Christina Aguilera - Liberation
On her eight studio album and first in six years Christina Aguilera seems to be making that statement that she isn't going to be anyone's puppet anymore. Aguilera is someone who has run the gamete of pop stardom, from teen queen sensation to dirty warehouse dive and almost everywhere inbetween. Her most recent gig however on the Voice has been one of her most successful scoring a number one hit with co-host Adam Levine and Maroon 5's ("Moves Like Jagger"). She has since left The Voice and this record feels like a big "F U" to any kind of establishment. Christina embraces modern slick sounds at times on this album, which really pay off, but more than anything you get a real sense of artistic freedom on this album. There are long intros, extended outros and interludes that are less than a minute in length sprinkled throughout the record really leaving the listener with a ton of surprises. "Fall in LIne" is this slow burner of a track featuring Demi Lovato, but the intro features young girls saying who they want to be when they grow up and proclaiming their power. They way Aguilera bounces from genre to genre like the dancehall inspired "Right Moves" featuring Keida and Shenseea is really quite impressive here. She never feels like she is lifting or trying to copy something for a quick buck. She is trying to pull something unique from theses songs and lending her obviously incredible vocal to some really interesting stuff.
The Goldlink featured track "Like I Do" is one of the best on the album with it's trippy electronics and trap drums. She tries to do something similar on "Deserve" but the lyrical content: "Sometimes I just don't think I deserve ya, So I say some fucked up shit just to hurt ya" in an exploration of a relationship that is searching to find what we actually deserve. "Twice" is the one time she falls back into her slow jam diva position, but the song doesn't really fit with the wild experimentation that is the majority of this record. The interludes show that she wants this record to really work together, to have peaks and valleys being a full journey rather than individual tracks. Just in case you thought we were done talking about Kanye West for 2018, well he produced "Accelerate" with TY Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz. It's an odd track, but makes a hell of a lot more sense if you've heard all his other releases from this summer. "Masochist" is a late slow burning stunner with a stellar beat even if the lyrics are bit cringe. This record feels like a big step in the right direction, and even though everyhting is not completely dialed in Christina has proved that she still has got it all these years later. Don't count Xtina out just yet.
7.9 out of 10