Christina Aguilera returns to a sense of reality on Lotus, the first album she’s released since her divorce as well as the first since her last album, 2010’s Bionic. She’s well aware of the flop-status of that record judging by the introduction Lotus Intro, which probably does double-duty as she compares herself to a lotus flower rising and coming back to life. Personally or professionally? Probably both.
The first noticeable change in Christina in this album is that she’s dropped the synth-pop sound that made Bionic the dud it was. While synth-pop is still in, that album reeked of Christina unsuitably following a trend that wasn’t meant for her using sex-slathered songs to do it with. With Lotus, she has confidence in what she’s singing that fit both her style and today’s pop music scene. Tracks like Your Body and Let There Be Love are both thumping dance-pop numbers that show Christina off while also giving her her best material in years. Meanwhile, she offers several ballads as well including Blank Page, which works because it is Christina opening up honestly and admitting her own faults in the failure of her relationship.
While there are some awkward sounding moments on the album, including Red Hot Kinda Love, which sounds more Fergie than Christina, she does bring in some style and edge to the album. Make The World Move features The Voice co-star Cee Lo Green and offers the right kind of flare but could use more Cee Lo to make it more slick. Army Of Me is essentially an updated version of her hit Fighter with the chorus: “One of me is wiser/One of me is stronger/One of me’s a fighter,” while she shows her mischievous DFWM side on Circles: “Spin around in circles on my middle middle finger.”
Christina’s voice gets tiring before the album ends, partly because while she doesn’t overdo it with her vocal runs the way she tends to do with live performances, there’s still a lot to take in. It’s also evident that her voice has been damaged in recent years as she’s not as clear and crisp as she was when she first emerged, suggesting that maybe she could do us and herself a favour and cut back just a bit. Lotus is surprisingly a step in the right direction for Christina considering some of the missteps she’s taken recently both with her music and public image. It’s not exceptional but there are songs on here that can rival even those from Stripped.
1. Lotus Intro
2. Army Of Me
3. Red Hot Kinda Love
4. Make The World Move [featuring Cee Lo Green]
5. Your Body
6. Let There Be Love
7. Sing For Me
8. Blank Page
9. Cease Fire
10. Around The World
12. Best Of Me
13. Just A Fool [with Blake Shelton]