Likes: Your Body, Blank Page, Best of Me, Empty Words, Light Up the Sky
Dislikes: Red Hot Kind of Love, Let There Be Love
Overall: Interesting production, redundant lyrics, more dance-pop than necessary
I’m frustrated with Christina Aguilera. Her last album “Bionic” was a sad attempt at commerciality and slap-in-the-face to the artistry she’s strived to maintain. The poignant and beautiful half of the album was almost negated by the techno-dance portion, as it was so disconnected from the singer her fans have come to know. In some ways, the new “Lotus” is an enhanced, improved version of “Bionic,” while in others ways it’s more of the same. There’s a lot more techno and effects and less live instrumentation on “Lotus” (shooting for commerciality), which is a maddening downside, but the added blend of rock and R&B keeps it from being typical dance music and sounds more like something Aguilera would record. Vocally, Aguilera is sometimes pleasantly restrained (carefully placing powerful notes as opposed to over-singing), but abrasive in other cases. The sultry, dynamic vocals we heard earlier in her career are absent.
Lyrically, “Lotus” lacks maturity and hints that Aguilera is running out of ideas. There are more than enough songs about sex and telling off haters. We get it Christina; you’re proud of your sexuality and tired of scrutiny. Apparently, the songstress hasn’t gotten the memo that introspective, emotional and inspirational songs are her strong suite and what people love to hear from her. Tracks like “Blank Page” and “Light Up the Sky” are aces and have the potential to resonate more deeply with her audience. The album’s introduction explains why it’s called “Lotus,” as Aguilera speaks of leaving the past behind, saying “goodbye to the scared child inside” and healing from brokenness, but the tracks that follow only somewhat align with that story. I expected an experimental, inventive, meaningful album; consider me disappointed. You can hear an album sampler of the standard edition below.