Double The Pleasure…
Christina Aguileraâ€šÃ„Ã´s double-disc album, Back To Basics, is big and glossy, befitting a star of her magnitude. Sheâ€šÃ„Ã´s described it as a â€šÃ„Ãºthrowback to the 20â€šÃ„Ã´s, 30â€šÃ„Ã´s and 40â€šÃ„Ã´s-style jazz, blues and feel-good soul music but with a modern twist.â€šÃ„Ã¹ True, but so many more styles are represented (and she performs them so well), that itâ€šÃ„Ã´s tough to imagine sincerity. Sheâ€šÃ„Ã´s naughty, hurt and grateful in ballads, orchestral extravaganzas, hip-hop flavored tracks and songs worthy of a huge Broadway production.Disc One, produced by DJ Premier, pays homage to the 40â€šÃ„Ã´s. Like Bette Midler did in the 70â€šÃ„Ã´s, Aguilera offers her take on the eraâ€šÃ„Ã´s sound with a little naughtiness added. With songs like â€šÃ„ÃºCandymanâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºAinâ€šÃ„Ã´t No Other Man,â€šÃ„Ã¹ the melodies swing and the vocals are impeccable. Aguilera channels USO darlings The Andrew Sistersâ€šÃ„Ã´ soundâ€šÃ„Ã®thought not their lyricsâ€šÃ„Ã®singing â€šÃ„ÃºHe’s a one-stop shop / Makes the panties drop.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s also hard to imagine the Sisters singing the burlesque-influenced â€šÃ„ÃºYou Nasty Boy,â€šÃ„Ã¹ with lyrics like “I’m gonna give you a taste / of the sugar below my waist.â€šÃ„Ã¹
4 Non Blondes member turned pop producer Linda Perry takes over for DJ Premier on Disc Two. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s ballad-heavy and less focused, but with the heartfelt â€šÃ„ÃºHurt,â€šÃ„Ã¹ a song about regret, Aguilera sells it. The feeling of loss is palpable. â€šÃ„ÃºOh Motherâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is deeply personal with the lyrics, â€šÃ„ÃºOh Mother, don’t look back / Cause he’ll never hurt us again.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The mutual love fest that is â€šÃ„ÃºThank You (Dedication to Fansâ€šÃ„Â¶)â€šÃ„Ã¹ uses sound bytes from fans to Aguilera like, â€šÃ„ÃºYou inspire me to keep on living.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Sounds pretentious, but itâ€šÃ„Ã´s sweet. In the vampy â€šÃ„ÃºHave Mercy On Me,â€šÃ„Ã¹ Aguilera purrs, â€šÃ„ÃºGod bless the men that I have scorned.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s the kind of song only Jessica Rabbit and Aguilera can work.
Fans of the petite blond bombshell should be thrilled. Back to Basics is a great pop CD, designed for a mass audience, offering something for everyone. Each song feels grand, important, and slick. Perfect for a big star with a big voice.