Album Review: Christina Aguilera – ‘Lotus’

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    Christina Aguilera Lotus TheLavaLizard
    Christina Aguilera’s ‘Lotus’ album cover

    Christina Aguilera has long been referred to as the “voice of her generation” and judging by her new album, ‘Lotus’, she definitely agrees with that claim. Yet, such a notion extends beyond the power of her now rusty instrument to reflect a diva passed her prime and desperately trying to prove a point.

    By abandoning the one person with the gall to keep her wails in check – Linda Perry – and enlisting Alex da Kid, Sia, Alexander Grant and Max Martin, Aguilera unleashes the brunt of her overwhelming voice across seventeen tracks of bombastic self-assurance. Thankfully, however, the full impact of her almost barbaric singing was softened by a thick shroud of auto-tune and vocal layering.

    Aguilera screams at maximum volume on ‘Just a Fool’, which is supposed to be a duet with her fellow ‘The Voice’ coach, Blake Shelton. Unfortunately for the unsuspecting Country crooner, Aguilera’s ego is just as big as her voice and they both steal the spotlight on the song, leaving little room for Shelton to chime in.

    A similar situation occurs on the weakest ‘Lotus’ track, ‘Make the World Move’. Featuring the trite message of changing the world with nothing but a smile, Aguilera refuses to give guest act Cee Lo Green the chance to shine amidst the sloppy production. Even in the empty gaps of the verses, she drops her ever so cocky “ha” at every opportunity instead of allowing Green to fill the dead air with actual lyrics.

    Still, nothing on ‘Lotus’ compares to the most overbearing expression of unbridled bellowing and gross ego masturbation, ‘Sing for Me’. To enjoy this song, you will need to forget about self-restraint and everything you learned at choir practice in Sunday school because you won’t find those teachings reflected here. Instead, Aguilera does exactly what the lyrics of the record suggest: she opens her mouth to let her voice run wild and free like a stampeding bull in a children’s hospital.

    “We can only hope that the only people influenced by ‘Sing for Me’ are the shower stall vocalists, whose screams sound remarkably better thanks to the acoustics of their bathrooms.”

    For months Aguilera has been boasting that ‘Lotus’ is a special source of inspiration for the next generation of singers. We can only hope that the only people influenced by ‘Sing for Me’ are the shower stall vocalists, whose screams sound remarkably better thanks to the acoustics of their bathrooms. Ironically, judging by the amount of reverb on the track, that is probably the place where Aguilera recorded the song.

    Regardless of those gross blunders, ‘Lotus’ isn’t an entirely bad album. When Aguilera suppresses her urge to show off her massive voice, she impresses with surprising subtlety. For instance, by channeling Santigold on the infectious ‘Red Hot Kind of Love’, Aguilera reminds us of the fun side of her ill-fated ‘Bionic’ album. Additionally, the feisty ‘Circles’ demonstrates the flexibility of Aguilera’s range and her unique ability to make cursing fun.

    The are a few instances on ‘Lotus’ where Aguilera’s wails actually work in her favour. On ‘Light Up the Sky’, she scales the octaves as she blasts the message of anthem into the stratosphere and she follows in the footsteps of another butterfly-loving diva, who shall remain unnamed. Moreover, the Dance-styled ‘Let There Be Love’ reintroduces Aguilera as a club queen who can party with the best of them.

    Other standout songs on ‘Lotus’ include ‘Best of Me’, the Adele-inspired ‘Cease Fire’ and the top choice for a future single, ‘Empty Words’. The last of those tunes is bolstered by a foot-stomping beat that is ideal for radio and has the potential be a hit with the right promotion.

    The remaining tracks are hardly worth mentioning. ‘Shut Up’ is a messy album-filler that target’s Aguilera’s detractors and is actually a brilliant way to close such a long LP of rampant yelling. Also, ‘Army of Me’ is the less attractive sister of ‘Fighter’ from the ‘Stripped’ album and if ‘Around the World’ is intended to reflect Aguilera’s sex life then I imagine that it is rough, uncomfortable and rather unpleasant. You thought I was going to refer to her as the world that her lover would have to go around, didn’t you?

    So, is ‘Lotus’ the comeback album that Aguilera needs at the stage of her career? Unfortunately, she misses the mark in various ways. From her reckless vocal gymnastics that score only threes across the board to her misguided attempts at leading the younger generation to the land of milk, honey and KFC, Aguilera barely earns a passing grade.

    ‘Lotus’ is actually weaker than ‘Bionic’, despite sounding far more natural than its predecessor. How is that possible? Aguilera is doing what she loves most: screaming until her lungs can’t carry on and boasting about her own supposed greatness. Hey, if nobody else enjoys this album then at least she will.

    Standout tracks: ‘Blank Page’‘Cease Fire’‘Let There Be Love’‘Red Kind of Love’ and ‘Empty Words’

    Weakest track: ‘Make the World Move (Ft. Cee Lo Green)’

    Possible singles: ‘’Empty Words’‘Blank Page, ‘Light Up the Sky’ and ‘Let There Be Love’

    The Lava Lizard Rating: 3/5 Stars

    What do you think of the review?

    • mikeymike

      loved this review and once more my coins will stay in my pocket till real music comes in 2013

    • sam

      LMAO at this whole review! I think Bionic is a better album VOCALLY…but the best tracks on Locus >>> the best tracks on Bionic. It’s an okay album, but I honestly don’t care about listening to it again. It’s kinda boring and mediocre.

      I can’t believe Xtina is officially out of her prime & a hasbeen. It makes me feel old! I remember when she was Ms. Thang during the Stripped era. I don’t think I’m going to bother listening to her next album unless she comes back HARD with the music, ditches tacky electropop songs and sorts that straining out.

    • Ariana

      I mostly agree. I think she’s a great singer who doesn’t know when is too much. I’ve seen her fans defending her by saying that that’s her signature: oversinging. I really doubt that’s what she’s aiming for as a singer. I’m not a fan but I’m rooting for her because she’s talented. When I heard Blank Page I thought this bitch was finally going thru the right path but then I heard songs like Sing for me and it’s like two steps forward, one step back.

      If she had a vocal coach or someone who actually mentored her she would do wonders and that’s what bothers me about her. She cannot see how great she could be if only….

      Anyways, as I’ve stated before this is a solid album and I wish her well. This is definitely NOT better than Stripped but if she finally decides to do some decent promo she could get at least a hit or two.

      Good review, Trent!

    • Poisonous

      “she follows in the footsteps of
      another butterfly-loving diva, who shall remain
      unnamed”…. Lol. I see you Trent. I agree with this… It has its moments. Its an amazing record regardless. Getting my copy this Saturday…

    • Unbothered

      I’m in tears. This is the funniest review I’ve ever read, but it’s all true. I stan for Trent.

    • Naudisweet (Xtina Stan)

      My main problem with Lotus is that it is too long, some tracks were not needed. Blank Page to me was kind of a disappointment in comparison to the demo snippet. On some songs she often sound strained and off key, and some of the messages on the songs became repetitive after a while. That being said I’m enjoying the album for the most part, and I’m just happy to see her doing her thing again. I just wish she would put more effort into promotion though. What’s with all these lazy ass interviews at her home? Is she gonna perform at the AMA’s via her living room? Anyway I will continue to support her, hopefully she gets it together soon.

    • Music-Doc

      There is no dobut that Christina Aguilera has an incredible voice, and we will probably never hear a voice like hers ever again. However, what separates her from the greats is her usage of her voice. Her belts are often very forced, uncontrolled, and lack resonance. But, she is at her best when she holding back, and I wish she would learn that less is sometimes much more.

      Now, about the album, “Just a Fool” is one of the weakest tracks on the album, and I agree she over-powers Blake Shelton with her voice. I guess she forgot that she was suppose to be singing a duet, not a solo.

      Also, I wish Christina would have not put “Make the World Move” on the album. I think this song and the one with Blake should have been omitted from the album. I still do not know what the hell she and Cee Lo Green were singing about.

      Conversely, “Light Up the Sky” and “Let There Be Love” are two of the best songs on the album. Christina voice is front and center without being overwhelming.

      Furthermore, I disagree that “Red Kind of Love” is a standout track; it’s one of the worst tracks on the album. However, I do agree that “Empty Words,” “Blank Page,” “Light Up the Sky,” and “Let There Be Love” would be great future singles.

      Overall, I think the album was good, but nowhere near the greatness that was her “Stripped.”

    • DMAC143

      I’d have to agree with you on the strongest tracks, but I also like ‘I’m Just A Fool” it’s definitely different for her and I think it was a good effort.

    • Joss

      Oh Trent 😀

      Yeah Trent, you’re amazingly frustrated hater! You need some laid man 😉 mutherphucker 😀 Cheers 😉

    • Licken

      I wasn’t aware that screaming could be done with full vibrato and complete tonal control.

      I also wasn’t aware that Alexander Grant and “Alex” da Kid were two different people.

      I cannot with so-called reviewers not doing even the most basic of research before spouting off uninformed opinions and attempting to pass them off as authoritative.

      • lotus2012

        Wow. Reading all the reviews and comments i halarious. I think Lotus Is a Great album to add to her collection. This bitch knows whats up. Everyone always talking about her screaming lol!!! Come on most bitches are auto tuned these days or lipsync. Yes xtina uses auto tune now, but she has her voice to back her up. Sometimes i feel the reviews are pointless like they just feed off other bad reviews and don’t do thier own research or take a listen…

      • C-D-C

        What is “tonal control”?

        • Unbothered

          Something Christina didn’t use.

    • KC

      After all that you give her 3 stars? I expected less after that review.

    • Diva

      I haven’t heard the album yet. I will buy it b/c she’s one of the few artist that I actually buy their albums.

    • Well, i see you hatin’ when she really rolls up. Hmm. 🙂

    • whiteboi

      I went to itunes, randomly just clicked on song #7 “Sing For Me” .. and I literally jumped..why is she screaming at me? she sounds horrid, i loved Stripped..shes been lost ever since..

    • PJ

      Oh wow, a harsh review on Christina by….Trent? And anyone is supposed to take that seriously? That’s the problem, you’ve been overly one-sided whenever posting ANYTHING about Christina so of course your die-hards will agree with you. If you were a blogger who was much more fair and balanced when it comes to her, then you’d probably have credibility when talking about her (and other artists who will not be named). I like checking your site and while I dont agree with a lot of what you’ve got to say I’m not going to say flat out nasty things about you, but honestly what’s the point of posting reviews about an artist’s album if basically all you do is trash them? Is it about getting hits or comments or what?

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    • James

      Sia should have kept Blank Page for herself! I loved her snippet and the biggest disappointment for me was the over-singing of what could have been a beautiful ballad. Silly Sia!

    • Summer Cooper

      What kind of fucked up review is this – clearly this is a nice album, very nice flow from intro to ending. Xtina has always been an artist that goes by her own drum. If you don’t like her, you don’t like her but like her song “Circles” said, “You can spin around in circles on her middle – middle finger”

    • Hyaci

      Read and LEARN Xtina.
      You need to start BELTING and stop SCREAMING.

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