That’s What I Said: Rich Juzwiak on Aguilera’s “Bionic”

Posted: June 13, 2010 by RA in Music
Tags: , , ,

That’s What I Said… In which I let someone else do the talking.


UPDATE: Now also references a brilliant piece by Eric Henderson of Slant.

Rich Juzwiak is one of my favorite music critics (behind Andy Kellman and occasionally Chet Betz). This is partly because he covers drivel like Christina Aguilera so I don’t have to, but I can always trust his views to be 90% in line with mine.

In his review of “Bionic”, Aguilera’s latest effort at focus-group edge, he suggests that, contrary to its title, this is Aguilera at her most human. Why?

It is desperate for attention (even for the inherently attention-desperate medium of pop music), hopelessly nostalgic (…), cynically provocative… and flawed even when pondering flaws (“I Am” regurgitates the theme of Back to Basics‘ “Save Me From Myself” so much that the I’m-an-asshole-but-love-me-anyway sentiment is now a Christina cliche).

And in half a graf, he perfectly encapsulates what has bothered me about this very gifted vocalist for a decade, now (bold emphasis mine):

 I don’t get the sense that Christina is particularly passionate about any of her disco/house/dubby/adult contemporary/hip-hop dabbling (most of it should be gone next album), but then I wouldn’t get that sense, anyway: I consider her the most fraudulently soulful singer of her time. I’ve yet to buy a word that’s come running out of her mouth. Technically impressive as they may be, her screams of passion just sound like screams to me.

Slow clap. I’ve referred to her brand as “manufactured soul” for the better part of the last decade, but Rich puts it far more articulately.

Still, I can’t say I agree with his track picks. The only cut I found tolerable was “Sex for Breakfast”, which falls short because it’s at best, a poor man’s “Loving Me 4 Me”… and it’s called “Sex for Breakfast”.

But why ruin it for you? Go read it all at FOURFOUR.

Before I go, I’m gonna ask you to contrast this with the review from AMG’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine — the greatest living argument that music critics are a bunch of self-important idiots whose opinions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. AMG is a web-only publication.

That man is a living bedpan.

UPDATE: And here’s what Eric Henderson of Slant had to say about Bionic:

If analogies fail, boy does she make her bid to grab the gays back from the clutches of Gaga explicit. Considering “I Hate Boys” (except the ones who kiss boys) is closer than I ever thought Christina would ever come to recording a Daphne Aguilera track, it’s ironically also one of many tracks on Bionic that sound tailor-made to accompany the opening credits of Johnny Weir’s forthcoming reality show. None more so, though, than the masquerade ball that is “Glam,” a top-heavy cocktail that mixes one part “Vogue” with two parts “Technologic” and serves with a snap.

Read it all at SLANT

  1. molecularshyness says:

    really shoulda read this before i bought the album. i just hope it’ll grow on me. Stripped is an all-time fave for me.

  2. merq says:

    Certain albums, like certain fungi, shouldn’t be allowed to grow on us.

    Thanks for the comment.

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