Christina Aguilera is back with Bionic, her fourth studio album—and her first to merit a Parental Advisory warning for explicit lyrics. It's a caution the album definitely earns.
Marriage and motherhood obviously haven't tamed this oversexed pop idol. In her liner notes, Aguilera is pictured nude, critical regions covered only by a strategically placed ribbon here or cartoon cat's face there. Still, Aguilera felt compelled to dedicate Bionic to her 2-year-old son, Max, and she included his voice on the explicit track "Vanity." She explained to MTV, "Mama still has to be me. I never claimed to be a cookie-cutter soccer mom. That's all good for some people. Not for me."
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
"Elastic Love" is an ode to working out a rocky relationship. On "Lift Me Up," Aguilera thanks a loved one for helping her through hard times. "All I Need" poignantly voices her affection for someone she cares deeply about: "Looking at you/Everything new/You are my life/You bring me hope when I can't breathe."
On "I Am," Aguilera reveals a vulnerable side to a romantic partner, admitting, "I am timid and I am oversensitive/ … I am tired and defensive/ …You show me that I'm beautiful." "You Lost Me" contrasts the ravages of infidelity with a couple's attempt to heal a broken relationship.
That said, Bionic isn't about plumbing the depths of romantic woe. No, it's about girl power fused with sexual domination. " Not Myself Tonight" dances vulgarly through references to sadomasochism, bisexuality and oral sex. "Woohoo" is pornographically devoted to cunnilingus. On "Desnudate" ("get naked" in Spanish), Christina demands that a lover do just that. "Morning Dessert" and "Sex for Breakfast" indulge explicitly in the prospect of having intercourse before doing anything else.
"I Hate Boys" scolds men, labeling them "dogs" and "lil' d‑‑ks" even as she encourages women to "use 'em up and spit 'em out." "My Girls" winks at irresponsible drinking and disorderly conduct. Christina exerts her inner "prima donna" and uses alcohol to loosen up as she belts, "Don't care who's around me, I can rule the world." "Vanity" also captures Aguilera's obsession with herself. "Every time I look at me," she sings suggestively, "I turn myself on." "Glam" may be tamer than most of the other tracks here, but its sole theme rings equally hollow: "Better be ready for your photo op/ … Be superficial, it's your one shot."
Numerous tracks contain obscenities and crudities, including the f-word, s-word, "a‑‑" and "d‑‑n." Women are called "b‑‑ches" on multiple tracks.
It's too bad that Christina Aguilera is so determined to be as naughty as possible, because Bionic once again showcases her undeniably beautiful voice. That, however, is where the beauty stops. Lyrically, Bionic's 18 tracks march shamelessly into the sewer in a raunchy, desperate attempt to shock listeners who are increasingly resistant to such treatment in the Lady Gaga era. Copping a page from Gaga's playbook, Aguilera would have us believe that sex, looking hot and dancing are all there is to life.
On "Vanity," she sings, "Mirror, mirror on the wall/Who's the flyest b‑‑ch of them all?/Never mind, I am/ … I'm a vain b‑‑ch." It would have been better for all of us—and especially for her son Max—if Aguilera had chosen to go the soccer mom route.