Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lotus | Christina Aguilera

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Two years after the release of her least-popular album to date, Christina Aguilera has finally tried once again to release a solid album. However, her new release, Lotus, might face the same fate that Bionic did.

The biggest reason I picked up Lotus in the first place was its lead single, "Your Body." But before I spent the money on the album, I decided to watch Aguilera perform at the American Music Awards, so I could get a good sample of what it would sound like. 

When I found out that Aguilera was booked to perform at the American Music Awards, I was hoping that she had finally picked up the pieces and was able to crack out a good live performance. However, I was apparently fighting a losing battle. The performance opened with Aguilera, donning a fake-looking spray tan and a platinum blond wig with bangs, lip-syncing to the auto-tuned vocals of "Lotus Intro." The lip-syncing was extremely obvious, and she looked like a hot mess in that wig. This lead into a medley of "Army of Me" and "There Will Be Love." The performance of "Army of Me" brought a quick costume change for Aguilera, when she slid into an unflattering corset-looking garment, fishnets, and knee-high boots. The song was alright vocally, but it was nothing stunning. Then in "Let There Be Love," she gave up entirely, letting the majority of the vocals come from her back-up singers, and chose to rather just scream and shake around a bit.  The entire thing was a giant mess.

The performance didn't impress me at all, but I still held out hope that Lotus would turn out to be a solid album. So, I fought my way through the Black Friday crowds and got a copy of the album on sale. When I began to listen to it, I was met with an album that was about as impressive as the performance.

Many songs on Lotus were plagued with massive amounts of auto-tune. I am completely okay with artists using auto-tune simply for effect, which Aguilera did with "Lotus Intro." (But as I said before, when an artist does this, they definitely shouldn't try to lip-sync to it in a live performance, because it just looks dumb.) Although the auto-tune "Lotus Intro" doesn't bother me, there are many other songs on the album that just shouldn't have these heavy amounts of auto-tune, such as "Cease Fire" and "Circles." I would actually like both of those songs if it wasn't for all of the edits to Aguilera's voice.

There were very few stand-out songs, but one of them was "Army of Me," which is a song that actually lets Aguilera sing without any manipulations to her voice. When she actually tries, Christina Aguilera can sing pretty well, and this really shows in "Army of Me." She can easily belt out the held-out notes of the chorus without limitations, which I really like. Lyrically, it follows the theme of "Lotus Intro," and is another self-empowerment tune.

"Your Body" was the another impressive song, which I fell in love in with when it dropped as the first single from Lotus a few months ago. I was hoping that the song would be representative of the quality of the rest of album, but I was wrong. The song could be compared to another highlight from the album called "Let There Be Love," as they are contain a nice combination of electronic and R&B influences, and both have very provocative and sexual lyrics.

When taking a look at the album as a whole, many of the songs sound too similar and seem to blend together, with the exception of the three aforementioned highlights. The only songs switched gears were "Blank Page" and "Just a Fool," which acted as a marketing campaign for The Voice duet with fellow judge from The Voice, Blake Sheldon. The rest of the album is just a bland platter of cheap copies of "Let There Be Love" and "Your Body," to be completely honest. This being said, the album just doesn't cut it. And I have a feeling that if Christina Aguilera doesn't get her act together and put out a half-way decent album next time around, we won't be seeing much of her for much longer. 

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