Initial Musings on Xtina's Bionic
I’ve never made a point of caring all that much about the career arc of Christina Aguilera – she’s really been nothing more than radio fodder. I will admit to liking her voice opposed to many of her peers (Allmusic calls her the “Rolling Stones to Britney’s Beatles” – brilliant) over the years though her frequent shifts in style have been suspect. Remember the desperate attempt at getting “Dirrtty.” It’s always seemed like an uphill battle for her, even if she’s sold millions of records and is considerably more diva-esque than the bubblegum crop from which she was harvested. I am a frequenter of the pop charts, still to this day, and all I can assess from Christina’s latest “comeback” album, Bionic, is that she’s taking some risky, albeit safe in my sphere of influence, maneuvers to wriggle and croon her way back into a top spot.
So what’s so risky/safe? I can’t admit to ever listening to an Xtina album from front to back, but have enjoyed a number of her singles, but now can, as I was intrigued about every puzzle piece that (finally) made Bionic a reality. She enlisted every hot producer and world-class female ingénue on board to give her globe-trotting, future-disco cred – name ‘em, she got ‘em – M.I.A., Santigold, Switch, Tricky, Polow da Don, Sia, Ladytron. Then there’s the really strange addition of Le Tigre on “I Hate Boys” and the completely softball combination of a raging voice like hers and a Linda Perry penned ballad, as “Lift Me Up” is assured to be a gigantic hit. In fact, after giving Bionic a few spins already today, I’m loving the sultry, soul, numbers here – check “Sex for Breakfast,” my instant favorite – more than Xtina’s stabs at becoming current, a leader of the pack. She’s not capable of that. Whether she knows it or not, M.I.A. is giving her leftovers in “Elastic Love” and whatever contribution was concocted by Kathleen Hanna is barely noticeable. I will give her an A for effort though. Songs like “Glam” and “Woohoo” are filled with expletives, sexually suggestive rhetoric, and excellent beats (remixes please?), something, when done correctly, I can’t get enough of no matter who’s singing. Then again, Aguilera, who’s barely 30 years old, sounds completely out of touch for most of this ride. She’s a mommy, not a rebel. She’s not changing the face of anything.