Album review: Christina Aguilera - Lotus

Christina Aguilera - Lotus | Random J Pop

I should have known that Floptina wasn't taking her shit seriously. Leaking gravy from her p***y whilst performing at a funeral, announcing she'd love to do a world tour whilst looking like she's in no physical state to tour, dressing like a clown on The voice and then unveiling her joke of an album art for Lotus - some Brooke Hogan looking ass shit. "Your body" at least signalled that Christina finally saw sense and delivered a very on trend lead single. But for all of the Euro club and trend leading shown in "Your body", Lotus shows that Christina has not learnt enough lessons following the unanimous mauling and chart failure of Bionic. And has somehow managed to make a worse album.

Whilst Christina is known amongst her fans for being the ultimate risk taker and being able to tame every genre - the one thing she never seems to be able to settle on is consistency. What is seen by many to be artistic and virtuous comes through to me as an artist who isn't sure of her sound. Stripped was a great album. I recall playing that album to death from start to finish. But it was all over the place. Back to basics was consistent across both discs, but her lack of ability to settle on one style / sound or mesh the two discs cohesively into 14 tracks is what made that album 2 discs. Bionic was just a complete musical mess. And her fifth offering Lotus is another album which seems unsure of what it wants to be, from an artist who seems to believe she's sure of her sound, but couldn't be any less sure of it. Lotus is an album from an artist who projects as though she has her sound together, but is the one woman in pop struggling the most with it. Whilst Christina's peers and contemporaries have managed to find their sound and target audiences, Christina continues to be on a voyage with hers. Lotus sees Christina's compass needle spinning all over the place and rarely hitting you with a solid song.

Album opener and album highlight "Lotus intro" is one of the best tracks on the album, but also one of the most misleading. Not just because it is in fact a full length track and not a minute and a half intro as the name would have you imply. But because it signals a new direction from Christina, only to be followed up on with a bunch of songs which sound forgettable, outdated and which other artists have done better.

The one genre which Christina ran from like a ho from a pimp whose payment is due is where Christina's shines on this album - Pop. "Red hot kinda love" is fun, bubbly and catchy, with Christina running complete circles around it vocally. Album highlight "Let there be love" sounds like everything else on the radio, but what sets it apart are the VOCALS. A completely unrestrained vocal turn from Christina make this a diva club anthem of proportions we've not heard since the 90's. Mariah wishes she still had the vocal chops to do this shit. "Circles" is just about a decent song. The verses are easy breezy and follow a smiliar tone to Cheryl Cole's "Under the sun" (both of which share the same producer). It's really catchy and sing-a-longy, but then the verses dive into what I can only describe as The Joker and Harley Quinn having a renegade sex party at a fair ground carousel. Christina stank attitude has always been a problem and this song is chock full of it - with Christina calling out her haters and dropping f-bombs. But despite these short comings, "Circles" still just about falls the right side of decent. I'm rather baffled as to how the f-bombs were left in this song, whilst "Your body" retains its 'Love' on the hook as opposed to 'F**k'.

Elsewhere on this album however, Christina falters. "Army of me" is dubbed by Chunktina herself as being "Fighter 2.0", but the gay karaoke mess of a song doesn't come close to the hotness of her Stripped predecessor. Christina's collaboration with Cee-Lo feels like a weaker version of "Red hot kinda love", and frankly that song was so good and tapped into all the 70's funk this album needed that "Make the world" move is rendered redundant. The album's big ballad "Blank page" is about as bland as...a blank page. "Light up the sky" has a song tucked away within it somewhere, but muddy production which bleeds everything into a muffled drone makes it difficult to find. And "Cease fire" and "Best of me" follow suit, making it a hat trick of songs of Christina singing to the beat of the same drums struck at different tempos, courtesy of the albums' main contributor Alex da Kid. Muffled military drum lines with screaming over them. It's like Baghdad through a speakerphone.

Vocally Christina sounds strong, but doesn't offer up as much vocal versatility as she did on previous albums. Christina doesn't flutter as she did on Back to basics' "Without you". Give you the soul she gave on "Understand". Vocally seduce you as she did on Bionic's "Desnudate" or coolly croon as she did on "Glam". She tends to stay within the same vocal range on most of the albums songs, which is safe and incredibly boring for a vocalist who can do so much more. Lotus showcases that Christina can sing for those who hadn't heard her scream on numerous occasions over the past decade. But do not exhibit all of the other things she can do with her voice other than belt. And given that the whole world knows she can sing, it's not all that impressive any more. It's like hearing Mariah do the whistle register. It was amazing on "Vision of love" when we heard it for the first time. It was BOWSS like on "Emotion". But by "Butterfly" it was just a novelty. I feel the same about Christina's voice. Yes she can belt, hold notes and jump around an octave scale better than most, but...that's it. It's only when you jump back and listen to her earlier material that you realize Christina had a better handle on her vocals and was able to run circles around her songs much more effortlessly than she does here. You can hear the effort Christina is putting into most of the songs on this album, where as before Christina walked her shit through parks. Maybe it's because she's getting older. Perhaps she felt she had more to prove back then. Or perhaps it's because home girl is packing extra junk in the trunk, the back seat and the glove box. Bot Lotus for me isn't the best showcase of Christina's vocal dexterity.

Whilst Britney doesn't have Christina's pipes and some may question how much of Britney's artistry is down to her or being surrounded by a team who are able to steer it for her, the one thing she continues to have over Christina Aguilera is consistency and an A&R who always seems to pick the right producers and the right songs. Alex Da Kid takes the lion's share of this album, but his sound is so forgettable and nowhere near as self contained as the other songs helmed by other contributors. It feels as though everybody else was on the same page with the album, but then Alex decided to go off on a tangent. It would have been nice to have brought Tricky Stewart back into the mix as what he served up for Bionic was solid, the likes of which would have complimented Max Martin's works nicely. Rodney Jerkins would have been a nice fit too and is a producer I've long wanted Christina to work with, as he always pulls it out of the bag for bitches who can sang. And as much of a mess as his sound is right now, he is versatile, his productions are well crafted and he tailors his work to those he works with. Christina has always said she likes to avoid working with the usual suspects, but given she booked studio time with Max Martin, she may as well have just called up Dr. Luke, Stargate, Rodney Jerkins and Bangladesh any way. Britney's Femme fatale was no masterpiece, but the songs flowed well, its sound was consistent and it had it's fare share of potential singles.

As shitty an album as Bionic was, it did feature a couple of great stand out songs. The problem was that it was bogged down by a track listing which was too over long and badly put together with no clear focus. Lotus lacks a true focus, but none the less has more of one than Bionic did. The problem here is that there are even fewer stand out songs. There's nothing as ridiculously trashy and hood banger worthy as "Woohoo". Nothing has trippy as "Elastic love". Nothing as 80's camp as "Glam". Nothing as sexy and exotic as "Desnudate" and nothing as stunning as "You lost me". The album as a whole feels forgettable and lacks the defining factor that Christina's albums have had in the past. Whether those factors were an album being too over ambitious or bombing terribly. Stripped was overlong and featured every genre under the sun and the moons of Pluto. But the tenacity of Christina attempting such a thing for a sophomore album and going against the grain of what many expected from her at that point was admirable. As much as I couldn't stand Bionic, I kinda got what Christina was trying to do with it. But with Lotus I can't latch onto what Christina was trying to achieve sonically here.

The only wholly positive noteworthy aspect of this album is her uniting with Max Martin. The one man she avoided like the plague whilst her Mouseketeer buddies were herded into a studio with him during Jive's golden era of pop in the early noughties. For Christina to work with him an entire decade later is somewhat momentous, as it's a union that many expected to happen years ago, begging the question I wonder how things would have gone had they worked together back then?. Max Martin's contributions are the best of the bunch by a mile. "Your body" is a slow burner. But "Let there be love" is an insta-like. It would have made the better more immediate hit single than "Your body", yet it's understandable why RCA didn't go with it. As it is essentially of the same thread of what every female in pop has done and is doing. But given "Your body"'s chart performance and Lotus' first week sales, I'd imagine it is being considered for a single now to salvage the wreckage. It's the only song on the album which could be a potential hit, because f**k all else on the album could do much of anything.
Lotus by all accounts should have just been a solid pop record. But in a bid to show she's different, she littered it with one too many genres, a bunch of songs where the sincerity of her lyrics and vocals come off as insincere because Christina never sounds genuine enough on them. Lotus isn't a comeback. It's a come down. The whole thing feels far too over thought and moments on which Christina truly lets go and shines are too few and too bogged down by the moments where Christina over thinks, over sings and tries too hard to prove whatever it is she is trying to prove. Christina needs to step her game up in a big way.

RATING: 3 / 10

Album highlights:
■ Lotus
■ Red hot kinda love
■ Your body
■ Let there be love ★ J's fave
■ Circles


  1. This album was bad, I usually agree with your album highlights, but the only song I like that you listed is Lotus. Circles sounds juvenile and like something that would be used in an angsty teen drama. Let there be love is derivative, it's too late for these club tracks, the lights are off and the crowd is leaving, Bitch bye! Red hot kinda of love is just okay, I don't see anything special about it. Conclusion: Christina, keep your ass planted in that swerving voice chair because that's only shred of relevancy you have now.

  2. Like Mel, I usually agree with your favorite song choices; but this WHOLE album was a wreck, the intro was the only redeeming quality to it.

    Let's just come out with it and give it a 1/10 because it deserves it.

    By the way, believe it or not, shit flopped even harder on the charts and sales than Bionic. Bitch ain't relevant anywhere in the music scene right now but The Voice; which is ironic because bitch don't have one anymore.

    1. I'm surprised you didn't mention how much her voice has deteriorated J, her belts were so coarse on Sing For Me. I get that the song was supposed to be a fuck you to the critics, but it just reaffirmed what everyone thinks about her vocal styling and how she will never improve her technique.

  3. I'm sorry. I just can't join in on this gangbang full of hate when this puella just dropped "Lotus Intro" on me like Sandy in Jersey, performed it live and told me why my body was ready.

    For "Lotus Intro" ALONE this Album was worth it.

    The best thing I've heard out of America this year.

    1. That's an over exaggeration.

      Half that shit is just her talking in that smoker voice of hers like she's had her mouth over an exhaust pipe.

    2. Ain't nothing unique either.

      Imogen Heap puts out albums full of songs like that.

      Lotus could have done with more songs in that theme though.

    3. I've listened to some Imogen Heap. She tries.

    4. I'm sorry. I just can't read your post without laughing. You have terrible taste in music and you're leaking again...

    5. Your mother has a terrible taste in her pu$$y and once she gives it a break from the train tracks, if you look closely enough you'll be able to see what could have been your little brother or sister leaking from it.

      Do-Si-Do Bish

  4. As a fan of hers, this album was very disappointing. The woman is talented and can sing circles around most people in pop...we all know that, but what good does any of that do when she can't be bothered to put out something that compliments her talent. Wasted Potential.

  5. Just a Fool is an amazing song!
    Let There Be Love, Your Body and Blank Page are also very good songs.
    Make The World Move is ok...
    The other songs are not that great... But we've been waiting for this album. Enjoy what you like.


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