It’s been four years since Christina Aguilera’s last studio album, so has Bionic been worth the wait? I really wish I could answer that with a resounding yes and say that this is the album of 2010, but sadly that is not the case. Now that’s not to say that it isn’t a good album, in fact at times it’s a great album.
The album starts off strong with the fun title track. The only other track on the album that really lives up to its futuristic promise is the excellent M.I.A.-penned “Elastic Love”, which is the trippiest Aguilera is ever likely to get. In between those songs are two Pollow da Don productions; the decent first single “Not Myself Tonight” and the shameless yet uber-catchy “Woohoo”.
Things start getting shaky with latino pop of “Desnudate”, whose chorus mainly consists of the line “get naked”. The soulful spasms at the end only make things worse. The only thing it’s missing is a terrible Pitbull rap. While “Glam” is a superficial take on Madonna’s “Vogue” (it’s spoken intro only makes its shallowness all the more obvious). “Glam” misses the whole point of the Madonna classic, definitely a disappointment.
Things start slowing down part way through with a string of ballads. Starting with the sensual “Sex For Breakfast”. The song ends up losing its effectiveness though, because of some ridiculous lyrics, the worst being : “I’m gonna feel your honey drip my juices start to flow“. “Lift Me Up” definitely brings a bit more substance to the table, but it suffers from a tacky and somewhat dated production. Personally, I prefer the stripped down version she did for Help for Haiti.
Luckily, the rest of ballads are of better quality. Aguilera wrote them with an Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler, who out of all of her collaborators on this album bear the best fruit. Both “All I Need” and “I Am” are a lot more restrained vocally than we’re used to from Aguilera. The two songs feel very raw. My personal favorite though is the breathtaking “You Lost Me”, which is this album’s equivalent to “Hurt”.
The album then moves back to party mode with the childish “I Hate Boys” which is the album’s weakest track. It’s followed up by the album’s girl power anthem which is actually pretty great. The standard edition of the album closes with the obnoxious self-praising “Vanity”, which is so ridiculous that I’m not sure whether or not to hate or love it.
Though only four tracks (unless you include the stripped down version of “I Am”) the deluxe edition of Bionic is actually much more effective than the 18 track standard edition. It starts with the new-wave perfection of “Monday Morning”. It also includes another Sia penned track called “Stronger Than Ever” which is a classic Christina ballad. How those two tracks didn’t make the regular album is beyond me as they both sound like stellar singles in my opinion. Even the deluxe version’s weakest track, “Bobblehead” is a fun stab at some of her not so intelligent contemporaries even if it is a little too bratty.
The album could do without the multiple intros, it would have been nice if the uptempo tracks and ballads had been mixed up a bit more, and the word “bitch” is used way too many times. Despite all of the albums flaws, it manages to give us exactly what the title promised. It gives us the futuristic robo-diva dance tracks, but still manages to have a humane side with its ballads. With this album Aguilera proves that she is truly Bionic.
Top Tracks: “Elastic Love”, “You Lost Me”, “My Girls”, “Monday Morning”, “Stronger Than Ever”