Written by: River Kali, Special to CC2K
Most likely due to the disappointing sales of her last LP, Bionic, Christina Aguilera decided to play it safe this time by releasing a generic electropop album, but ironically, capitulating to music trends may prove to be her downfall. That’s not to say, Lotus, out in the US, on November 13, is awful, but it isn’t terribly interesting, either. Even on first listen, the tracks blend together to the point where it becomes difficult to tell where one song ends and the next one begins. Some of the more mediocre uptempos, like Cease Fire and Army of Me (a Fighter ripoff, but at least she’s ripping off herself) could’ve been great with better production and the ballads aren’t half bad: Blank Page would have been amazing with better vocals (more on that below) and Just a Fool is pretty good, but would have been better with Christina by herself, rather than as a duet with Blake Shelton. There’s also a song with Cee-lo Green, Make the World Move, that fails to deliver.
There are a few grave missteps as well: Circles and Around the World are puerile banality, and for those who are unfortunate enough to purchase the deluxe edition, you’ll get another shoddy track, Shut Up. Christina’s music has never had amazing lyrics, but the ones on these songs are truly pitiful as is the production, and I want to know what she and her record company were thinking when they allowed them to be on this album. It’s called quality control, people. The only remotely stand out tracks on the album, are the intro (it’s called an intro, but is pretty much a real song) and the lead single, Your Body, which works nicely as an antithesis to Christina’s debut single, Genie in a Bottle: in the latter, Christina has certain criterion a guy must meet before she agrees to sleep with him; in the former, she just wants to screw her brains out, even if the guy isn’t up to par (in the song, she exclaims, “If you don’t know where to go, I’ll finish off on my own”).
Another big problem is Christina’s vocals. She’s known as the voice of her generation, but sounds like anything but as she strains to hit her notes on practically every track, with the most offensive being the ballads, Blank Page and Sing for Me. If this is what she sounds like on a polished recording, I shudder to think what she’ll sound like when she sings these songs live. Hopefully, she’s been working with a good vocal coach to get herself back up to snuff for those live performances.
I know this review may come off as rather harsh, but it’s only because I’m a huge fan of Christina Aguilera (I own all of her studio albums and still listen to the last three regularly) and was expecting better. While she’s never been the biggest pop star, she’s always been one of the most talented.