Christina Aguilera’s “Accelerate” Was Ahead Of Its Time
Christina Aguilera ushered in the Liberation era with “Accelerate” on this day (May 3) in 2018. After a lengthy hiatus between albums (six years, to be exact), Xtina would have been forgiven for going with something safe and radio-friendly. Instead, she opted for a trap-pop concoction with two features, experimental production and an extended outro that sounds like a completely different song. It backfired commercially, peaking at number 24 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Chart, but that doesn’t mean “Accelerate” is a bad song.
In fact, I would argue that it’s one of late-career Christina’s most interesting singles. It’s certainly more ambitious than anything on Lotus or the steady stream of songs that filled the void between albums. Produced by Mike Dean, Che Pope and Kanye West, “Accelerate” is essentially a female empowerment anthem. “All my boss ladies, go get your Mercedes,” the 39-year-old sing/raps while Ty Dolla $ign sprinkles in some ad-libs. “No matter, long as you get there, just don’t let it drive you crazy.”
“We got moola, power, we on fire tonight,” the Stripped icon promises. “Gonna get it how we want it, ’cause we ’bout it.” That takes us the genuinely catchy chorus, which is elevated by the comparatively jarring production that accompanies the verses. “Accelerate, c’mon babe, pick up your speed,” Christina belts. “Stamina, fill me up, that’s what I need.” 2 Chainz then adds a couple of words (calling it a feature is stretch), before the Oscar-robbed Burlesque actress takes us home with a doo-wop outro.
In retrospect, “Accelerate” might have been a better buzz single. It would have signaled that Liberation had no intention of being a walk down memory lane, while still allowing something more palatable to be serviced to radio. Or maybe Christina had just reached the point in her career where charts and radio airplay were of little interest. I’d much rather she follow her muse and try new things than jump on the latest trend in the hope of landing a hit. That’s beneath a legend of her stature. Revisit “Accelerate” below.