Christina Aguilera--Back to Basics - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-12-2006, 02:16 PM   #1
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Christina Aguilera--Back to Basics

Don't ask why I downloaded this. It's not typically my type of thing. But I've always liked Christina a little more than her candy pop contemporaries, even if I've never actually listened to the whole of one of her albums, let alone bought one.

But I will be buying Back to Basics, because it's worth owning.

You heard it here first: This is the frontrunner for next year's Grammy for Album of the Year. And if it doesn't win that it will win for several songs.

With this album, Christina has left her tenny-bopper days behind her, and her skanky dance pop ones as well. She emerges on B2B as a bona-fide soul singer. If you are going to classify her, you may do so now alongside artists like Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Lauren Hill, etc., even if she's not primarily writing all of her own material.

The first disc is the more modern of the two, and primarily focuses on old-school R&B and soul. THe album begins with Christina name-checking icons of the genre, and while it may be off-putting to some, there is a genuine reverence here, and doesn't seem so bad in retrospect because she proceeds to follow right in their footsteps. It comes full circle at the end of disc 1, where Christina turns the mic over to recorded messages from fans who voice their appreciation for her music. It might seem self-serving, but it shows that the love between artist and audience goes both ways, and can inspire the latter to become the former. A good number of these tracks are produced by DJ Premiere, who gives them a classic vibe while still managing to keep them fresh.

The second disc, however, is where things really take off. If you have any memory of Madonna's I'm Breathless, which was inspired by her role in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy film, it's that kind of affair. Think the musical "Chicago", with blaring horns and the canned backup singers. It's a trip, to say the least. When you hear I Got Trouble, a bluesy track that is recorded scratchy and muffled, you will not believe who you are listening to. There's also a magnificent ballad where Christina scales back her typical reach-for-the-skies roar and delivers something delicate but no less powerful.

Supposedly the entirety of disc two was recorded on analog equipment with live instrumentation and no sampling. Christina continues her collaboration with former 4 Non Blondes frontwoman Linda Perry, who wrote most if not all of these songs, and produced the second platter.

I'm sure it's really easy to roll your eyes at the mention of an album like this, even for people who enjoy more "fun" pop material like Nelly Furtado's recent Loose (also great). But if you're a fan of any well-done pop music like Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, whoever, don't make the mistake in thinking this is somehow shallower because of the artist's reputation. The mainstream doesn't get much better.

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Old 08-12-2006, 02:53 PM   #2
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I also downloaded the leaked version to see how it was, and will be buying it when it comes out.

I picked up "Stripped" used a year or so again and was very surprised at how good it was. I'd only gotten it for "Dirrty" and "Beautiful," but I love most of the songs on it.

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Old 08-12-2006, 03:07 PM   #3
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Yeah, a few retro songs reminded me a lot of Madonna's I'm Breathless... The album seems very cool for a pop singer, but its predecessor was sightly better IMO...
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Old 08-12-2006, 07:15 PM   #4
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Old 08-12-2006, 11:26 PM   #5
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Technically, if C.A. is going 'back to basics', shouldn't she be reprocuding Brittney Spears' current material, then?

Are you saying this is kind of an ATYCLB in a pop sense?

Are we in for a shift in the pop landscape, or more of a Real-Space Renormalization Group Study?
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Old 08-12-2006, 11:55 PM   #6
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She just needs to shake her ass more.
It's a winning formula.

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