A year after the release of her album “Bionic” in 2010, Christina Aguilera returned to the spotlight as a judge on “The Voice,” and made a visual statement by showcasing her glowing fake tan and some new “hardware.” Apparently a couple of years and a revamped look is all it took for Aguilera to emerge—as literally seen on the album artwork—with her seventh album “Lotus.” The album features 17 tracks and symbolizes the renewal of Aguilera’s rightful place alongside new vocal powerhouses like Adele and Jessie J.
“Lotus” introduces a new Christina, who embraces experimentation with musical genres that alternate from dance to pop and even soul. The album’s hit single “Your Body” is reminiscent of a classic radio hit with its catchy lyrics and pulsating rhythm. “Let There Be Love” and “Circles” follow suit by effectively capturing the growth of Aguilera’s music career since the old Mouseketeer days. Music producer/songwriters Alex da Kid and Max Martin collaborate to highlight Aguilera’s dynamic vocal range in effortless transitions between each techno-infused number.
However, as talented as Christina Aguilera is, not even powerful vocals can salvage lyrically inferior tracks such as “Red Hot Kinda Love” and “Shut Up.” The juvenile lyrics (e.g. “Oh baby I’m burning up / I wasn’t trying to fall for ya”) clearly lack depth and become annoying, which leads me to question the originality behind the songwriting. Aguilera is neither a Jonas Brother nor is she a teenager, so I expected hits on par with the caliber of “Fighter” and “Beautiful,” both singles released at the peak of her career, but instead I was presented with a jumble of shallow, nonsensical lyrics. The help of feature artists and fellow “The Voice” coaches, Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green, actually serve to point out the weaknesses in “Lotus.” “Just a Fool,” which features Shelton, is the top selling song on the album with “Make the World Move,” featuring Cee Lo Green, not far behind.
But aside from the lyrical train wreck, “Lotus” is an absolute improvement from “Bionic.” The ballads, married with Christina Aguilera’s incomparable vocal talent, hold the album together; “Sing for Me” and “Blank Page” articulate relatable, empowering lyrics that evoke vulnerability and emotion relevant to her past scandals. These prevent the album from becoming an utter waste. “Lotus” is now available on iTunes and Amazon, but I personally wouldn’t spend my own money on it.
Rating: 2 Stars