There are few women who have an iconic croon like Christina Aguilera. It's been quite some time since she's last released new music, however. That's changed now, and she's taking a new road. Christina Aguilera gets intimate in Liberation, her new record that is perhaps one of her most honest.
The very opening of Liberation gives a perfect outlook for the rest of the album. Instrumental title track 'Liberation' brings the record to a beautiful start, the dark and cinematic orchestral piece really digging into a personal, intimate place. It almost sets up a noir aesthetic for the record, which definitely plays towards Aguilera's sense of drama. There are several songs that follow this imagery closely, such as the minimalist R&B track 'Pipe' with XNDA or the dramatic, intimate 'Twice' where Aguilera really digs deep to find the right emotions. Other tracks like 'Maria' are more expected from Aguilera, but do still make sense with this picture.
As intimate as Liberation can be, Aguilera does do many things differently, which includes being bombastic. 'Sick Of Sittin'' is a huge track, a giant, old-school rock n' roll concert backdrop serving as the backbone of the song as Aguilera hits highs and rolls again and again atop the unshakable drive of the blues rock instrumental. 'Accelerate' sticks closer to modern hip-hop influences as Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz add energy to the track, while Demi Lovato and Aguilera bring both of their vocal power to the table in 'Fall In Line' to make a really immense track. Reggae roots are present in 'Right Moves' with Keida and Shenseea, but Aguilera does return to form by the end record. After all of the much appreciated experimentation, songs like 'Masochist' really hit hard as she cries "I must be some kind of masochist / To hurt myself in this way / 'Cause lovin' you is so bad for me / Oh, but I just can't walk away." Closing number 'Unless It's With You' ends the record as raw and emotional as it began, consisting initially exclusively of a piano, bass, and Aguilera's reverberating vocals, slowly building but never too much as to make sure the emotion in her voice remains as the centerpiece of the track.
Christina Aguilera gets intimate in Liberation, facing pain and a past with some of her most honest work. Liberation is exactly as the title implies: a release from things that weighed her down. While not perfect, it's a step in the right direction for Aguilera, more so from a personal aspect than anything else.
Favorite Tracks: Fall In Line, Liberation
Least Favorite Track: I Don't Need It Anymore
Rating: 74 / 100
Stream or buy Liberation on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: