Bionic begins rather uninvitingly with its melody-reluctant title track, mumbling her gameplan in trite gansta stylee. It's is really an electronic disco number glorified as something avant garde, with the chrome-plated 'are you ready to go' bridge peaks being so fleeting and high it's just a pity more couldn't have been built around these exhilirating moments of electro-voltage. There is something divisive about impregnable boasting, especially when the chorus her bloodthirsty critics are waiting to pounce on is more interested in sounding heavier, noisier and confrontational. It grows on you, and I prefer it vastly to Ain't No Other Man.
Venomously lubricated, Not Myself Tonight is a tornado of a vocal showcase for Christina, as if a natural disaster is ensuing and she is panicking to get all her range crammed into her song as a metaphorical suitcase. Self-coaching herself to 'get crazy', 'kiss boys and girls' and 'not give a fuck', her power-steering throat power manages to dominate some pretty rapid swervings: someonecallthadoctorcosathinkalostmamind is hilariously akward 90s chatshow speak that almost threatens to give Ricki Lake a job again. The song straps you in safely and gets you from A to B within 2 minutes 18 seconds - the rest is merely for the cool down. 'Yeah, I needed that' is more solo talk getting herself in the mood - who else is there to keep up with her? Her trigger-happy verses and bridge build speed for the turtle-head chorus - a lot of effort goes to getting it out, if at all (it sounds like the girl is gonna need to call the doctor for a lot of toilet roll if that 'movement' eventually does arrive). She goes full-pelt for well over a minute and the brute force of the skidmarking middle-8 is indicated when a gang of faceless black men chant '1, 2, 3, fo' before a skyward 'not toni-i-i-i-i-i-ight' cackles with sobering rage or fury or else simply mosochistic euphoria. Whatever attitude is being conveyed (I see it as one big glossy lick of the ultimate in-the-club facade that drag queens must dream of exuding), an intense series of accelerations and you'll-wanna-hear-this moments stand in the way of an actual song, but that's its stroke of genius. Christina on the rampage for a melody is an engaging quest, the experience of a highly skilled vocalist grappling to find herself a hit - it shouldn't be like this, and I can relate. This is her off-the-pedastal performance as the ultimate alpha bitch trying to impress her claque of cringey gays who'd z-snap Susan Boyle stepping out a changing room in BHS. I meekishly include myself as one of them. Not really.
Healthy independent sluts know to get their 5-a-day helpings of fruit and vadge. Serving her fanny with no plate is just fucking rude, and presumably she'll be asking the guy to bring his own 'salad cream' as well, ha. The signified single-entedre vadge-tastic titsilation of Whoohoo, ha! momentarily hesitates to flirt with her vague concept of furry-bits futurism as is necessary, ha. Instead, tastefully vulgar playground chants like typsy hookers jeering for business overtake focus and I love it, ha. Aguilera might be delusional, but she clearly enjoys being trashy as hell, ha. Christina 'dripping like a lolly' has to be down there with Britney's gammon slices hanging out her leotard, ha. 'Licky licky yum yum' probably means she's had a wash at least, but 'bitches keep it clean ha' stinks of fish regardless, ha. Christina's sense of orafice pleasure has no hesitation, which merely exaggerates the hilarity, and her unmistakably innate self-involved flair for inadvertant sarcasm is perfect for this low-brow smut, ha!
Melantronic mechanical riot Elastic Love (rhymed with 'spastic love') sadly is not about a secret Down's Syndromme lover (she is so 'out there' it's only a matter of time, etc) - they beat themselves off in public on their own accord anyway, and I am sure Christina would probably only go and use them for an innovative music video as opposed to real love, which is more of a Jessica Simpson thing to do. The deadpan verses are foreplay for the PC blurting chorus, making it one of the bloodiest cuts here. Sharp and useless utterances from start to finish: in other words it's amazing.
Chrsitina's pan-sexual/pan-ethnic quest continues on Desnudate, sort of like vintage J-Lo meets Jai Ho (others have compared it to Britney's Get Naked (I Got A Plan), but when Aguilera sings so it sounds more like the PCD's 'I'll take it'). Flaunting her Latina identity as if it's fading faster than the 90s did for Kelly Llorenna, the vadge-alicious vertiginous chorus catches its breath to appreciate some rather glorious percussion and evaporating synths as the track fades. Rigidly forward, and stubornly faceless - just as well she's into gimp masks.
Sneering self-confidence is clearly no embarassment for Xtina on Prima Donna. She ain't no Hollaback Girl. The undignified record is full of what this track is about: grunting and grimey melodica; except where it samples 90s dance classic I Feel It by The Tamperet ft. Maya - this is my favourite thing about this track, which vocally is the sound of an obese person suffocating you with their arm-pit, and detached from the simmery synths it's just aggressively bad. A Fat Man Scoop soundalike officially calls it a day.
Minimilist Vogue serum and 'get the look bitches' jam Glam sounds like it's screaming for Heidi Montag to cover it. For those enlightened enough to appreciate this, it's definately worth her teeth-gritting interlude before it. 'Ready, steady, now go, bitches'.
When I wake up after sharing a bed all I want to do is run to the bathroom and wash my hayfever eyebags away nevermind slobber my bad breath as I get down and finish where I left off, but Sex For Breakfast is a creamy and welcome change of paste (spelling intentional) that has been unfairly accused of sounding like a Janet Jackson album track. It would have been a standout on Back To Basics, and for one thing Janet would need to be able to sing to have recorded it for a start. This is about vocal intonations, softly layered like crawling under Egyptian cotton sheets. Christina emerging proudly from under the sheets declaring 'all done' is hilariously disgusting - she obviously swallowed, as if she hadn't she would have said 'mind the wet patch' like I do...
Dreamy soul flasher Lift Me Up is a soaring, piano-soaked torch song and well done listeners for getting there. Her faintly-ersatz black woman range is wide least we forget, and not just physically. She doesn't half go on about being a do-it-all Mother, and when she sings big you can imagine she gave birth that way as well. I had no time for these numbers on her previous career-best album Stripped, but they might just turn out to be the very thing that can save this witch-hunted DOA project. When she sings with genuine heart there is simply no need, if you enjoy it, to debate her floptina-age, as personally I am lifting the ballads to safety as they are songs for life. This one isn't as showstopping as You Lost Me, but there is something about the understated yearning vocally and musically that really absorbs me into an eye-blurry state of sensitive silliness. When her untamably wild roars go off like fireworks, I just hope her transition into soaring siren does not go above people's heads or even ears.
The seductively formative I Am strips herself completely of The Voice Within style Disney seepage, where she imbues every note with a sharpness as if they are cut with scissors, singing as if half apologising carefully and stubbornly without reducing herself to begging for any acceptance that isn't on her own terms (coming clean: 'I am a woman' she sings helpfully). The effect is more powerful that way. Vocally she is more spread out on this album, even if somewhat inevitably Aggy will be accused of simply imitating the idiosyncratic artists who have co-written some of these songs with or without her.
Proving she is bigger than her love blender, All I Need is a mid-afternoon after-hours-sounding jazz affair. Vocals spiralling with gentle relinquishing, the worry of love not being happiness tends to linger.
Giving the goosebumps on an album's second half that is obsessed with finding herself, You Lost Me severs the ties of a relationship with the devastated emotional insanity that characteristically veers from tender self-pity to moon-howling grief. To me this already sounds like the best song she is ever likely to record. It defines melancholic human emotions on a much bigger and richer scale than, e.g, the message of the career-defining Beautiful which was force-fed by comparison. Her singular talent flickers so vividly that her va-j-j doesn't get a look in. A genuinely staggering moment that deserves to be huge for her.
Aggressive lesbionic anthem I Hate Boys sounds uncanilly similar to Keeps Gwenning Better during its verses. It boasts the album's easiest and catchiest choruses. Like a bimbo macho Portobello, it's a bitter lesbian's wet dream but so commercially driven I don't think guys will particularly care.
My favourite song of this proudly incoherent album is the violent ego of Vanity, a thigh chaffing disco rhythm that's itchier than crabs. 'Where's my Queens who live supreme? Let me hear you scream' really ought to offend me (I remember booing Beverley Knight for a similar holler during her performance at the Big Gay Out in 2005). However, Christina asserts her 'Queens' as equals, which given the big old erection slapping you in the face here that is her ego, is quite the backhanded back-door compliment. 'I make myself so much wetter' slams her pussy, and 'I'm a bad ass bitch' is what Motherhood in the future is all about. Skanktastic embarassment that is just as atrociously amazing as Vanilla's girls-together incredulity or some of Geri's worst offences.
Celebrating having a vagina (you'd think she was a tranny jumping off the operating table such is her excitement), the Sheryl Crow-going My Girls is dirty dyke disco with girlie-bitch interjections and a predatory manouveur via the effortlessly amazing Peaches ('I like a mullet or two, below the waist').
Bionic is a cause for concern - at the time of writing Christina Aguilera is mere hours from singing live on one of America's highest rated TV shows, the season finale of American Idol. Not Myself Tonight has been released and sank after a brief peak of #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. Stripped also suffered the afront of an underperforming lead single, Dirrty, reaching only #48, but was rescured by the rush-release of Beautiful. Furthermore, the spitting cagefighter imagery could not have been further away from the vampiric-Mariah ingenue of The Voice Within. The point is, this album by way of it's genre-grenade speudo-futuro funk with the occaisional stunner has the space to pull it back for her. I am genuinely captivated by her aloof unlikeable challenge. When the music softens she excells beyond the criticisms festering on messageboards and even blogs alike (which, no irony deliberately intended, we all know doesn't always come to much - it's the Simon Cowell final-most-brutal-criticism pursuit for that fine art that's known as being a cunt, but I digress). With her perspiring sailor-blushing middle-8s, the secondhand homegirl squirt of Glam and the more vampy bissexual vibes of Vanity, the waspy alpha 'more is more' girl bravado never gets tired - her much publicized Xtina persona persued in different manners, all seemingly unleashing her rotten ambition to bloat her albums with whatever her idea of being the best at every kind of sex sounds like. The grown up ballads are by far the best of her career, giving the album some much needed armor, and since she has the pipes, why not, like, use them to prove why she's the biggest stuck up unapologetic bitch who owns the thrown fo' sure?