I really liked a decent amount of “Back To Basics”. My favorites are “Understand , Ain’t No Other Man, Makes Me Wanna Pray, Hurt, Save Me From Myself and Slow Down Baby”. One of my least favorites from the release was “Candyman”…
Loved BTB. Makes Me Wanna Pray, Slow Down Baby, Still Dirrty, Mercy On Me and Save Me From Myself are probably my favorites. I mostly skipped Oh Mother, Enter The Circus and The Right Man, but everything else I adore.
Ain't No Other Man is iconic - those horns start and I'm brought right back to her concert, goosebumps and all. <3
Woah..15 yrs already! Xtina was still at her peak back then. I remember buying the album 3 months after its release from my college's Barnes and Noble store. I love all the songs from Disc 1. Such great, warm memories. 🤗
Crazy to look back now and see she went from her peak to being considered "a flop" on her next release, and never fully recovered since. She was the best pop artist of the 00s.
I will say, as crazy as the trajectory is, even distilling things down to what’s important - the quality of her music took a hit after Back to Basics.
I mean, Not Myself Tonight is just not good. Is it serviceable and catchy? Sure. But, you can see based on all the metrics that people genuinely didn’t like the song. And Bionic has a lot of good instincts, and I’m not saying it deserved to flop, but a lot of the melodies and lyrics just weren’t as strong on Bionic. That stuff carried over to Lotus too.
I don’t say that as even a casual fan — she was my number one artist from childhood. The music took a hit. I’m listening to Lorde’s “Solar Power” right now, and this is clearly an album that will commercially flop (despite the “look at the sales with no hit!” chatter) — and yet, even though Lorde threw her fanbase for a loop with the new sound, it’s still clearly connecting because the quality is still really high even if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Back to Basics was the last time a Christina album felt totally strong from top to bottom. Where there was that high a level of commitment shown. The best way I can describe her stuff after that is there’s something…artistically guarded by it. Like, you really can feel how whatever the mess of Bionic was knocked something out of her, and instead of trying to fight back she just didn’t want to play that game anymore. No fan ever wants their fave to be unhappy, but when Christina stopped chasing the career heights, her melodies weren’t as sharp, her lyrics became a little more generic or reductive of something she’d already done. The production *clearly* took a hit.
Liberation was a much nicer return to form, but you can still tell the fight to really GO for something as a total body of work was still absent, even if a lot of the individual songs on it are really strong.
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