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One of the Most Powerful Albums of 2006 - Pick This Disk Up
Back To Basics - Christina Aguilera
Member Name: Under Rug Swept.
Back To Basics - Christina Aguilera
Advantages: The captivating, powerful voice of Christina enthralls you. This CD is wonderfully different.
Disadvantages: One too many similar power ballads?
I noticed this album did not have any DooYoo reviews, so I just had to write one to tell you how wondrous this record really is.
So, the fabulous Miss Aguilera returns this year with her album, "Back to Basics". This album is heavily jazz influenced and "XTina" is trying to revive the old-school sound and get the modern world back into it. Did she succeed? She certainly did.
This album consists of 2 CDs - the first being "Modern" and the second "Jazz". The truth is, the modern CD isn't even all that modern - a jazz influence is still extremely heavy on all the tracks save one or two. Nevertheless, let's begin with my review of CD1.
The intro is basically just an intro, nothing spectacular. It's a kind of short song ryhme, quite nice to the ears. But let's move onto track 2 (but actual song 1) "Makes Me Wanna Pray".
This is an absolutely fantastic way to kick off the new album. Christina shows off possibly the best voice in the world in this powerful song which sounds very Aretha Franklin, I must say. You'll find yourself jumping up and throwing your hands up to this track. And then sitting back down bored for track 3, "Back In the Day".
Back In the Day is one of the most r'n'b tracks on the album, but still with an old school jazz feel. Christina sounds good (of course) but this song doesn't have too much going for it. After the glorious previous track, you'll be hoping this mundane song doesn't last for long. The chorus is midlly catchy, but there really is nothing special about this track and certainly shouldn't have been track 3 on the album. I don't know whether this is Christina's awful attempt to be gangsta, but whatever it was, it did not work.
Track 4 is the lead single from the album, "Ain't No Other Man". This song is extremely jazz, hardly modern at all, and I don't really understand why it is on this CD. This song is extremely infectious and catchy, and a highlight of this CD. The only complaint I have about this song is that bloody relentless trumpet noise. It must sound about 100 times throughout the track, and it gives you a terrible headache. If you've never noticed it before, then listen out for it and you'll be grabbing the paracetomol halfway through the song. Nevertheless, if you can block that trumpet from your head, a fantastic track.
"I may do things you don't understand". This line was stuck in my head for a long time. This is one of my favourite songs on the album, and I'm sure it will be one of your favourite songs too. It completely absorbs you - going from a smooth poppy verse to a powerful smooth chorus. Fabulous. The album is starting to look up a lot - you won't even remember that disastrous "Back In the Day".
Now comes my favourite track on the whole 2 CDs - "Slow Down Baby". This seems to be a mix of everything - r'n'b, soul, pop, jazz, hip-hop - and the result is absolutely astounding. You must listen to this song. It's one of Christina's best vocally and musically, and it is a very powerful song. This must be released as a single. I have to say, I was totally taken aback by this song and it is one of my favourite tracks of the year.
"Oh Mother", track 7, is a heartfelt tribute to Christina's mother about the heartache and abuse they both suffered at the hands of her father in Aguilera's early years. Christina sounds great, and this song will go straight to your heart. "Oh Mother, we're stronger, for all of the tears you have shed. Oh Mother, don't look back, 'cos he'll never heart us again".
Track 8, F.U.S.S. (F*** U Scott Storch) is really quite stupid. It's an immature jibe against Scott Storch, who refused to work with Christina on this album. Thankfully, the track is not long at just over two minutes. Immature and unnecessary as it is, I must say it is rather tastefully done and the backing music is actually quite nice and should have been used for better purposes. But Christina, must you really plonk your hate messages in the middle of a great CD?
On Our Way, track 9, is quite catchy. It doesn't particularly stand out, though, apart from Christina's excellent vocals. A nice track, worthy of a place on the album, but it doesn't stand out.
I don't really have an opinion on track 10, Without You. Sometimes I listen to it and think it is quite a weak track - other times I think it's a nice mellow tune. So, you'll have to listen to yourself. The song sounds strangely familiar and unoriginal to me, though, which really shows on such an original and different CD.
Christina shows that she still lives up to her monika "XTina" on track 11, "Still Dirrty", the follow-up to her huge controversial dance smash, "Dirrty". I cringed when I heard this song was on the album - I usually think sequel songs are quite silly. This, however, is one of the best tracks on the CD! It is very catchy and does indeed show that Christina still has that "freak" in her. It sounds a bit strange after just listening to the previous track about a girl who couldn't possibly imagine the world without her man. Nevertheless, this is one of the best tracks on the album. It reminds me a lot of "Can't Hold Us Down" (which was my favourite track on her previous album Stripped).
"Here To Stay" continues the message of Still Dirrty - that Christina is no different and is going to be around for a long time. I love this track, it's very catchy, but it sounds like a mix of the rest of the tracks all put together and I don't think that really works on the album as a whole.
Christina dedicates a song to her fans on this CD, track 13 "Thank you". It's quite nice, with recorded message from fans saying how much they love Aguilera, but the chorus is very weak and after a while the messages get a bit boring. I can't see people listening to this track more than a few times, but nevertheless it's a nice way to end the first CD and to thank her dedicated fans.
Now we move onto CD2 - "Jazz".
This CD also has another intro - "Enter the Circus". I think this is utterly terrifying. It sounds like something from a circus of hell with people being burned alive in the middle of chanting spectators. A little creepy to me, but I suppose it's creative...
CD2 really kicks off with "Welcome". Christina sounds really amazing as usual, and the chorus kind of reminds me of Beautiful. This is one of the lesser Jazzy songs on the CD, and wouldn't have been out of place on the first CD. Not terribly unlike "Makes Me Wanna Pray". A very powerful song and a great way to hook you in. The only thing I don't like is that eerie, creepy circus tune coming back in at the end of the track.
"Tarzan and Jane swingin' on the vine". Track 3, Candyman is when you know this CD is real jazz. Sounds like something right out of the early 20th century and Christina really pulls it off. It sounds like something the children would love and wouldn't be out of place on a Disney movie. But you'll want to cover the kids ears when you realized what the lyrics say, including talk about Christina having her spot hit, and her cherry popped. You'd have never guessed its so lewd at the start. Fantastically jaunty, nonetheless.
Track 4, Nasty Naughty Boy, continues the raunchy theme. This sounds like something right out of a 1920s movie about strippers and guns. Christina sounds wonderfully husky and this is her at her sexiest. A worthy track.
I Got Trouble sounds like something recorded from a 1930s wireless, with its distant sound, and I have to say it has quite a positive effect. The chorus is catchy, Christina sounds great and overall this is a really nice track.
The second single from Back to Basics, is this track 6 on CD2, "Hurt". This song is absolutely formidable. This is Christina stretching her vocal ability to her best against lovely piano and violins and frankly, the results is amazing. Whether this will appeal to the masses, I don't know, but it is certainly one of the best tracks on the whole album. The chorus really does blow you away, and Christina's vocals punch you in the face.
Starting off with the organ, moving swiftly into piano and drums, "Mercy On Me" starts off great. The chorus is not too unlike the previous track's, but it ends in a very catchy way. I like this song a lot, it's very powerful and the instruments used sound great together.
Track 8, "Save Me From Myself", is one of the best and most simple tracks on Back to Basics. Christina sounds very different, less powerful, more whisper-y and sultry with just the gentle strumming of the guitar behind her for most of the track. This is a heartfelt track, and its subtlety will totally captivate you. This track really stands out, I have never heard anything like this before. Bravo, Christina.
"The Right Man", track 9, the last track on this short second disk, is mindblowing in the same way as "Hurt". The vocals smack you in the face again and the music is powerful and captivating. The only problem is, by this point, you can't help but feel that Christina has done one too many similar powerful ballads, as wondrous as they are.
Overall, this record is simply fantastic and it needs to be listened to by everybody - it is one of those albums with the rare ability to appeal to everyone. The album is diverse and different from most disks on the shelves nowadays, a fantastic result of a heartfelt experiment by Christina. She totally pulled it off and has brought the world to be aware of the legends from yesterday. Christina remains one of the most vocally talented people on earth, and she has hit the nail on the head with this album. Well done, Miss Aguilera.
Summary: Fabulous - buy this CD. Christina Aguilera really is one of the most talented artists on earth.