It’s usually a good rule of thumb that if one of your favorite artists has a flop album, it’s unlikely that the work is of significantly less quality than all of their other (successful) albums. Anything can lead to a flop: bad timing, bad press, bad marketing, or a combination of all three.
It’s in this spirit that I offer Christina Aguilera’s “Bionic.” The commercial failure of this album was the precursor to Christina’s Super Bowl flub, divorce, weight gain, alcoholism rumors, and mug shot, so can you can hear where it all began.
I’m sorry, but I just love this trashy, poorly-conceived, ill-timed, derivative, dated masterpiece. From the over-the-top cover art to the egotistical lyrics (the album’s closing track is titled “Vanity”), this album brought out of all Christina’s worst tendencies, including self-indulgent vocal arrangements and an uncanny knack for making a potentially catchy song complex and difficult for the listener. But I think the album is actually better than her previous effort Back to Basics, which suffered from all of the exact same problems, except it was also a 1940’s-style concept album which basically just added an additional level of un-fun.
You owe it to Xtina to give this one another listen — or more likely, a first listen. My favorite tracks are “Glam,” a sparse but masterfully sung Gaga ripoff, “Woohoo,” the raunchy Nicki Minaj collaboration that has Britney’s seal of approval and served as the album’s 2nd single, and “You Lost Me,” the album’s BoB (Big ol’ Ballad) and 3rd single.
Check out a live performance of “You Lost Me” on Letterman below. The last phrase when Christina waits a split-second after the final beat to do the ornament on “me” — well, she’s still miles better than almost everyone else out there, flop or not. In a time when the pop market is completely saturated with moderately talented females, Xtina still stands above.