Christina Aguilera’s ‘Bionic’ wasn’t much of a commercial success, but we think the reason is that it was so ahead of the pop game.
On June 4th 2010, Christina Aguilera unleashed her sixth album ‘Bionic’ onto the world.
Having once rubbed genies the wrong way, been ‘Dirrty’ yet ‘Beautiful’ and gone ‘Back to Basics’, it was this album that was set to revitalise her career and regenerate interest after a four-year hiatus.
‘Not Myself Tonight’, the confident lead single managed to reach number 12 in the UK Singles Chart and number 23 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Straight away, the single drew comparisons to Lady Gaga for the music video’s aesthetic and sound
Not too long afterwards, ‘Bionic’ was released. Reaching number 3 in America with 110,000 copies sold in the first week may sound somewhat impressive, it wasn’t. This is Christina Aguilera we’re talking about here, a household name who should be able to sell more copies. In fact, the album has only sold around 350,000 copies in America to date.
Despite the low-performance, ‘Bionic’ is actually one of her most critically-acclaimed albums and is still spoke about fondly by those who have heard it.
“Perhaps the problem here was that it was so ahead of its time”
The album was daring at the time, and still manages to remain fresh. Perhaps the problem here was that it was so ahead of its time. Bionic matched hit-makers such as Tricky Stewart, Nicki Minaj, and Polow da Don with alternative acts such as Peaches, Ladytron, Le Tigre, and Santigold to create an album that none of the other “pop girls” would ever consider.
In fact, Bionic featured Nicki Minaj and Sia before they reached their current career highs, demonstrating just how forward-thinking the album is. In 2014, Aguilera told Billboard Magazine that she could “proudly say it was ahead of its time, to be honest”.
On ‘I Hate Boys’, we had a chant-worthy song ridiculing men which was produced by Le Tigre and Peaches. Meanwhile, ‘Elastic Love’ saw Aguilera team up with M.I.A and producer Switch using metaphors to compare her relationship to the likes of paper clips and rubber bands.
The album also oozes sex appeal – in fact, sex is a common theme throughout the album. You only have to turn to the aptly named ‘Sex For Breakfast’ for just a hint of the sexual theme running throughout: “And when the sun rises, there’s one thing on my mind, I want sex for breakfast, stay inside”. Naughty.
“The album blended together genres that, on paper, really shouldn’t work.”
It was a brave attempt to reinvent herself and make herself appealing to the masses after the hiatus. Whilst it didn’t go to plan commercially, it has remained a fan favourite. You’ve got synthesised pop, electronica, R&B and new wave, all mixed together with hip hop and string ballads. The album blended together genres that, on paper, really shouldn’t work.
Some could say that ‘Bionic’ was so daring and “out there” that it resulted in Christina’s future work becoming a bit restraint. Her follow-up album ‘Lotus’ was released two years later and seen as a safe release. There was nothing on the album that set out to raise eyebrows, and perhaps this was all part of the plan to reinvent her again. Either way, she hasn’t released an album since.
There are rumours of a new album on the horizon, and we’re hoping it’s more in the vein of ‘Bionic’ and less like ‘Lotus’.