Album review: Christina Aguilera – Lotus
GT listens to Christina Aguilera's latest album...
It seems like it was just yesterday that Christina Aguilera hollered at a drag queen that she was beautiful in every single way, no matter what they say; and then encouraged two nervous gay lovers sitting on a park bench to declare their love publicly with a kiss.
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10 years on, and the fabulously strong-willed Aguilera is set to release her latest album, Lotus, despite the widely underwhelming response to her 2010 release Bionic, and a cancelled tour in the wake thereof.
In true diva fashion she ignored the critics reception to Bionic – declaring it as her art (and who are we, as mere mortals to judge her art?) – and went on to belt her heart out on the silver screen alongside Cher in Burlesque, and held her head high sat aloft her red chair as a judge on The Voice.
Sometimes it takes the poor reception of an album for an artist to pull something really special out of the bag, and this deliciously pop-orientated album may just well be the record to pull her back up the charts.
The synth-heavy lead single Your Body was leaked online over the summer before going on sale in the UK this week, and if the tone from the track and video are anything to go by, Aguilera has not lost her dirty side. (Video below.)
The track saw her team up with Swedish hit-maker Max Martin, responsible for many of rival Britney Spear’s chart-toppers, and proved that the newly divorced Aguilera was still the sex kitten she first claimed to be ten years ago as she thrust her chaps at cameras all across the world.
She’s older and wiser now, but there is still something edgy about her on this, her seventh studio album. She seems to have grown and accepted the agent provocateur aspect of her life, but is keen not to let it overshadow everything else, especially not her music.
Sticking to her guns she has not completely ditched the electro-pop sound she first championed on her ill-fated Bionic record, but rather has cultivated it to create an album with a distinct sound but which lacks the brashness of some of Bionic’s tracklisting.
Army of Me is a Fighter for the 20teen generation, while Red Hot Kinda Love with Lucas Secon is fun and breezy. Let There Be Love, with its thumping baseline, is set to be a sure-fire club hit, and the closest in sound and style to first single Your Body.
Aguilera also teams up with the remainder of the Voice judging panel after the run-away success of Moves Like Jagger with Adam Levine and Maroon 5 last year.
Blake Shelton appears on rock power ballad Just a Fool, while the up-beat feel-good track Around the World features CeeLo Green – an unusual collaboration, but one that works surprisingly well.
The tantalisingly naughty track Around the World cheekily nods to two of Aguilera’s biggest hits with the line: “We can talk dirty in a different language, voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir”
Not forgetting her success with ballads such as Beautiful, Aguilera has toned it down for a number of more delicate intimate ballads such as Blank Page and Best of Me.
As with Stripped and Back to Basics, Aguilera’s vocals cannot be faulted, and she seems to have mastered the issue of ‘oversinging’ that Bionic was accused of.
But, as with her 2010 release, she now has Lady Gaga to contend with for chart domination as a gutsy vocalist pushing the boundaries. If there is an album to attempt such a feat with, it is this.
Lotus is available on iTunes at £10.99
Words: Stephen Davy-Osborne