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Music Review: Christina Aguilera – Bionic

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It’s perhaps hardly surprising that Christina Aguilera would suffer from a considerable identity crisis on Bionic. This, her fourth studio album, finds the bombshell having gone through a lot since the release of 2006’s Back to Basics.

And just like Back to Basics was a jumble of concepts and backpatting interludes, Bionic presents the pop star as lacking distinguishing traits. Aguilera again fails to present a complete album, which is something that almost all of her fellow female pop artists have done thus far.

As a mother and as a woman seemingly in control of her sexuality, Aguilera’s lack of actual confidence is disappointing. She is a skilled vocalist, to be sure, but has often relied far too much on obnoxious runs and big-headed explosiveness to separate herself from the flock. While Bionic ultimately scales down her larger-than-necessary vocal experiments, it doesn’t offer much in exchange.

Aguilera fires up the album with the title track, an electro-pop club banger that sounds promising with its deep bass and vocal effects. It’s practically retro, a volatile blend of shout-a-long pop and stuttered beats, and it’s a style that fits her well. She doesn’t overpower and fits the robotic effects nicely.

Not Myself Tonight” carries the theme forward somewhat, telling us precisely what we can do if we don’t like what Xtina’s going to do. Of course, the track’s title should probably be a clue as to the direction of the record.

Other trips through the electro-pop genre are less fulfilling. The muddled “Woohoo” never really gets off the ground despite its five-and-a-half minutes and Nicki Minaj’s presence. And “Desnudate” is nowhere near as sexy as it thinks it is.

When Aguilera hits the record’s first interlude, all hell breaks loose. “Fashion is a lifestyle, it’s a choice,” she tells us before launching into “Glam.” The track is a frustrating and uncomfortable ode to Madonna’s “Vogue,” but Aguilera fails in recreating any of the slinkiness of the track she’s trying to emulate. “Don’t let the clothes wear you,” she offers. Right.

After not committing to the robotic pop of the album’s first few numbers, Aguilera tiptoes into the intimate and explicit “Sex for Breakfast” and finally captivates. With its smart R&B tone and Aguilera’s racy lyrics about making someone late for work for all the right reasons, “Sex for Breakfast” is one of Bionic’s uncommon highlights.

Regrettably, Aguilera sprints off in another direction with “Lift Me Up.” A drab Linda Perry-penned ballad, the track feels like just about every other Xtina ballad except with smaller notes. Its position is peculiar, too, as it doesn’t really work as the cool-down from the aforementioned sexy mealtime number.

More ballads dot the way towards the next shift on “I Hate Boys” and “My Girls.” Peaches is along for the ride on the latter, but even she can’t do much to bail out the stinker.

Bionic closes its doors, at long last, with another mandatory ego track. “Vanity” finds Aguilera proclaiming herself as the “flyest bitch of them all” and bounding around through a pretty tight club beat with thoughtless self-importance and abundant vocal effects. After thanking her parents for her awesomeness, Aguilera lets us off with a warning and a finishing yowl.

And that’s that. Perhaps the only constant note on Bionic is that Christina Aguilera wants us to know what we can do if we don’t like it. Unfortunately, the offer isn’t that motivating anymore and the record feels more like a giant ego pat than a walk through the mentality of an artist worth paying attention to.

With influences ripped from far and wide and the album’s original concept scarcely toyed with, it’s hard to commend this record beyond a few individual tracks. What’s more unfortunate, however, is that it’s hard to find an ounce of authenticity amongst all the “mechanized” affectation Aguilera puts us through.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • RajibDavid

    Hahaha, Bionic is AMAZING!!! Best album ever, your hatred won’t bring it down, the album is fantastic and perfect, there’s not better current album. If there’s one, tell me. #BCFail

  • Laura

    Bionic is incredible, very fun album, this articles fails.

  • Fan

    Bionic is really really good…I LOVE IT!.. Awful article!

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    i quite liked Back To Basics, so it’s disappointing to see that she’s sort of gone backwards with the generic dance-oriented sound. no thanks.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yeah, Mark, it’s pretty disappointing. It’ll be enough for fans, naturally, and they’ll be more than happy with this. But the whole electro-pop vibe is hardly fresh and she doesn’t even commit to the concept enough to make it interesting. Too bad.

  • Lynn

    I have to say, I absolutely love this album. All my friends do, too. It took a couple of listens to really appreciate it, but it’s my favorite right now, the Deluxe version.

  • rony

    I love bionic it’s an excelent,eclectic album. I completely disagree with your review it sucks.
    LOVE BIONIC

  • Josalyn

    I love Bionic!!!! It’s one of the best albums I’ve heard all year..

  • http://tyronereviews.blogspot.com Tyrone S. Reid

    Great analysis, Jordan. I have listened to a couple tracks off Bionic to get a feel of Aguilera’s direction on this new album, and I was utterly disappointed.

    @Mark Saleski: I was rooting for her, too; I’ve always been a fan of her great vocals and I still listen to her previous releases, Stripped and Back To Basics, regularly. It’s too bad this new album falls short of her talent.

    Xtina needs to aim for originality. It’s the only thing that has ever truly worked for her.

  • john1112

    Bionic is simply great, eclectic, modern and overwhelming, no other album out this summer can compare to this compilation of soon to be hits.

  • britney1000

    I think the album is excellent i love it

  • christian

    The album is the best album of 2010 for sure!
    Delicious and excellent! Christina is the QUEEN!

  • Jordan Richardson

    If by “QUEEN” you mean egotistical and silly enough to sing the line “Thank you mom and daddy cause I turn myself on yeah,” then sure, Xtina’s the QUEEN.

  • Steffani

    If you don’t like it … Well, is a pity —- I LOVE ….{ BÍ ~ ON ~ ÍC }…. & I LOVE CHRISTINA AGUILERA —-

  • Hugo

    CHRISTINA AGUILERA IS THE BEST! We don’t care about this article because BIONIC is AMAZING! And if you don’t like it, …. ahahahah

  • ME

    Bionic is Freaking AMAZING and F*** all the haters. Christina rocks!!

  • EfrainJibran

    BIONIC is a super album, xtina have a great voice, the sounds of all the tracks are excellent very creative.. i love ELASTIC LOVE is very…LADYTRON very juvenile… adorable..SHES THE BEST

  • Alfred

    My point is, bionic it’s soo diferent, sooo much than the others, that’s the reason why i like about this album.
    Also, I think the BEST musicians has too try diferent vibes and waves.
    Christina, this album is soooo fu.·$% amazing.!
    BEST ALBUM 2010

  • nano

    This review was made by a Britney or Lady Gaga fan obviously, and he’s trying to bring her down, but it is not working.

  • http://brianasims.webs.com Briana Sims

    i love it. when eer i get on the computer i go to pinkplay and listen to the whole album.

  • http://brianasims.webs.com Briana Sims

    f*** everyone who think she stole her sound from lady gaga.lady gaga stole it from her.2 years ago she tweeted and i quote that “i’ve been brainstorming while i was mothering and i will add a new sound more electro and on the edge”.so haha [edited]

  • Jordan Richardson

    I didn’t mention Lady Gaga or Britney Spears in this review, so I’m not sure what any of you are talking about.

  • HMA

    WHAAAAAAAT? NO FREAKIN WAY! I WASN’T EVEN GOING TO BUY THE ALBUM BECAUSE I HEARD HOW RIDICULOUS && BAD IT WAS BUT I WANTED TO JUDGE IT ON MY OWN && I ABSOLUTELY LOVED EVERY SONG ON IT BUT ONE (ELASTIC LOVE). CHRISTINA AGUILERA CAN SAAAANG AND LOOKS GOOD TO BE DAMN NEAR 30 YEARS OLD. SHE IS ONE OF MY MOST FAV FEMALE ARTIST OF ALL TIME!!!!