Monday, 19 November 2012

New Music Monday #32

Put it away, love...

Lotus (Album)
by Christina Aguilera


Open ears, open mind. I promised myself I'd listen to Christina Aguilera's latest album, Lotus, while embodying that mantra. She made it hard. Oh boy... did she make it hard. Over sixteen tracks that range from pop gems to absolute garbage, we're reminded in a most frustrating way that Aguilera has completely lost any sense of who she is as a performing artist.

Let's wind the clocks back for a bit of storytelling. The lazily nicknamed Xtina emerged as the skankalicious rival to the sweet and innocent Britney Spears. She went from dirrty assless chaps and rat-like dreads to Golden Age Hollywood glamour as cray cray Britney got into fights with cars armed only with an umbrella. Christina took home the Grammys and won respect from the industry and her fans with hit after hit and her undeniably amazing voice. People loved her when she was a skanky ho, leaving not a soul shocked when she pashed Madonna at the VMAs and people loved her when she had a bit of class. She had direction and she was incredibly talented. One of the most celebrated vocalists of her generation. Now? She's sort of just there, enjoying her reclaimed fame as a judge on The Voice who's trying a little too hard to compete with the Lady-Katy-Ke$ha's out there.

Lotus, Aguilera's seventh album is all over the place. Different genres, out of place collaborations, heartbreaking ballads, ready for the club anthems; there's too many different Christina's fighting against each other and I'm pretty sure you can figure out which one stands out. The one you want to hear more of. Christina Aguilera, badass vocalist. Duh. As she sings through the Sia penned 'Blank Page,' you have no choice but to appreciate how beautiful her voice is. This is the young woman who blew us all away when she tore the house down with 'It's A Man's World' at the Grammy Awards in 2007. With 'Blank Page' you almost find yourself forgiving the indistinguishable bulk of Lotus; 'Red Hot Kinda Love,' 'Let There Be Love,' 'Cease Fire,' 'Around the World.' I could keep going. Is that even Xtina singing on 'Circles?'


The duets with Voice judges Cee-Lo Green and Blake Shelton aren't necessarily bad, they just seem bizarrely placed amongst the other tracks. Especially the Shelton duet, 'Just A Fool.' Kelly Clarkson must have bailed on Blake in the studio that day. It's a nice showcase for Aguilera's voice, but it's a country-rock ballad. How does it fit in with the other songs? It doesn't. 'Light Up The Sky' is the big torch anthem. It's a great pop track that shows off Aguilera's voice with a memorable, thundering and uplifting chorus. A much more suitable choice for a second single than the already selected 'Just A Fool.' All good things must come to an end and in this case, things get ridiculous with the album's closing track 'Shut Up.' Seriously, after hearing that chorus I really did want you to "shut the f--- up" Christina. Closing with a tacky, annoying number really doesn't do you any favours. 

Open ears, open mind. You're going to need both to survive an encounter with Lotus. The brief glimpses of a bonafide superstar are rewarding, but, like I just said... brief. Here's hoping Christina takes a step back and reflects on just who she really wants to be now. Because, sadly, this album is her worst. Ever. And I can't even name a song other than 'Genie In A Bottle' from her first one. Except for 'What A Girl Wants.' And 'I Turn To You.' That is all.

Matt Bond gives Lotus two Ke$ha's out of five...

Coming True
by Guards

New York City's Guards sure know how to make you forget about crappy music you may or may not have just been listening to. I know nothing about them, but I'm loving this track 'Coming True.' As anthemic and catchy a chorus as you're likely to hear in the indie world these days and that's saying a lot. Guards don't seem like they're trying to force anything or be who they aren't. Just listen to the song. You'll love it.

Matt Bond gives 'Coming True' four Shirley Manson's out of five... 


We Own The Sky
by Neon Wolf


We love Neon Wolf. We love 'We Own The Sky.' It really shouldn't surprise you then that we love the video for their new single 'We Own The Sky.' Young Irish kids living it up in the sunshine and rocking out in the forest at night. I'd say it's perfectly complimentary. The closing shot of the smiling lass with the flare was perfect. And almost enough to make me forget how... interesting... some of the kids looked dancing. Great video and we hope 'We Own The Sky' kicks chart butt in Ireland and beyond.

Matt Bond gives the 'We Own The Sky' video three Karen O's out of five...

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