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A new style for Christina
Back To Basics - Christina Aguilera
Member Name: Dooyaa
Back To Basics - Christina Aguilera
Advantages: Great voice, something different
Disadvantages: Overblown, cheesy in places
Christina has decided to go 'back to basics' which means making a throwback album which she says has been inspired by '20s 30s and 40s blues jazz and soul'. It doesnt sound like the type of thing that would work right now but then her last album was dramatically different from her first, she seems to thrive on taking risks these days. Or someone cynical might say this is a really good way to prove what an 'artist' she is against Britney and the like.
It consists of two CDs, the first contains collaborations between Christina and several big name producers who are 'in' at the minute, like DJ premier and Mark Ronson.
CD goes something like this:
1. Intro (back to basics)
One of those pointless intros that Christina loves so much. 'So here I stand today, in tribute I do pay, to those before me who laid it down and paved the way' she sings, this is slightly rnb with a cool beat but its not even a real song really, bit pointless.
2. Makes me wanna pray
This is a cool one, with some gospel singing and more of christina's trademark yelpy vocals in a song that builds up and up and up until she's screaming her lungs out, which I love!
3. Back in the day
Like a mission statement for the whole album, this song reinforces the fact that christina is in fact going 'back in the day' and this references all kinds of old singers such as etta james, billie holiday and aretha franklin. The chorus is catchy but the constant singer references are dull and the lyrics are boring, WE GET IT CHRISTINA, BACK TO BASICS AND ALL THAT.
4. Aint no other man
The first single off the album and a great choice. This is different to just about everything out right now with its horn intro and retro samples, produced by hip hop producer dj premier, this is a cool modern track with an old school edge to it, and as usual christina sings her little heart out in the catchiest song ive heard for ages.
This has a fairly strange chorus with an old sample, but the verses are fairly straighforward mid tempo pop with nothing much to them. This is another track seemingly written for her husband, as LOADS of the songs on here are.
6. Slow down baby
Another producer of the moment, Mark Ronson, produces this track which is actually one of my favourites, although its not really good enough to be a single. It has a cool singalong chorus with a great tune to it.
7. Oh mother
Best song by MILES on cd 1, this picks up where 'I'm ok' left off, thanking her mother for getting her out of abuse from her father as a child. Christina is at her best when she is singing her most personal songs and this is another great one. but it still manages to be a good pop ballad, nowhere near as depressing and I'm Ok.
And then its downhill from there....
Stands for For U Scott Storch (or something nastier if you believe certain people) the writer who co wrote most of her last album. This starts off ok, a bit slow but then it starts to DRAG and it just seems petty to put in an interlude to basically say 'haha I didnt need you' and it jars the whole album.
9. On our way
A bit dull, even though the pretty chorus is quite nice and pleasant sounding. Christina seems to have completeyl forgotten about back to basics at this point as this sounds like it could have been on her last album.
10. Without you
There is nothing wrong with this song. Its perfectly fine. But its forgettable filler with sappy lyrics and adds nothing except making this album too long.
11. Still dirrty
Now this is better. Ok so referencing your own songs is a rubbish thing to do but at least this jaunty poppy song is a lot more fun than the last few. Christina is out to prove that even though she is far more classy now than she used to be, she's still DIRRTY with two rs not one remember.
12. Here to stay
More evidence of her inflated ego, this is another song about how strong she is and noone can bring her down!
13. Thank you
This makes me want to throw up. It starts off ok with some cool snippets of genie in a bottle but then you realise this is a bloody outro, why she cant leave them out and put her album on one cd i do not know. I HATE THEM. Not only that, it breaks the one rule of outros...be short. This is one of the longest things on ehre and even though it is supposed to be dedicated to her fans saying how she loves them, the WHOLE thing is just people ringing up some christina hotline and talking about how much THEY love HER and how inspiring she is. BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
CD 2 is the Cd she made with Linda Perry, and promises more circus influenced, interesting tracks. Its shorter too, which must be good.
1. Enter the circus
Unusually for an intro, I love this, its almost scary with its big circus sound and is really original! No christina singing, though, just scary shouting!
This is great, it sounds like it could have been in Moulin Rouge or something like that, really flashy and showy but a little bit dark still, this is another intro type thing, ut again I love it?
Its a shame that the first real homage to the 20s and 30s that Christina has tried to do with this album is this A COMPLETE SHAMELESS RIPOFF of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by the Andrew sisters. PLAGIARISM aside this is fun fun fun with pointless cheeky lyrics, is happy and great to dance to, and the 'chant' at the beginning is a brilliant touch.
4. Nasty naughty boy
Sexy sounding, almost like its being sung in a burlesque bar (you can imagine all the men in suits and the smoke!) this is a very different sexy to 'dirrty' however, this is a very old show diva type of song, with exceptionally naughty lyrics.
What I love most about this is its crackly sounding vocals, like its an old vinyl record almost. This is the MOST old fashioned sounding song on the album and while it is less modern and doesnt have the same instant big chorus as the others, its still very catchy and really good in my opinion.
I cant make my mind up about this one. Sometimes I listen to it and I think that its a beautiful, heartfelt ballad with amazing powerful singing. Other times I listen to it and think its a sappy ballad with so much echo when she sings that her voice sounds completely fake, for supposedly 'live' music its obviosuly been produced to within an inch of its life. Still, as the second single it cant be that bad I suppose. But I cannot decide.
7. Mercy on me
One of my favourites, but if you dont like her yelpy shouty power vocals steer clear (in fact dont buy this CD!) but she sounds absolutely amazing on this which has hints of gospel, and great lyrics saying 'have mercy on my soul, for I have walked a sinful road' which is a bit better than 'sweet sugar candyman'.
8. Save me from myself
This is so odd in that it doesnt go with anything else on here, but its very Linda Perry and could maybe have been on the last album, except that this is a happy song. For once there is very little warbling, and no power singing at all, just a quiet, sweet acoustic song about her husband. Very nice.
9. The Right man
OH NO just when this second CD was about to get off with not having any bad tracks, this one comes on and wrecks everything. What a way to finish! This is about her wedding and her relationship with her father, but it just seems like a bad show tune, from the church sound to the dull chorus. Awful.
CD 1 isnt really very different, save for a few standout tracks its classic christina yelpy rnb and ballads, with a few cool samples thrown in to improve things a bit. CD 2 however is simply brilliant. Its original, artistic, energetic and fun, but what i love about Christina is how her lyrics really mean something, and she really is dedicated to being in control of her music and making something good, and she is a great singer, even if she goes over the top sometimes. The thing I dont love about her is how much she loves herself! All through this album you can hear how great she clearly thinks she is. I reckon they could have got rid of about 7 songs and made an absolutely amazing album, but the big negative with this is how long it drags on for. 2 CDs is waaay too much but I do like the way the more mainstream stuff is on one and then the linda perry stuff on another, because they are two very different sounds.
I think this is good value for money, mainly because you get so much, and for the most part its very high quality.
Summary: A good album but not her best