Christina Aguilera is back! Aguilera, a judge on NBC’s The Voice, has returned to the music scene with her fifth studio album (not counting the Spanish-language Mi Reflejo or the holiday album My Kind of Christmas), Lotus. The album gets off to a sexy start with “Lotus Intro.” The easygoing beat complements Aguilera’s softer side with lyics like, “I look at my reflection and embrace the woman I’ve become/The unbreakable lotus in me/I now set free.” She hints at the kind of themes, self-love and empowerment, that her fans expected from this album.
Aguilera transitions into the album’s first proper song, “Army Of Me.” She seems to be defending herself, preparing to battle the haters in her life. She has come under scrutiny over her weight in recent months and could be talking to those who have criticized her the most. The song comes off like an anthem for taking on the world. “Make the World Move,” with fellow Voice judge CeeLo Green, is another empowering song. It’s upbeat and not too serious, with Aguilera singing, “Turn up the love/Turn down the hate.” In “Circles” she affects a Jamaican accent for a reggae-type sound with an edge. She trash talks a hater in her life. This is a big theme with the album so far. Aguilera is angry and wants to rally support for the underdog.
Aguilera is ready to move on and wants to talk about sexy love. “Red Hot Kinda Love” is a feel good song with a jumpy beat. “Your Body,” the album’s first single, reminds us that she can sing. It’s a fun club song. If it makes it to the airwaves, “Let There Be Love” could be a hit. It shows off her strong vocal ability and it’s a good song to dance to with its sexy nature and pop beat. Aguilera gets aggressive for “Cease Fire,” as she returns to her fighting stance. The beat is a little harder and more severe compared to the other tracks.
“Sing for Me” slows things down for the album’s first ballad. It seems as though Aguilera is back to defending herself. She is singing to heal herself from the pain of the criticisms she has endured. “Blank Page” follows with a gut-wrenching performance that shows why Aguilera rose to fame. Her vocals are amazing. The song is about regrets and the desire to change one’s choices. “Best of Me” is soft but strong. She sings about feeling confident in herself and not wanting people to get the best of her. She should do more ballads.
Aguilera ends the album with a duet with Blake Shelton, another fellow judge on The Voice. The track, called “Just a Fool,” finds the two going back and forth in a country-style song about lost loves. Shelton adds a different element to Aguilera’s mostly pop music.
Lotus tries hard to be great, but it’s just good. There are a few potential dance hits on the album, but they may not get radio play. The songs really take on a self-love theme, but without the explosiveness and depth we got from Stripped (2002). Aguilera can sing her butt off, but the more generic material doesn’t feel as personal as her other albums.