Bionic (Christina Aguilera album)
|Released||June 8, 2010|
|Christina Aguilera chronology|
|Singles from Bionic|
Bionic is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Christina Aguilera. It was released on June 8, 2010 by RCA Records. Looking to transition from the jazz, blues, and soul styles from her fifth record Back to Basics (2006), Aguilera wanted her follow-up project to be "short, sweet, and completely different". Consequently, it incorporates pop and electropop styles with electronic and electronica elements. Aguilera enlisted producers including her longtime collaborators Linda Perry and DJ Premier and newer partners including Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, Polow da Don and Samuel Dixon.
Upon its release, Bionic received generally mixed reviews from music critics, who were ambivalent towards its production and lyrical content. It debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 110,000 copies. To date, the record has sold an estimated 600,000 copies and 2.15 million tracks in the country. Bionic debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart with the lowest single-week sales in eight years, and later registered as the largest single weekly decline for a number-one album in the chart's history. Promotion for the album was abruptly ended after it quickly plummeted from record charts.
Fours singles were released from the album. "Not Myself Tonight" charted within the top 40 in most countries. The second U.S. single "Woohoo" featured rapper Nicki Minaj, and charted at number 79 on the Billboard Hot 100. The final single "You Lost Me" was released on June 28, 2010, but received limited commercial success.
Background and recording
On the Asian leg of the Back to Basics Tour during the summer of 2007, Aguilera said that her upcoming album would be, "short, sweet and completely different" from her previous long play, Back to Basics (2006). After the birth of her son, Aguilera stated in an interview with Ryan Seacrest that her forthcoming album would include a totally new aspect of herself as an artist, because of the pregnancy with her son.
In a February 2008 interview with People, Aguilera stated that she was going to start recording new material for her forthcoming album at her Beverly Hills home. DJ Premier, who at the time was working on projects for his label, Year Round Records, shared plans to head back into the studio with Aguilera. About this he said, "She's doing an all pop album again, but she wants me to keep the tone like what we did before. She's ready to start next month." Linda Perry, who had previously worked with Aguilera was to be included in the project too. In an interview with Billboard in October 2008, Aguilera said that the album would be mostly produced by Perry. Aguilera set about contacting collaborators on her own accord, at the behest of then-husband Jordan Bratman, without relying on the record label A&R. Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler and her collaborator Samuel Dixon worked with Aguilera on a number of tracks for the album. Aguilera told Billboard that she is a big fan of Furler and stated that she was thrilled when Furler said that she wanted to work with her as well. They recorded together in the studio in January 2009, and according to Furler's blog the duo wrote four songs together during the sessions.
Members of British electronic band Ladytron, Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu, went to Los Angeles to meet Aguilera in December 2008 after hearing that they were one of her favorite bands. During the meeting, Aguilera identified what kind of Ladytron songs she liked, with Hunt later saying, "We were impressed because she had a real deep knowledge of our music – album tracks, not just the singles!". Ladytron said following about the sessions with the singer, "We went in with no expectations; the whole thing was a massive surprise. But it was incredible. She was so musically talented, a vocalist who really knows her voice. The first takes sounded really amazing, and while we'd made demos, it was only when her voice was on them that it all came to life. It's nice to talk about them, we've been sitting on this for a while." They finished the work with Aguilera in March 2009 and produced four or five tracks, but only three songs made the final cut. Two songs produced by Ladytron appeared on the Deluxe version of the album, "Birds of Prey" and "Little Dreamer." Meanwhile, the third track, "Kimono Girl" did not make the final cut, although it has been highly anticipated by fans. British band Goldfrapp said in a January 2010 interview that they did not finish the studio session and did not know whether their songs will make the final cut.
The Australian said that the production team, The Neptunes, were to work with Aguilera on the album. In an interview with HitQuarters, Dr. Dre protege Focus... said, "We did a song and an interlude together." He produced the beats for the track "Sex for Breakfast," which were then worked on by Aguilera and producer Noel "Detail" Fisher. Focus... got involved with the project because he and Aguilera share a loyal, long-time engineer in Oscar Ramirez; Ramirez suggested and arranged the pairing. Of the experience Focus... commented, "[Aguilera] knows exactly what she is looking for and is not afraid to tell you. It was the first project I've ever worked on where someone sent me examples and showed me exact parts in the song they were looking for." Aguilera announced on her E! Special that she was going to be working with American dance-punk band Le Tigre. Aguilera said in August 2009, that she co-wrote tracks with British Tamil songwriter M.I.A. and Santigold, and according to the producer Tricky Stewart, Flo Rida would be featured on the album. Producer Polow da Don, who produced two of the four singles released from the project, was the only producer to be suggested by RCA and not contacted by Aguilera personally.
Additionally Stewart and Claude Kelly wrote the song "Glam", which was described as "a hard club song that's about high fashion. It's really for the ladies about getting dressed and looking your best, working it in the club and getting glam and sexy before you go out. ... It will surprise people. I'm calling it a modern day "Vogue." I wouldn’t say it unless I believed it." Kelly also co-wrote three other tracks for the album, including the first two singles "Woohoo" and "Not Myself Tonight". He described the four tracks as being "up-tempo and fun, they're party anthems but at the same time have underlying messages." Commenting on the experience of working with Aguilera, Kelly said, "What people don’t know about her is that she’s actually a really good writer. She has good ideas, good melodies, good concepts … She’s really involved from the very beginning to the very end."
Aguilera described the album as a unique mix of many genres and styles of music when she said, "I was able to explore and create a fresh, sexy feel using both electronic and organic elements with subject matter ranging from playful to introspective. I am so excited for my fans to hear the new sound. It is something I don't think anyone will expect." She later went on to say, "Each album I release is a representation of my personal life experiences and how they have shaped me. ... Over the past four years ... I have become a mother, a wife, and most recently an actress ... This album was put together to capture all of these characteristics [therefore] I chose to collaborate with a variety of artists and producers across different musical genres. I was able to explore and create a fresh, sexy feel using both electronic and organic elements with subject matters ranging from playful to introspective. This allowed me to challenge myself by using my voice in ways I never had before."
|The A.V. Club||C–|
Bionic received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 56, based on 21 reviews. It was heavily criticized as an attempt to take advantage of electropop's popularity and imitate the sound and image of Lady Gaga. Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson said that it is as "efficient a pop entertainment" as was Britney Spears' Circus, but felt that its attempt at hedonistic themes "feels synthetic and compulsory." Andy Gill of The Independent said that, apart from its basic R&B balladry, the album imitates Spears' and Janet Jackson's "electro-R&B schtick" to disguise Aguilera's "lack of any original approach." Jon Pareles, writing in The New York Times, remarked that its musical direction "makes her sound as peer-pressured as a pop singer can be." Omar Kholeif of PopMatters said that the album is not good because of "Aguilera's overzealous penchant for excess", while Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt blamed her "penchant for stock step-class beats and an aggressive, exhausting hypersexuality." The A.V. Club's Genevieve Koski wrote that the album sounds "muddled" because of its heavy reliance on a cadre of songwriters and producers. Dan Martin of NME said that the occasionally "daring" tracks are marred by ordinary house licks that inhibit Aguilera's singing.
In a positive review, Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine viewed that the "robot-diva hybrids are often interesting even when they stumble". Margaret Wappler of the Los Angeles Times said that Aguilera's "hyper-sexed lover bot" persona is the album's "most successful vein". Pete Paphides of The Times gave the album four out of five stars and found it sounding "older and more confident" than her previous work. Kitty Empire, writing in The Observer, found it to be "very strong, but only in parts", and said that its strength "lies in its core limb-shaking sass, even as it confuses girl-on-girl action with sisterhood." Drew Hinshaw of The Village Voice called it "precisely produced club-pop that moves bodies, if not spirits." Alexis Petridis, writing in The Guardian, commented that Bionic is an "occasionally brilliant and brave, occasionally teeth-gritting and stupid album."
Unlike Aguilera's previous studio albums, Bionic had trouble maintaining commercial success in the international markets. On the week ending June 26, 2010, the album debuted at number three on the United States Billboard 200 (first-week sales of 110,000 copies). However, those first-week sales were comparatively less than those of Aguilera's previous studio album, Back to Basics (2006), which hit number one with 346,000 copies sold. The following week the album fell to number nine with sales of 36,388 copies. In its third week, Bionic dropped to number 22. Bionic has sold 315,000 units and 1.15 million tracks in United States.
The album ranked as the year's 76th-best-selling album in the United States. On the week ending June 26, 2010, Bionic debuted at its peak position, number three, on the Canadian Albums Chart. In the following week, it charted at number nine. In the United Kingdom, Bionic debuted at number one on the Top 40 Albums Chart, becoming Aguilera's second consecutive studio album to enter at the top of the chart with 24,000 copies sold. It became the lowest-selling UK number-one album in eight years. However, in the album's second week on the UK chart, it made UK chart history when on June 20, it registered the largest drop in chart history for a number one album by falling twenty-eight places to number twenty nine. Bionic fared somewhat better on mainland Europe. On the week commencing June 14, the album entered and peaked at number three on the Australian Albums Chart, by the third week, Bionic descended to number sixteen on the chart. Bionic debuted at number one on the European Top 100 Albums Chart, becoming the singer's second consecutive studio album to top the chart. The album held the top position for one week.
Bionic was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments exceeding 35,000 copies. It also peaked at number eight on the Italian Albums Chart and number six on the Germany Albums Top 50 Chart. The album charted within the top 20 on charts in Poland, Finland and Norway, peaking at number seven, number ten and number 20. On the 23 week of 2010, the album debuted at the top position of the Greek Top 50 Albums Chart getting a gold certification, and replacing Soulfly's Omen. By its third week, Bionic fell out of the charts top 50 positions, and re-entered the next week at number 27. Another successful charting territory for Bionic was Switzerland, where the album peaked at number two. The album charted within the charts top 25 positions for five consecutive weeks. Bionic charted within the top 25 positions in Belgium Flanders and Belgium Wallonia, peaking at number four and 23 respectively. The album also managed to become a top ten hit in Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Mexico and Sweden. In Denmark, the album peaked at number 12. On the week ending June 12, Bionic debuted on the French Albums Chart at number 23, and fell to number 135 by the fifth week. As of December 2010, it has sold over 10,000 copies there.
"Not Myself Tonight" was released as Bionic's lead single on April 6, 2010. It debuted and peaked at number twenty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Aguilera's third highest solo debut on the chart after "Keeps Gettin' Better" (2008) and "Ain't No Other Man" (2006). Internationally, the song had moderate commercial success, peaking at number 12 in the United Kingdom, in the top 30 in both Austria and Australia and in the top 40 in New Zealand and Sweden. The song received generally positive reviews from critics, who complimented its club nature and Aguilera's vocals on the track; some reviewers also referred to it as her best uptempo recording since her 2002 single "Dirrty". The accompanying music video, directed by Hype Williams, featured a S&M theme with Aguilera sporting different bondage-inspired looks. Paying homage to Madonna's music videos for "Express Yourself" (1989) and "Human Nature" (1995), the video received mixed reviews from critics, who complimented its aesthetic but called it unoriginal.
"Not Myself Tonight"
A sample of "Not Myself Tonight", dubbed a "euro-glamorous" version of Aguilera's "Dirrty"-era.
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
"Woohoo," featuring rapper Nicki Minaj, was released as the second single from Bionic. It was made exclusively available to the iTunes Store on May 18, 2010 before being serviced to rhythmic radio on May 25, 2010. The track peaked at number 148 on the United Kingdom's singles chart due to high digital sales, but it was never released as a single there. The single has received generally positive reviews, with critics praising Minaj's appearance in the song and commending Aguilera's powerful vocals. "You Lost Me" was released as the album's third single on June 29, 2010. The song was sent to Mainstream/Top 40 radio on June 29, 2010, in the United States. Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly called "You Lost Me" a "lovely" ballad and Amber James of PopEater said the song was a "somber track" that brings the "honesty and emotion that have made Aguilera one of the premier balladeers of our time." The music video premiered on Aguilera's official Vevo account on July 22. The music video's director, Anthony Mandler, also wrote the concept for the video, which features a series of connected vignettes. The song topped the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart, making it the second single from Bionic to do so, after "Not Myself Tonight". "I Hate Boys" was released as a second single from the album in Australia and New Zealand only. It was sent to Australian radio on June 28, 2010, and released digitally on September 3, 2010 in a two-track single. It was the eighth most added track to radio stations from the week ending July 23, 2010. It has peaked at number 28 on the Australian Airplay Chart
Aguilera revealed the title of the album as well as the name of three new songs in the February 2010 issue of Marie Claire magazine. On January 22, 2010, Aguilera premiered a stripped-down version of the Linda Perry produced "Lift Me Up" during the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief telethon. Aguilera was also featured on the June cover of GQ Germany, the June/July cover of Latina and the June cover of Out. On May 7, 2010, Aguilera performed "Not Myself Tonight" on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
"You Lost Me" was performed on May 26, 2010, on the American Idol finale. Aguilera performed a medley of "Bionic", "Not Myself Tonight" and "Woohoo" at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards on June 6. On the album release day in the United States, June 8, 2010, Aguilera performed a medley of "Bionic" and "Not Myself Tonight" as well as "Beautiful", "Fighter" and "You Lost Me" on The Today Show. On June 9, 2010, Aguilera gave and interview and performed "You Lost Me" on the Late Show with David Letterman. She performed "Not Myself Tonight" and gave an interview on Live with Regis and Kelly on June 10, 2010. Aguilera performed "Fighter", "You Lost Me", "Not Myself Tonight" along with a medley of "Genie in a Bottle"/"What a Girl Wants" on The Early Show on June 11, 2010. On June 13, 2010, Aguilera was featured on VH1 Storytellers as well as on Behind the Music.
Aguilera planned to further promote the album by embarking on the Bionic Tour. 20 concerts were scheduled across the United States and Canada between July 15, 2010 and August 19, 2010. British singer Leona Lewis was scheduled to be the tour's supporting act and the tour would be considered the North American leg of Lewis's The Labyrinth tour. On May 24, 2010, Aguilera postponed the tour until 2011. In a message on her website and from tour promoter Live Nation, Aguilera stated that due to the excessive promotion of the album and her then upcoming film debut in Burlesque, she felt she needed more time to rehearse the show and with less than a month between the album release and tour, it was not possible to create and perform a show at the level that her fans expect from her. However, the tour was never rescheduled and promotion on Bionic ended shortly thereafter.
|Bionic – Standard version|
|2.||"Not Myself Tonight"||Polow da Don||3:05|
|3.||"Woohoo" (featuring Nicki Minaj)||5:28|
|6.||"Love & Glamour (Intro)"||0:11|
|9.||"Morning Dessert (Intro)"||Bernard Edwards, Jr.||TheRealFocus...||1:33|
|10.||"Sex for Breakfast"||4:49|
|11.||"Lift Me Up"||Linda Perry||Perry||4:07|
|12.||"My Heart (Intro)"||0:19|
|13.||"All I Need"||3:33|
|15.||"You Lost Me"||4:17|
|16.||"I Hate Boys"||2:24|
|17.||"My Girls" (featuring Peaches)||Le Tigre||3:08|
|Bionic – Deluxe version (bonus tracks)|
|21.||"Birds of Prey"||Ladytron||4:19|
|22.||"Stronger Than Ever"||4:16|
|23.||"I Am (Stripped)"||3:55|
|Bionic – iTunes Store deluxe version (bonus track)|
- Fan edition
The deluxe fan edition of the album includes:
- 12" custom designed box
- Bionic album on 3× vinyl discs
- Bionic deluxe edition CD with five bonus tracks and additional lenticular album cover
- 24" × 36" poster with messages from the first 5,000 fans who pre-ordered
- ^a signifies a vocal producer
- "Woohoo" contains a sample from "Add Már, Uram Az Esőt!", as performed by Kati Kovács.
- "I Hate Boys" contains a sample from "Jungle Juice", written by Bill Wellings and J.J. Hunter, as performed by Elektrik Cokernut.
Credits and personnel
Credits for Bionic adapted from Allmusic.
|Germany||June 4, 2010||Standard, Deluxe||Sony Music||88697726802|
|France||June 7, 2010|
|United States||June 8, 2010||Standard||886977148620|
|Japan||June 9, 2010||Sony Music Japan||SICP2604|
|Taiwan||June 11, 2010||Deluxe||Sony Music||88697-71491-2|
|China||August 20, 2010||Standard||Sony Music|