Opinion: A ‘Lotus’ is in bloom

Dan Jenkins

Dan Jenkins

Dan Jenkins is a freshman news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Christina Aguilera has had a tumultuous two years. In 2010, she released her fourth studio album, “Bionic,” to critical disapproval, and it barely moved over 300,000 copies (her album before that, “Back to Basics,” had sold more than two million). She separated from her husband in October 2010 and divorced him in April 2011. Her film debut, “Burlesque,” grossed an underwhelming amount in box office sales, and she messed up the words of the national anthem at the 2011 Super Bowl.

She joined the cast of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2011, and it premiered right after the Super Bowl. Many people have said the show has helped Aguilera to get her reputation back to a degree, and she definitely needs it now. Her new album, “Lotus,” was released Nov. 13, and it’s definitely a return to form for her.

The album opens with “Lotus Intro,” which contains a sample from M83’s “Midnight City” and has an earthy, almost Middle Eastern pop vibe to it. It is a great note to open the record on, and the pop vibe is a great indicator of what’s to come from the rest of the album.

The track that follows, “Army of Me,” is a highlight from the album. Aguilera has repeatedly referred to it in interviews as a “Fighter 2.0,” and the track’s chorus even references the original song’s chorus. “Army of Me” is much more of a dance-pop song than the rock-oriented “Fighter,” though, and I could easily see it being a smash if Aguilera’s label decided to release it as a single.

“Lotus” wouldn’t be an Aguilera album if it didn’t have any incredible, stripped-down ballads that just show off the power of her vocals. “Blank Page” is the first song that comes to my mind when I think of this type of song. In it, Aguilera sings of hurting someone, admitting she was wrong and wanting a chance to start again. To me, this song could easily have the success that “Beautiful” did back in 2002, and I hope it’s released as a single someday.

A favorite track of mine is “Circles,” which is a vulgarity-laced track in which Aguilera addresses someone who hates her for no reason. It starts out with a whimsical beat behind it as she tells this person to “spin around in circles on my middle, middle finger.” The chorus escalates into more of a punk-rock monster with processed vocals, interspersed with real yells from Aguilera.

She has openly discussed that “The Voice” has had a great deal of influence on “Lotus,” and she even has duets with two other fellow coaches on it. “Make the World Move” features Cee Lo Green, and is just a fun, upbeat number about changing the world through love.

The album’s second single, “Just a Fool,” features Blake Shelton and finds Aguilera exploring a more soul-meets-country sound. It’s my personal favorite on the album; Shelton and Aguilera’s voices complement each other really well, and it adds more sonic depth to an otherwise largely pop album.

“Lotus” is a great album. While it may not be Aguilera’s best, it could definitely help her get back into the realm of mainstream pop.