Christina Aguilera's just-released Bionic album is a whirring, wooshing, forward-thinking thing that sees the prodigiously piped pop star moving even further away from her "Genie in a Bottle" past — but, really, that was the plan all along.
Because, as Aguilera told MTV News, Bionic — which features collaborations with the likes of M.I.A., Tricky Stewart, Sia and Le Tigre, to name just a few — isn't really as much of a departure as her fans might believe. It seems she's been building toward this for a while now.
"There was a taste of things to come on [2008 greatest-hits package] Keeps Gettin' Better, but the futuristic idea actually came up for a few reasons," Aguilera said. "One being the Back to Basics album, because I wanted it to be a tribute to those I was very much inspired by and what made me passionate about music, soul and jazz and blues and paying homage to those musicians and those artists and doing a modern-day interpretation of what that meant to me. So it was important for me to dive into that world and reflect elements of the '20s, '30s and '40s.
"And that was a huge departure from the Stripped album. And Stripped was a huge departure from the first album," she continued. "I always make it a point to reinvent what I'm doing and take a minute, take a break in between records to really find out who I am and what I'm inspired by next."
And during the break between 2006's Back to Basics and Bionic, Aguilera and husband Jordan Bratman welcomed their first child, son Max. And, as Aguilera has said in the past, becoming a mother only served as more inspiration for the new album's sonic adventures.
"Since the last album, I've become a mother, which inspired me so much. When you have a child, you think of the future, you think of the next generation," she said. "And I started getting heavily into electronic music and listening to that, and I loved all the atmospheric sounds and interesting elements that had to offer. And then I dove in and reached out to these people wanting to collaborate, which is magical, and walked away with all these new friends as well."
But no matter how futuristic Bionic may get — and no matter how much she's grown in the decade since she first burst onto the pop landscape — Aguilera said that, at the end of the day, it's not really all that dissimilar to her '99 self-titled debut. After all, both share one rather unique characteristic: a focus on fun, first and foremost.
"The whole record is fun. I actually feel like I haven't made a record this fun in a pop sensibility since my very first record," she said. "Because I feel there's been growth and comfort within myself, and I don't have to be scared of that side of myself anymore. But it's in a much more sophisticated way that I was able to release it on this record. I'm just really proud of it, and it's exactly how I'm feeling now."
What do you think of Christina's new direction on Bionic? Let us know in the comments!