As we move into the 2020s, although it is fair to say that it has probably not been the best start to the new decade, we are approaching various anniversaries of pop albums that not only spark nostalgia but provide a refreshing contrast to the music we currently hear on the radio. One particular album is facing its 10thanniversary this June: Xtina’s criminally underrated Bionic.
Following the release of her ultra-successful third album, Back to Basics, spawning the smash hits “Aint No Other Man” and “Candyman”, Xtina decided she wanted to explore a more futuristic and innovative sound, originally signified with the release of her “Keeps Gettin’ Better” alongside her greatest hits compilation of the same name.
The Bionic era was kicked off with the release of the album’s lead single – “Not Myself Tonight” – which saw Christina entirely depart from all her previous characterizations. The song itself, a powerful, exhilaratingly intense and completely electronic sex anthem, is accompanied by an even more provocatively raw and sensual music video, displaying Christina in an array of tight-fitting, figure-flaunting BDSM-inspired outfits. The aesthetics were a clear transition into a new hypersexualised era and signposted the upcoming album’s vibe. Explicit sexuality and confidence exude in nearly every song on Bionic, with songs like “Sex For Breakfast” and “Desnudate” (‘get naked’ in Spanish) most impressively radiating the Pop Princess’ erotic reincarnation. With shockingly raunchy lyrics such as, “Whisper all your fetishes inside my ear”, it is impossible to refrain from seductively succumbing to the erotic allure/force of these neoteric electropop bops.
The album, unfortunately, faced an abundance of criticism upon its release, with some comparing Christina’s new sound to that of the newly-emerging electropop sensation Lady Gaga, and others blaming the album’s lack of commercial (but certainly not controversially brilliant) success on the fact that the “Dirrty” singer waited four years between album cycles, potentially losing momentum she had generated with Back to Basics.
Xtina herself infamously stated that she believed the album “was too ahead of its time for some people”, and I cannot help but wonder if had Christina decided to embrace her eroticism in this decade rather than the last, in a time of post-modern feminism, sexual liberation and destruction of outdated societal norms, would the album’s fate have been entirely different?
As Bionic turns 10 this June, we should take it as an opportunity to appreciate the artistic journey that led Christina to this accomplished, sensual and sassy set of sounds/tracks, as well as our own inevitable and entirely justifiable hair whips, struts and strides, even if they are only in our living rooms.
Check our deepcut playlist for more underrated songs.
Words by Joe Gardner
Graphics by Georgia Walters