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Track Review

After taking time off to have a baby, Christina Aguilera is back on the music scene with the album Bionic, her first release to merit a Parental Advisory warning for explicit lyrics. Judging from the disc's first single, "Not Myself Tonight," it's easy to see why.

In the intro Christina sensuously whispers, "Tonight I'm feeling a little out of control …/You wanna get crazy?/'Cause I don't give a f‑‑‑." That last word is replaced by a shriek, but at least two more f-bombs are dropped later, unmasked.

The heavily synthesized, electro-pop song's premise celebrates what Aguilera deems free and creative sexual expression. She sings, "I'm dancin' a lot and I'm takin' shots and I'm feelin' fine/I'm kissing all the boys and the girls/Someone call the doctor 'cuz I've lost my mind."

Aguilera isn't far off on that last point. The track's cover art (which we don't show much of here) features her wearing a revealing and intentionally provocative leather getup—accessorized by hand-drawn devil horns and a tail. In the track's video she wears even less—pasties. She prances in S&M gear and barely there lingerie (backup singers wear little more) while making lewd gestures and highly sexualized movements. She proudly belts out, "I'm doing things that I normally wouldn't do/The old me's gone, I feel brand new/And if you don't like it, f‑‑‑ you."

In the video, things she normally wouldn't do include acting out sadomasochistic bondage routines, group sex and oral sex with another woman. Christina wields a whip and grinds against men and women, kissing both. Oh, and she sets fire to a closet, too.

Yet Aguilera stands by her work. She told MTV that she doesn't find the video inappropriate and isn't shying away from her wild side just because she's a mother. She says, "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."

She goes on: "I make sure every time I express myself [sexually], it's in a very controlled environment, that I am in control of the environment. And I'm very comfortable. It's such an important message to me, because I feel there are so many rules and regulations, especially for women. Men are sort of allowed to be whatever they're wanting to be. You're allowed to be these free beings, and I feel that women should have the same rights."

It's perhaps ironic—but undoubtedly fitting—that iconic sex symbol Raquel Welch has recently spoken out against exactly what Aguilera is so passionately advocating. Welch says in her new memoir Beyond the Cleavage, "Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it's gotta be pretty bad. In fact, it's precisely because of the sexy image I've had that it's important for me to speak up and say: Come on girls! Time to pull up our socks! We're capable of so much better."

In an interview with parentdish.com, Welch rounded out her rigorous rant: "I know I sound like a prude, but can't we have cheerleaders that don't do spread eagle and grinding? … Do we really have to go so far where nothing is happening unless we're getting graphic?"

Christina Aguilera apparently thinks so. But if she truly wants to do something she normally wouldn't do, she should listen to Raquel. Ms. Welch's perspective truly is countercultural, even rebellious. But in the most wonderful sense.

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