Christina Aguilera's Liberation: What You Need To Know
The last time Christina Aguilera delivered an album was all the way back in 2012, but this week she's back for the first time in six years with her brand new album, Liberation. So what can we expect from an album which arrives more than half a decade after her last? Here's everything you need to know...
A little background...
In recent years, Christina Aguilera has become as well-known for her role as a judge in the US version of long-running talent show The Voice, but in the six-year gap since the release of her seventh album, Lotus, the singer has given birth to her second child and eventually she made the decision to take a sabbatical from her duties on the show to spend more time with her family.
In the meantime though Aguilera has also branched out into acting and other TV projects, appearing in a recurring role in ABC's musical drama Nashville and producing a new series for Spike TV called Tracks. The singer has also popped up with the odd new tune in the intervening years since Lotus, releasing the charity single 'Change' to raise funds for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting and contributing to the soundtrack of Netflix series The Get Down.
The first official news of a new album came in May this year, alongside the release of the album's lead-off single 'Accelerate'.
Who's producing it?
Liberation boasts an impressive roster of production talent that includes Kanye West, MNEK, Anderson Paak, Hudson Mohawke, Charlie Heat and Ricky Reed, to name just a handful.
Any special guests?
There are a fair few of these too: Demi Lovato makes an appearance on 'Fall in Line', Goldlink lays down a verse on 'Like I Do', Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz put in a shift on 'Accelerate', XNDA pops up on 'Pipe' and 'Right Moves' features an appearance from Keida and Shenseea.
What does it sound like?
Over the course of Christina Aguilera's career we've seen her tackle tunes of every shape and size, from pop hits like 'Genie in a Bottle' and club bangers such as 'Ain't No Other Man' and 'Dirrty', right through to towering ballads like 'What a Girl Wants' and the vocal gymnastics of her appearance on a 2001 cover of 'Lady Marmalade'.
Her eighth studio album manages to encompass all of that range, kicking of in grand orchestral style and before a short, delicate a capella interlude gives way to the heaving trap beats and soulful melodies of 'Maria'.
Hip-hop and R&B play a big influence on the album and this manifests in various ways, from the slinky 90s grooves of 'Pipe' to the funky breakbeats of 'Sick of Sittin'' and the summery vibes of 'Like I Do'.
There's plenty of other stylistic scope on offer here too, with the dancehall-influenced island groove of 'Right Moves' contrasting with the showstopping, soulful ballads such as 'Twice' and the album's closing number, 'Unless It's With You'. It's on these latter tunes that Christina really opens up the taps on that powerful voice of hers, and the effect is as impressive as it's ever been.
Does it deliver?
It may have been six years since her last full-length offering, but for her fans Liberation will be worth the wait. Of all the graduates of the 'Mickey Mouse Club' that included peers such as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, Aguilera has always seemed like the most natural vocal talent and she puts that to good use here in a number of different ways, If there was any question as to whether the singer has 'still git it', this is an album to silence any doubters.
Liberation is available in hmv stores now - you can also find it here in our online store...