Monday, 14 January 2013

The Lost Song on 'Bionic'

I blame a lack of consistency and over experimentation for the disappointment that was Christina Aguilera's fourth studio album Bionic.  I felt the album was trying to be three albums at once, which wasn't helped by the poor track listing that split the album into strict sections of electro/dance and ballads.  The clash of genres and arguably poor production resulted in a chaotic mess, which may have worked if the album's material had indeed been used towards three separate recordings. (Furthermore, it seems ironic that 'Birds of Prey' - probably the most interesting of the electro tracks, features only on the deluxe edition of Bionic - the standard version of the album could have benefitted from this song being on the track list, rather than appearing on another disc as a bonus track.)

Among bizarre songs like 'I Hate Boys' and 'Vanity', the latter of which include lyrics of "I'm not cocky, I just love myself, bitch!", Bionic has a true moment of strength in the form of 'I Am'. The track's beauty lies in its honest lyrics, that combined with Aguilera's refreshingly pared down (yet still powerful) vocal, delivers lines such as "Take me, free me, see through to the core of me" with an emotional vulnerability that is mostly absent from the rest of Bionic. Structurally, the verses are perhaps the most poignant moments in the track, featuring lines like "I am temperamental and / I have imperfections / I am emotional" which are direct and effective in conveying the meaning of the song. It's lyrics like these, along with subtle, yet beautiful instrumentation which gives 'I Am' a genuine passion and honesty that I haven't seen so evidently in Aguilera's music since 2002's Stripped.