily my favorite off this entire record. Another track by Atlanta producer Tricky Stewart, Christina’s vocals soar on this potential club banger as well.
- Morning Desert (intro)
- Sex For Breakfast – Reminiscent of slow, moody R&B of the early 2000s, Christina’s vocals are used more for sensuality than melody in this track.
- Lift Me Up – Christina performed this song at the Hope for Haiti Now telethon earlier this year, and I fell in love with it then. The poignant and honest ballad marks the start of what Christina calls “the heart” of the record. I loved the rendition form the telethon, but the one on the record is even better. This is one of my favorite ballads that Christina has ever done.
- My Heart (intro)
- All I Need – Having worked with Australian singer Sia and her frequent collaborator Sam Dixon on this track, “All I Need” is a song Christina wrote for her son, Max. Seeing as Max is two years old, the song has a lullaby sound to it, but it’s done well.
- I Am – As far as it’s message, this song could be the “Beautiful” of this record. A track about a loved one accepting another for their imperfections, “I Am” is one of Christina’s more vulnerable songs vocally and lyrically.
- You Lost Me – When Christina performed this song about the being cheated on American Idol, she got rave reviews for conveying so much emotion into her performance. The version on the record does the same. It’s raw honesty tells an often told story from a less bitter, more distraught perspective.
- I Hate Boys – After a string of ballads, Bionic goes back to uptempo on this Polow da Don-produced track. The chorus is simple and catchy, and this song could be an anthem for many jilted lovers.
- My Girls – Canadian feminist electronica artist Peaches assists Aguilera on this girl anthem. The track was produced by electroclash group Le Tigre, whom Christina is a fan of. This song isn’t one of my favorites, but it’s a cute anthem for girlfriends everywhere.
- Vanity – A very cheeky song about loving yourself, Christina gets fun on the last track on the record. It’s a fan favorite, but I’m not sure if it would do well if it were released to radio.
All in all, Bionic is a wonderfully eclectic album with something on it for everyone. It’s a fun record and has numerous potential singles – some of which in turn have amazing cross-over potential. Bionic is available June 8th.
*Note: There are two editions of this record: Standard and Deluxe. The standard version is available as an explicit or clean version, while the deluxe version is only available as and explicit version.
Image: RCA Records