Christina Aguilera, ‘Lotus’ – Album Review
The last time Christina Aguilera made an album, in 2010, she sounded as robotic as the cyborg she played on the ‘Bionic’ cover. But three seasons as a coach on ‘The Voice’ have brought the diva back down to earth, at least a little. She sounds more human on ‘Lotus,’ her seventh album, but she also sounds a tad desperate – for a hit, for attention, for the adoration dumped on Taylor Swift.
So ‘Lotus’ jumps from one style (ooh, look … a club banger!) to another (clear the floor, Christina’s about ready to bust out a ballad!), trying on more than a half-dozen different producers (including Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’ hit makers, Max Martin and Shellback, on two cuts). Check out our track-by-track breakdown of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Lotus’ LP and leave a comment below letting us know what you thought of the album.
1. ‘Lotus Intro’
This isn’t so much a song as a three-minute Auto-tuned statement of purpose, in which Aguilera holds a pity party for himself and declares a new beginning (hence, the whole lotus theme).
2. ‘Army of Me’
Another I’m-still-here declaration, with talk of “second skin” and rising up and stuff like that. Aguilera comes on like Cher in the disco, overworking her pipes in a tune that doesn’t seem to have the same priorities.
3. ‘Red Hot Kinda Love’
This is more like it — a night out at the club with the girls. Even if Aguilera sounds sorta reserved, never quite matching the music’s jumpy flow, at least she doesn’t sound like she’s plotting revenge on all the people who didn’t buy ‘Bionic.’
4. ‘Make the World Move’
Aguilera keeps the party going with another club jam. Her ‘Voice’ co-star Cee Lo Green checks in with a line or two in the chorus. It’s not bad, but it’s pretty forgettable.
5. ‘Your Body’
‘Lotus’’ first of two collaborations with Swedish pop maestros Martin and Shellback is also the album’s best song. No surprise it’s the record’s first single, since it is one of the few cuts that has a splinter of identity. Still, Martin and Shellback’s contributions to Swift’s new album are way better. [Listen Here]
6. ‘Let There Be Love’
Here’s the other Martin-Shellback song, and it’s almost as good as ‘Your Body.’ It’s typical high-energy pop from the duo, but Aguilera’s big voice was designed to soar over monster beats like this.
7. ‘Sing for Me’
Coming down from the past few cuts, this strategically placed mid-album ballad features one of Aguilera’s best vocal performances on ‘Lotus.’ The minimalist synth drips stay out of the way and let the star do her thing.
8. ‘Blank Page’
Another ballad, but this one is the album’s showstopper – a piano-fueled throwback like ‘Beautiful.’ Because it doesn’t have much going on, ‘Blank Page’ doesn’t force the music. It’s a classic Aguilera performance, right down to the vocal acrobatics that drive it home. [Listen Here]
9. ‘Cease Fire’
This mid-tempo march about relationship woes features one of the album’s sturdiest beats, but Aguilera holds back from delivering a killer blow. Too bad, because the song’s sweaty simmer seems to be leading to one.
10. ‘Around the World’
It’s back to the clubs for this faceless dance track built around another solid beat. But Aguilera’s insistence on singing part of the song with Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long (All Night)’ island accent is totally misguided.
The most mixed-up cut from ‘Lotus’ dips back to the bubblegum pop of Aguilera’s debut for the verses, but pumps a ton of distortion into her voice during the refrains. ‘Circles’ doesn’t seem to know what kind of song it wants it to be, so it settles for two not very good ones.
12. ‘Best of Me’
Now, it’s back to the I-have-feelings-too theme that kicked off ‘Lotus.’ Aguilera is in full reprimand mode here, scolding critics who “kick me when I’m down.” She also rhymes “mistreated” and “undefeated,” in case you missed the point.
13. ‘Just a Fool’
The album’s closing track is a duet with another ‘Voice’ co-host, Blake Shelton, who helps to ground Aguilera. But the weepy melody and kinda twangy vibe seem out of step with the rest of ‘Lotus.’ Still, Aguilera’s throaty rasp sounds great.
Watch the Christina Aguilera ‘Your Body’ Video