Christina Aguilera’s ‘Bionic’ Album Turns 5: Stan & Deliver
Stan & Deliver gives fans an opportunity to shake, cry and sing the praises of the albums they love from their faves.
Five years ago today (June 4), Christina Aguilera shook the pop world when she released her fourth studio album — Bionic. Any fan of the belting artist would agree this LP was ahead of its time, yet it still does not receive the praise it deserves.
Back in 2012, we wrote an article defending Bionic just as Lotus was prepping its release. A year later, we highlighted the movement known as #JusticeForBionic — but that obviously was not enough. Bionic was a fierce and powerful record with a strong underlying feminist theme that many of her counterparts never dared to explore during that time.
Not to mention the bevy of A-list producers from spanning genres (Ester Dean, Detail, Polow Da Don, Le Tigre, Linda Perry, Sia, Tricky Stewart) that brought out the “Xtina” persona, which found The Voice judge leaping far outside her sonic comfort zone. She put her predictable soulful essence aside and exchanged it for an icy, hyper-electronic sexbot who did not take no for an answer. It is a shame the charts failed to mirror the true brilliance of the album, as it struggled to stay on the charts, did not even make RIAA’s Gold certification and ended in a failed tour.
In her 2012 Billboard cover story, Christina stated this: “I can proudly say it was ahead of its time, to be honest. It wasn’t so commercialized. You had to really be a music lover, be a true fan of music and the love of being open to really appreciate that record.” She was definitely on to something, because the fans agree!
As a massive retrospective of Bionic, Idolator readers (as well as some of us editors) look back at why the album created such a pop tug o’ war in our track-by-track review. Note: the intros and deluxe edition songs were not included as Xtina likes for her tracklists to read as divatastic encyclopedias, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
So let’s get things started as we blast off on our supersonic rockets, shall we? Woohoo!
Name: Jared Roys | Location: Auburndale, Florida | Twitter: @justjared2
This album is such a moment for Christina, it shows her departure from her previous Motown inspired album Back To Basics, to a futuristic, bass thumping, and even sometimes sexy LP known as Bionic.
When you play the album for the first time, you’re greeted with an explosion from the title track, “Bionic.” I fell in love with it because it instantly gets you up on your feet and whisks you away to euphoria asking you step into the future as she brags about her icon status: “Many times imitated, not duplicated, can’t be replaced.” In a time when electro-pop is taking over the airwaves, she shows the world that she can hop on that train and do it better than anyone else!
I really love “Bionic” because it’s such a different side of Christina that no one had ever seen before! It showed her versatility as an artist! It’s one of those songs that never gets old, whether it’s been 5 years, or 10 years. It’s a timeless song!
Name: Max | Location: At home buying Bionic on iTunes, USA | Twitter: @Floptina_Legend
2. “Not Myself Tonight”
“Not Myself Tonight” kicked off one of the most unforgettable and iconic eras in pop music history and, if you’re reading this, you already know why. The lead single from Bionic, Xtina’s 6th studio album (a game changer—for many reasons) is as infectious and campy now as it was when it first arrived via a countdown on her website, imagine if she had only known what she was counting down to. “Not Myself Tonight” remains one of my favorite songs off of Bionic and it really is hard to pick just one song at this point.
I love “Not Myself Tonight” (and all of Bionic, really) because it’s so bad that it’s actually really fucking good, from the self-narcissism to the overtly sexual and empowering theme. The song takes you on a journey of self-discovery and therapeutic liberation— taking shots and kissing all the boys and girls on the way. It really is a joy ride that relishes in letting you lose control of yourself, and my favorite Xtina is when she really doesn’t give a fuck. “Not Myself Tonight” is the self-empowering anthem you didn’t know you had. Born This Way who?
Name: Lonn | Location: Atlanta, GA | Twitter: @iQ
Let’s dive into this uptempo track. Woohoo was one of the gems on the Bionic album. It was pop sensation with the classy raunchy Christina Aguilera that we all love and the new female rap mogul known as Nicki Minaj. Aguilera and Minaj did a fun track that screamed “I’m a girl but I can fun and a bit sexual at times!” From Aguilera who’s giving you powerful yet sexy vocals on the track, to Nicki Minaj who’s giving you a rap verse that’s playful and so catchy at the same time. I think these two girls worked magic with this song. Makes you think of how much fun they had in the studio recording this track. Would love to hear another future collaboration between the two.
Hearing this song makes you instantly want to dance or bump this loud in your car. It gives you a “Dirrty” 3.0 with an electro pop beat!
When you hear “Woohoo” you have to wonder why wasn’t an amazing video released for this epic song?
Name: Gareth Thomas | Location: Cardiff, Wales | Twitter: @GarethThomas_
4. “Elastic Love”
“Elastic love, ever lastic love, ever lusting love”
This three and a half minute futuristic banger could easily get the most rigid person’s head bobbing, toe tapping and perhaps even the odd sexual grind.
Elastic Love is the fourth track on Aguilera’s album Bionic. Written by Aguilera herself alongside John Hill, Switch and the renowned British rapper M.I.A, this seductive, electro-pop track is nothing short of a masterpiece. Most critics hailed “Elastic Love” as the “stand-out track” from Bionic with its clever composition and interesting choice of lyrics with Amazon even listing the song as number 12 on their list of 2010’s best songs. These rhythmic lyrics could easily be mistaken for playground-chants with Aguilera comparing her love to office equipment such as a ruler, sharpener and a rubber band – hence the title: Elastic Love.
The hypnotic and eccentric ’80s style beat compliment Aguilera’s robotic vocals which differs completely from the powerhouse vocalist as we know her. This doesn’t only make “Elastic Love” one of the stand-out tracks from this futuristic, ultramodern album, but also makes Christina Aguilera one of the most diverse and iconic vocalists on the planet.
Brava Queen Xtina!!!
Name: Mike Wass | Location: Los Angeles, USA | Twitter: @mikewassmusic
Christina Aguilera had nooky on the brain during the Bionic sessions! From “Not Myself Tonight” to “Sex For Breakfast,” the enduring diva was brazenly, unapologetically on heat. While the aforementioned tracks are not for the faint of heart, nothing encapsulates the glory of Sextina better than “Desnudate.” Co-produced by The-Dream and Claude Kelly, the Latin-flavored club-banger found Christina expressing her desires in two languages. “Whisper all your festishes inside my ear,” she demanded. “My domain is shame free so lose your fear.”
When you throw in semi-pornographic refrains (go ask a Spanish-speaking friend what “damelo duro, me tienes tan mojada” means) and monstrous beats, you’re left with one hell of a pop song. Fun fact. Before RCA pulled the plug on Bionic, “Desnudate” was briefly considered for a single release. They even roped in Pitbull for a feature. It was never officially released but the two eventually joined forces for “Feel This Moment.” All’s well that ends well.
Here’s Pitbull’s version:
Name: Büny | Location: Germany | Twitter: @freeasmydick
Perfectly transitioned and introduced by the “Love & Glamour” intro, the Lucky 7 on Bionic is arguably my favorite track on the album. “Glam” is one of a handful of other songs on the album that highlight female strengths. The powerful woman is a dominant theme on Bionic, which underlines the fact that Xtina has been an excellent feminist since day one and continues to be. But “Glam” seems not only to appeal to the fabulous women out there, it is a delightful anthem for the fabulous queer men as well, and I speak from experience; whenever I am in public listening to music and the song comes on, never in my life do I not imagine walking down a runway in custom made Dior, flawless make-up, weave and 20-inch high heels on as the people around me watch me get #glam.
Its quite universal message and catchy beat puts “Glam” under the list of many Bionic songs that had the utmost potential as a single. To this day, I keep thinking about several music video concepts – the song was deserving of – in respect of Bionic visuals and Xtina’s GLAMorous looks of that time.
The bridge of the track represents the climax of the song leading up to its highlight which is highkey the high note hit in “higher”. If such ambiguity was intended by Legendtina? Fascinating. This note is definitely, besides the everlasting note in Vanity, also a highlight of the vocal side of the album. Saying that, “Glam” is undoubtedly located in the higher tier of the album’s best songs. Now listen. Now snap. Now clap. Now dance. Now getcho life!
Name: Kirsten Coachman | Location: San Jose, CA | Twitter: @KirsCoachman
7. “Prima Donna”
2010’s Bionic unleashed an unabashedly empowered Christina Aguilera, with songs exuding a whole new level of confidence from the vocal powerhouse. In the shadows of tracks like “Desnudate,” “Elastic Love,” and “Glam” is the Claude Kelly and Tricky Stewart-produced club banger “Prima Donna.”
The opening synth beats lead to us to the singer declaring in the opening verse, “Tonight it’s on/play my song/it’s a celebration,” setting the tone for the pulsating, yet playful dance track. And once the chorus hits, Aguilera launches into a full proclamation, roaring, “I’m a prima donna, I can rule the world, don’t care who’s around me, I can rule the world.”
And there it is, the confident vocalist who is all out of bothers to give, owning the feeling in that moment that she can rule the world. And that’s what’s great about Aguilera; she fearlessly says what’s on her mind and just lays it all out there, judgment be damned.
Granted, “Prima Donna” might be on the lighter side of Bionic, but as Aguilera says in the song, a little fun never hurt nobody.
Here’s to ruling the world.
Name: Robbie Daw | Location: NYC, USA | Twitter: @ChartRigger
8. “Sex For Breakfast”
I wanted to write up “Not Myself Tonight,” because it was my total trash jam of 2010 (along with Heidi Montag‘s “I’ll Do It,” but that’s another story…), but that witch Floptina grabbed it. So here I am with “Sex For Breakfast.”
Not since Madonna‘s Erotica track “Where Life Begins” has there been a less subtle song by a mainstream pop diva about getting their p***y handled the right way. (The old-school R&B vibe is even reminiscent of said Madge song.) Sample lyric: “Strawberry cream is like a dream, my fantasy is a reality / when morning comes, I know I will too!”
Wait, wait — there’s also this classy gem: “Soon I’m gonna feel your honey drip, my juices start to flow.”
I can’t believe this album flopped. This is some To Be Preserved In The Library Of Congress shit right here!
Name: Ethanrih | Location: London, UK | Twitter: @ethanrih
9. “Lift Me Up”
While “Lift Me Up” was never released as a single, it is still a personal favourite of throughout all of Christina’s discography. Most fans prefer the live version of the song, which the diva sang for Hope For Haiti before the albums release, but for me, I feel as if the studio version has something the live version lacks. I feel like I can to relate to it more as a person.
Written and produced by long-time collaborator Linda Perry, I knew instantly that “Lift Me Up” would become one of my favourite Xtina songs as Linda always brings out the best in her. This empowering power ballad is about asking for guidance or help when you’re feeling down, and because of this, it remains one of the Xtina songs that people can most relate to. Everybody feels that way once in a while, but most remain stubborn and refuse to ask for help. In this song, she tells us that it’s OK to ask for a little help once in a while. Xtina herself described the song as the “Light at the end of the tunnel,” which it is for me. Whenever I feel down, or in despair, “Lift Me Up” is my go-to song to bring me back up again.
It may not be as punchy and upbeat as the rest of Bionic, but that’s the point; it has a deeper meaning to it. What’s impressive about “Lift Me Up” is the way the lyrics are delivered. This song is part of a category where Xtina holds it back, and refrains from riffs and runs. This helps to give the songs a laid back feel, and essentially make it Stripped. The part of the song where she begins to do the “AAHS” showcases her majestic vocal ability even more, as it shows that she can go from throaty to tender perfectly, providing further proof that she is The Voice Of Our Generation.
“Lift Me Up” is my favourite non-single Christina Aguilera song, and it deserves all the acclaim and praise in the world.
Name: Heidi | Location: England, UK | Twitter: @xtinaremains
10. “All I Need”
“All I Need” is one of the most underrated songs not only on Bionic but all of Christina’s discography. It shows her love and affection for Max (and now Summer, of course), how much she enjoys motherhood and how it has helped her grow into the woman she is today. It gives us a glimpse into what and who makes her strong, what and who inspires her to carry on doing what she does and being the incredible person that she is. Let’s not even get started on how wonderful the vocals are – such passion.
I think it’s brave to take a chance as an artist to break the mould of what makes a successful song – everything in the charts seems to be about sex, money, drugs, butts, and parties, whereas “All I Need” is written and sung from her heart and her soul and was written with the intention to mean something special and to show growth rather than to hit number one. Christina’s albums, if you really focus on the lyrics and themes, all show her growth as a person over the time frame between the previous album and the one you’re listening to, and Bionic shows what she has learned from motherhood and from heartbreak and from experimentation and compared to previous albums, how she grew into a stronger form of the woman that she already was.
Each album of hers shows her coming to terms with her struggles and shares with us Fighters her lessons learned. “All I Need” shows that she is vulnerable and gives us an insight to her heart and to how she faces her daily battles. It also completely strips away everything commercial and shows raw and real emotion, alike “Lift Me Up” and “I Am,” and funnily enough she sings about Max how I feel about her.
The lyrics in “All I Need” are absolutely beautiful and raw and real and heartfelt. If people took the time to listen to Bionic as an album with an open heart and mind, and really took note of what Christina was singing about and what it shows us about her and her experiences, they would see this. “You bring me hope when I can’t breathe, you give me love, you’re all I need.” “I’m holding you closely wrapped in my arms.” These are only some of the words that hit home with me, but to me, they explain how I am to her — I have been through some really dark times and Bionic was the album that was there for me during the worst of it, and through my recovery, this song was one on the album, alongside “Lift Me Up,” “I Am” and “Little Dreamer,” that made me want to face my fears and to live another day and to pick myself up and move on when I was broken beyond what I thought I could fix. This song gave ME HOPE when I couldn’t breathe. And it’s one of the songs that I will always thank Christina for. I have so much to thank her for.
Name: Yasmin Evans | Location: East Sussex, UK | Twitter: @ItIsYasmin
11. “I Am”
“I Am” — such a beautiful song, filled with so much depth and honesty. Something Christina is good at is being honest through her lyrics and making her seem relatable. In this song she isn’t this pop star or celebrity, she is us, she has feeling’s, emotions, strength, love, fear. She is a woman, a human, a soul.
This track is a personal favourite of mine, her voice is hypnotising and along with that puts out great lyrics we all can relate to. This is a special song, not a song to put on as background noise, this is art in it’s true form, a song we all should appreciate. The first time I heard this I was completely floored, I couldn’t believe how perfect it was especially after hearing the stripped version [on the deluxe edition]. The divine musical composition was out of this world, the song is subtle but at the same time powerful as the arrangement was spot on Christina really knows when to show more or show a little less.
I would love for Christina to sing this live one day, acoustically maybe. Bionic is the album full of gems and “I Am” really is something precious.
“I’m asking you to take me just the way that I am.”
Baring yourself completely isn’t always easy, especially to the one(s) you love and then hoping they will accept you as you are. We see a vulnerability in her that we don’t always see, we hear it in her voice, with soft controlled vocals but still being able to convey emotions that impact us. It’s not everyday we get to see/hear the softer vocal side of Christina but when it happens it’s like seeing a rainbow, it’s a rare beautiful occasion that you never forget and will always love.
She had some real great talent on the album as well as on this song, It’s great that these people explore creatively with her and let Christina just do her thing and let it all out. This song was only one of many that really show cases her ability to sing, write and compose but it’s also selfish of me to be happy that this song is really underrated as I get to truly enjoy without it being everywhere and exploited but at the same time it needs the recognition it deserves!
I can not believe it’s been five years since Christina Aguilera released her masterpiece we know called Bionic, “I Am” so excited to be celebrating this album. Christina really went through it with this LP creatively but also personally and it’s an absolute pleasure to be honouring the efforts of the hard work that was put in and all the different persona’s shared on this album.
Christina stated: “That’s when I’m most at home and feel happiest. And all these people brought about new sides of me.”
Name: Bianca Gracie | Location: NYC, USA | Twitter: @BiancaEnRogue
12. “You Lost Me”
Sure Bionic is known for its sexualized electro-pop grooves, but the highlight is in the second half of the album. It is no secret that Christina Aguilera is a master when it comes to ballads (she isn’t called “The Voice Of Our Generation” for no reason), and the perfectly imperfect “You Lost Me” displays just that. Written by the singer, Samuel Dixon and Sia, it is a cold and smoky down-tempo ballad that finds Xtina’s somber emotions being pulled by the simple but effective piano-and-strings production.
“You Lost Me” is Christina’s most vulnerable moment on Bionic, which makes it stand out among with sticky synths and robotic nature of the album’s previous tunes. “I feel like our world’s been infected/ And somehow you left me neglected/ We’ve found our lives been changed/ Babe, you lost me,” she belts alongside the soaring orchestra-inspired production. At one point, you can almost hear Christina wiping away her tears. It is a truly beautiful moment where fans who may be going through a similar situation in their relationship can relate to the pain.
Just take a look at Christina’s 2010 Late Show With David Letterman performance to see just why this is one of the singer’s most stunning tunes in her extensive discography.
Name: Joe Sacco | Location: Boston, MA | Twitter: @MrSaks87
13. “I Hate Boys”
When looking back at Christina’s 2010 experimental masterpiece Bionic, it is hard to not think of cheeky track number 16 — “I Hate Boys”. Christina co-wrote the song with Ester Dean. “I Hate Boys is still on my my current playlist 5 years later and is truly one of the most played songs from that album to this day, for me personally. It’s because “I Hate Boys” was never meant to be taken too seriously, it’s just a fun song with an infectious catchy chorus and beat. What made me an instant fan was the bold “I hate boys, but boys love me/ I think they suck and my friends agree” chorus that pretty much summed up exactly how everyone has felt at some point or another.
I look back at that timeless album and can’t help but still feel sad we didn’t get to see it’s full potential (ex. a tour, more music videos/radio singles. ), as Queen X has always been so visually expressive in presenting her music to us, and I know how hard she worked on the project. I interpreted it as an incredible ode to Clockwork Orange, and even though it was short lived, enjoyed all we did get from it. That being said, I am more than sure this song would have been a great candidate for single #3 from that era.
At only 2:25 minutes long, the Polow The Don and Claude Kelly produced track is short and sweet ( or not so sweet considering the “Boys suck, make sick inflated egos, little d!cks, use em up spit em out” bridge. ) Bionic was such a diverse album, and while “I Hate Boys” may not have been as lyrically deep as “You Lost Me”, “I Am” or “Stronger Than Ever,” the direct message of the song could’ve catapulted it into instant Girl/Gay Anthem status, had it just caught the right audience. I truly always felt that if any song was to get Bionic out of the (very unfair) ditch it got put into, “I Hate Boys” could’ve been it. It was released as Bionic’s second single in Australia and New Zealand.
Although to current date Madame X has not performed this song live, I could definitely see it being included in her next tour, as it’s a good reflection on that era and would mesh well with a “Bionic”/”Not Myself Tonight”/”Woohoo” Medley, and am hopeful said tour is coming soon. As we anxiously anticipate Legendtina’s mysterious new era, “I Hate Boys” is a great song to hold us over, along with the rest of this flawless album.
Name: Mars | Location: Philippines | Twitter: @asstaticjen
14. “My Girls”
Xtina has been making female empowerment anthems since her Stripped days and has always been very vocal about the equality of the sexes. This song features badass Peaches, a Canadian electronic musician, who is also a feminist and expresses it through her music. Two of them in one song is surely a smash.
“My Girls” is not a song made to be a hit, but a song to make a statement. “My girls wear lipstick while they’re making my beats they got guitar picks in their purses/ Louboutins on their feet.” Yes girl! Work it!
This is one of her songs that prove everyone that she has control over her voice and doesn’t do much heavenly runs. The Le Tigre-produced track fits her electronica concept for the album. Fans weren’t that crazy about this song 5 years ago but now when they listen to it, it’s still cool and fresh. “Ahead of it’s time” indeed!!!
Name: Mercedes Clarke | Location: Chicago, IL | Twitter: @XtinaHub
“Vanity” is a masterful collaboration between Legendtina Goduilera, Claude Kelley & Ester Dean. Exploring the consistent themes of playfulness & confidence seen through out Bionic, which stems from Aguilera’s experience of giving birth & being inspired by her son Max Liron. The confidence element comes from Xtina, constantly saying how the metamorphosis of pregnancy made her feel empowered & physically bionic. The playful element comes from Aguilera observing her son max & absorbing all the playful happy light a young child radiates.
What I love about “Vanity” the last track on the standard edition of Bionic is that its truly the grand finale to an epic, versatile set of dynamics seen within the album. The opening verse just lays such ground work, as Xtina says “I’m not cocky, I just love myself. B*tch!” and the song goes on about the title — being vain so vanity! I adore the Snow White reference as the singer often chants “Mirror,mirror on the wall” & disclaims it’s answer to who is the prettiest/ flyest of them all, because she knows its her whom wears that crown.
The last verse of the song is said by her son Max, as Xtina says “Who owns the throne” & Max responds “You do mommy”. It’s Christina on her relentless pursuit to do what she wants & not follow typical pop music protocol. That’s what Fighters love about her is that she continues to push the norm & sing about so many different topics, that inspire us & empower us. Christina Aguilera is an artistic chameleon & that’s what the song “Vanity” shouts loud & proud to the world.
What is your favorite song or memory of the Bionic era? Share them with us in the comments below!