Release Date: Jun 15, 2018
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop, Vocal, Pop/Rock
Xtina is, hands down, one of the greatest vocalists of her generation. And she has spent the better part of two decades figuring out what exactly to do with that voice. There was the bubblegum of her self-titled 1999 debut and her transition into R&B-infused, low-rise jean'd adulthood. Then came concepts: old school sound of 2006's Back to Basics and the electro-futurism of 2010's Bionic.
It's extremely easy to take a talent like Christina Aguilera's for granted in today's macro-turned-micro music industry gauntlet. Despite possessing one of the greatest voices the planet has ever been privy to witness, the Grammy-attracting platinum megastar has been largely absent from the rat race for female idol dominance. For much of the decade, she’s opted eto bolster her celebrity through the infinite reach of hit show The Voice and focus on motherhood.
Liberation arrives in 2018, six years after Lotus, by far the longest stretch of time between Christina Aguilera albums. During that hiatus Aguilera wasn't exactly in hibernation but she wasn't prominent, taking a couple of seasons off from the televised singing competition The Voice to raise a child and spending as much time onscreen as she did on-stage when she re-emerged in the middle of the 2010s. Aguilera may have been omnipresent in showbiz but she was largely absent from the pop charts.
The 2010s have been an uncertain decade for Christina Aguilera. The first ten years of her career saw her shapeshift from Delia's catalog realness to her provocative "Xtina" persona to drama-club queen bee and back. But she kicked off the current decade by covering Marilyn Monroe and reinterpreting Marilyn Manson for Burlesque, one of the campiest pop-star vehicles this side of Glitter.
Subscribe via iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS The Lowdown: Going into Christina Aguilera's long-awaited eighth studio album, Liberation, the real question wasn't whether or not she could serve up another hit but rather where she would fit into the current pop music landscape. But Liberation finds Aguilera at her absolute diva best, reclaiming a well-deserved spot in the limelight. The Good: The Kanye West-produced and Jackson 5-sampling "Maria" is lyrically by far one of the most introspective and eye-opening moments on the album.
It lacks the dazzling ambition of her glory days, but album eight makes Aguilera feel relevant again Though she probably retains pop superstar status, Christina Aguilera’s only significant hits during the last decade have been collaborations and features: ‘Moves Like Jagger’ with Maroon 5, ‘Say Something’ with A Great Big World, ‘Feel This Moment’ with Pitbull. From 2011 to 2016, she was stuck “coaching” on the US version of The Voice, which seems to explain why this album is named ‘Liberation’. “Don’t try to tell me I’m crazy, it’s good pay, but it’s slavery,” she sings pretty questionably on a pointedly-titled track called ‘Sick Of Sittin”.
Liberation as a theme has frequently figured into the albums of female pop singers recently freed from the shackles of their (typically male) handlers. But the latest artist to employ emancipation as a pop narrative seemingly already took control of her career more than a decade and a half ago, when she tossed on a pair of assless chaps and anointed herself with the porn-grade moniker Xtina. Ironically, it was Christina Aguilera's creative autonomy—which later resulted in the two-disc concept album Back to Basics, followed by an innovative but uneven foray into electro-pop, Bionic—that likely derailed her career and prompted her to release the catchy but safe Lotus in 2012.