Christina Aguilera – Lotus (2012)
When BIONIC came out a few years ago, I thought she was done. I thought perhaps it was time for her to take some years off, take a nap and come back out as a big Adult Contemporary artist when she was forty. I understand wanting to take complete control over your album, but make sure you don’t veer too far from what helped you become a star. It doesn’t work as often as artists think.
I get what she was trying to do with the whole LOTUS thing, but I think other more clever titles could have been garnered from some lyrics within a song. (Side note: I always found it fun to find the title of albums within songs themselves instead of the obvious. I think people should bring that back.) Whoever sequenced this album was wise. There are some real gems throughout this listen, and they aren’t all packed together. The listener can easily listen through the entire album, and, if they don’t, they will skip through and stop every other song or so. Getting to the end is worth it in my opinion.
My brief, and unimportant, thoughts on the tracks:
Lotus Intro – I’m not sure there is much need for intro tracks these days, especially where the album is not particularly themed. But, I’ll accept this one.
Army of Me – This song shows Christina added a little “Fighter” to a mid-tempo, radio-friendly tune. There isn’t much surprise to this song, but it satisfies.
Red Hot Kinda Love – This track feels like a combo of her BACK TO BASICS and BIONIC album. Take the tiny good parts from each and smash them into a little throw away filler song. No need to skip this one, but I don’t really feel a radio hit.
Make the World Move – We all knew this track was coming once the judges were announced for The Voice. This track features CeeLo Green and gives a little homage to the STRIPPED album. Something about CeeLo’s voice makes every song sound the same.
Your Body – I really wish they had kept the obnoxiously vulgar version on the album. However, after hearing this song four million times, it really has a good feel to it. Since Christina is all about sexing it up, this was a wise choice to show off her big voice and sing about doing it all night long. And by doing it, I mean “All I wanna do, is love your body” — however, “love” used to be the f-word.
Side note: As I am going through the front half of this album, I am noticing that many of the songs feel the same – dance, pop, written for radio. Weird.
Let There Be Love – There is a chance that this one should be released for the club charts. Its perfect for that scene and the drunk people go crazy!
Sing for Me – This. is. where. it. gets. good. This is the first ballad on the album. The ballads are where she hits the home runs, at least for me. I feel like so many people can relate to this song. She sings about her passion – singing. We can all take a page from this song and just find something we love and pour ourselves into it. In addition, she sounds great and really doesn’t over-sing in this one. 3:00 mark – perfection.
Blank Page – I think this ballad is going to get some attention. To me, the arrangement and production feels a bit cliche, but, it has a strong message. I picture this song being a theme song for some people going through some stuff. “I am a blank page, waiting for life to start.”
Cease Fire – I can do without this one. It belongs on Rihanna’s last album.
Around the World – Urban Christina tries to bring a little Caribbean and hip hop flavor to her album. Zzzzz.
Circles – One of the two funny tracks on this album. I will continue to listen to this one and laugh, “Spin around in circles on my middle middle finger”. Done. Thank you Christina. Ha.
Best of Me – This is a nice mid-tempo track that has a good build in the song. Add in some marching band drums and you can feel the desperation of these lyrics. “You’ll never get the best of me, no you won’t”
Just a Fool – Love that she took the chance to add a country artist to her album. This mid-tempo ballad features Blake Shelton, who, at first, sounds a bit out of place, until it all blends together into some awesomeness. Country radio, embrace this please. Maybe we can get another pop-crossover hit like “Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean.
Light Up the Sky – Can someone tell me what the beginning of this song sounds like? I can’t tell, but I do think that the chorus sounds like it could be a part of a Maroon 5 song. I should check to see who produced this track.
Empty Words – This could also be called, “Ode to my Haters”. Love it. Stand up strong and sing this one proud – everyone. “Go ahead and say the things you gotta say, its only empty words a million miles away”
Shut up – Love this one. It is another laughing track – can’t really take it seriously, but that won’t stop me from listening. “Shut up, just shut the f&*k up. Shut up, just shut the f&$k up”. HA
Throughout this album, I sense desperation in her voice. It almost feels that she is trying to convince us that we should take her back. If this is a hint of what is to come, then welcome back Christina. I applaud this effort – so much more than BACK TO BASICS and BIONIC – so much.
If I was giving a score, I would put this album at 8/10 because some of the gems make up for some of the filler.