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[Pop]

Christina Aguilera

Bionic

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It’s a good thing Christina Aguilera has such an amazing voice, because she has yet to find a coherent musical identity. Rather than a forward-thinking innovator like Madonna, Aguilera sounds like she’s playing catch-up on Bionic, her first album since 2006’s Back to Basics. Basics found Aguilera creatively experimenting with big-band sounds, but that’s gone on Bionic, which ventures toward electro-pop without committing to that style, and instead ends up as a jumbled mix of unsuccessful approaches.

The Details

Christina Aguilera
Bionic
Two and a half stars
Beyond the Weekly
Christina Aguilera

Aguilera enlists indie-darling collaborators like M.I.A., Sia and Le Tigre, but doesn’t seem to trust them entirely; much of the album is given over to safer pop hitmakers like Tricky Stewart, Polow Da Don and Linda Perry. None of them has a handle on how to play to Aguilera’s strengths: The electro-pop numbers trail after people like Robyn and Lady Gaga; Sia’s three contributions are bland and soporific; Perry’s ballad “Lift Me Up” is a warmed-over version of “Beautiful”; and the album reaches a nadir with laughable slow jam “Sex for Breakfast.” In between are a few lively moments, but even the best songs don’t serve Aguilera’s wonderful voice well. Time for another makeover.

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