Music Reviews

Christina Aguilera Bionic

(RCA) Buy it from Insound Rating - 4/10

Pop juggernaut Christina Aguilera is copying Lady Gaga. Or so, everyone thinks in the midst of a futuristic, electro-S&M era that revolves around the 90’s-techno/Madonna recycler. Oh, and a multitude of artists are swirling like vultures, eyes bulging red with disdain (M.I.A., Katy Perry, just to name a few) at Gaga’s quick, chess-like moves into pop queendom. But Christina garners a tasteful response to the relentless music blogs and Akon’s biting comments, because let’s not forget, past comparisons to teeny-bop adversaries (ahem, Britney Spears/Jessica Simpson) has taught her how to deftly maneuver into diva territory. 

Unfortunately for Xtina aficionados, Aguilera re-emerges from a 4-year hiatus with troubling, narrowing sounds on her fourth LP, Bionic. The confusion of futuristic experimentation exploding with narcissistic, evocative bites alters the vocal artistry Aguilera has been known to provide. 

Her first single, Not Myself Tonight, struggles to bring sticky pulses of Dirrty from her most popular album to date, Stripped, into modern play. “The old me’s gone/ I feel brand new/And if you don’t like it f*** you,” declares Xtina in tight plastic drag, followed by chin belts and co-ed orgies. 

“Daringly unique” is a phrase that is slowly being erased from Aguilera’s image. Instead, songs like Glam and I Hate Boys are stuck in the era of Right Said Fred and the Vogue Femme. Sex for Breakfast truncates the flirtatiousness and seductive nature of smooth R&B.

Her 13-second, banal explanation of fashion in Love and Glamour (Intro), breathes desperation, especially if she hasn’t been known for her taste in clothing.   

Even a nod to her Latino roots in club-shaker, Desnudate, would have faired more desirably with a Pitbull remix.   

The saviors of her album are the songwriting collaborators and producers - M.I.A., Sia Furler, Tricky “The Dream” Stewart, and Samuel Dixon – who provide noteworthy tracks like the sleeper hit, You Lost Me, a churning ballad comfortably crafted for Christina’s vocal eloquence. Also, Elastic Love trims the oscitant glaze of other electronic tracks and surges into lyrical mastery and futuristic grooves.

With the existing flow of Lady Gaga’s fashion and electronic hegira, Bionic junctures at musical creativity and pop mimicry. Along with powerful vocals matching a compelling and sweet personality, Aguilera continues to uphold her seniority and evolving musicality, but as convincing as she attempts to sound, Bionic, does nothing to persuade authenticity. 

“Let us not forget who owns the throne,” Xtina prompts on her last track, Vanity. Oh, we won’t forget, but it’s up to you, Christina, to keep it.