I Am (Christina Aguilera song)

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"I Am"
Song by Christina Aguilera from the album Bionic
Format Digital download
Recorded 2009
The Red Lips Room (Beverly Hills, California)
Genre Chamber pop
Length 3:52
3:55 (Stripped Version)
Label RCA
Writer
Producer
  • Samuel Dixon
  • Sia Furler
Bionic track listing
"All I Need"
(13)
"I Am"
(14)
"You Lost Me"
(15)

"I Am" is a song by American recording artist Christina Aguilera, from her sixth studio album Bionic (2010). The song was written by Aguilera, Sia Furler and Samuel Dixon, while production was handled by Sam Dixon. It is a piano ballad, where Aguilera lists her strengths and insecurities and asks to a person take her just the way that she is.

In the song, the singer revels in the joys of being loved for who she is. The song received acclaim from music critics; most of them complimented Sia involvement on the track, calling it a "sweet, sensitive, simple and lovely ballad". The song charted at number 62 on the Gaon International Download Chart.

Background and writing[edit]

Australian singer and songrwiter Sia Furler is the co-writer of the song.

In 2009, while working on her new album, Aguilera enlisted Sia Furler, Linda Perry, Goldfrapp and Ladytron as collaborators.[1] Aguilera told Billboard: "I'm definitely a fan of Sia's." "I was thrilled she also wanted to work together and, in turn, was a fan of mine." Aguilera said the two planned to hit the studio in January but are "setting the wheels in motion now ... I'm not exactly sure what we're gonna get when we get in the studio together, but (as) with all great things I'll go in and there's probably magic to be had."[1] Between February and March 2009, Sia posted on her blog: "[...]The week turned out 4 beautiful songs, four new mates, several new dog loves, fine dining, followed by super mario, apples to apples and a game of pool."[2]

Sia commented about Aguilera in an interview with William Goodman for Spin, saying: "She's a perfectionist and she totally scrambled my mind. When we were doing the vocal production, every take was sick. Then she'd ask, 'What do you think of these five takes?' I'd be like, 'Well, every single one of them is perfect and I have no idea what you're talking about if you think one of them is not perfect.' She's a mad scientist of singing."[3]

In an interview with Idolator's Robbie Daw, Furler revealed that they worked in 4 songs:

"There are four of them. I think they’re called 'I Am' — I called it "Lullaby" but she’s given it another name. But I think it’s called, um—[she starts singing] —oh, 'All I Need'! And it’s 'All I Need,' 'You Lost Me,' 'I Am' and something like 'Stronger.'[...] She’s pretty awesome. It was pretty crazy when she sang at me for the first time."[4]

Composition and music[edit]

A 30 second sample of "I Am", a piano ballad, where Aguilera lists her strengths and weaknesses.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"I Am" was written by Aguilera, Sia Furler and co-written and produced by Samuel Dixon.[5] It is a soft piano ballad.[6] The song reveals an unguarded Christina, singing about her insecurities, over a string orchestra.[7][8] It lists the strengths and weaknesses of a woman.[9] In the chorus, she sings: "Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending."[10] There is an acoustic version of the song, named "Stripped Version", which is available on the Deluxe Edition of the album.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

According to some critics, the song is inspired by Fiona Apple's songs.[12][13]

The song received general acclaim from most music critics. Mesfin Fekadu from Boston Globe called it a "sensitive and smooth groove".[10] UK newspaper The Scotsman wrote that the song features "vocal trills, acoustic guitars, tasteful strings and even a twinkling celeste."[14] Stephen Thomas Erlewine picked the song as one of the best tracks of the album.[11] Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly praised the track, calling it a "chamber pop-beauty", writing that "Sia, co-writing and providing backing vocals, turns Aguilera into a smoky, almost Fiona Apple-esque torch singer on the lovely 'I Am'."[12] Omar Kholeif of PopMatters agreed, writing that "the song finds the artist self-consciously rolling the letters off her tongue in an attempt to sound like Regina Spektor or Fiona Apple."[13] Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone named it "an intriguingly Björk-ish collabo with Australian folkie Sia."[15] Michael Cragg from musicOMH commented that the song "is a lovely, simple ballad about personal empowerment."[6] Jon Pareles of New York Times wrote that "it's a retro 1960s-flavored song that savor Ms. Aguilera’s voice."[8] Melinda Newman of HitFix described as a "beautiful, piano-driven sweeping ballad."[16]

Greg Kot of Chicago Tribune wrote that the song "have a tacked-on quality, as if it was afterthoughts designed to sate those Aguilera fans who would complain about all the sci-fi dance track."[17] Richard Wink from Drowned in Sound wrote a positive review, commenting about Aguilera and Furler collaboration: "The pair seems to have developed a strong song writing partnership. I’d love this to have been the lead off single. Maybe if Aguilera had worked with Sia for the whole of this album and put out nine or ten ballads of this calibre then such an album would have been golden."[7] Brad Steirn from "MuuMuse" also praised the track, writing: "It is the next level balladry we’ve come to expect to come from Sia. Here is where Christina truly shines, delivering a wealth of vulnerability and control when needed and a signature yelp when it’s time to truly unleash."[18] TJ of "Neon Limelight" praised it, calling it "a stunning Sia-penned, string-heavy gem buried deep in the middle of the new album."[19]

Chart performance[edit]

Upon the release of the album, "I Am" debuted at number 62 on the Gaon International Downloads Chart on the chart issue June 6, 2010.[20]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording locations
  • Recording, Vocal recording  – The Red Lips Room, Beverly Hills, California.
Personnel
  • Songwriting – Christina Aguilera, Sia Furler, Samuel Dixon
  • Production – Samuel Dixon
  • Acoustic guitar  - Leo Abrahams
  • Piano, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar & Programming  - Samuel Dixon
  • Strings  - Oliver Kraus

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Bionic, RCA Records.[21]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Gaon International Downloads Chart[20] 62

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Christina Aguilera Going Electro On New Album?". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ Quinn, Penelope (March 2, 2009). "Songstress Lends Songwriting Skills To Diva". MTV News. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ Goodman, William (March 18, 2010). "Q&A: Sia | SPIN | Profiles | Spotlight". Spin. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ Daw, Robbie (March 9, 2010). "Sia: The Idolator Interview". Idolator. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ "I Am | Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Cragg, Michael (June 7, 2010). "Christina Aguilera - Bionic | album reviews | musicOMH". musicOMH. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Wink, Richard (June 7, 2010). "Christina Aguilera - Bionic / Releases / Drowned in Sound". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (June 6, 2010). "New CDs". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  9. ^ Pardalis, Dan (June 9, 2010). "411mania.com: Music - Christina Aguilera - Bionic Review". 411 Mania. Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Fekadu, Mesfin (June 7, 2010). "Review: Aguilera has an identity crisis on new CD". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Bionic - Christina Aguilera | Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Greenblatt, Leah (June 8, 2010). "Bionic (2010)". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved June 20, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Kholeif, Omar. "Christina Aguilera: Bionic < Popmatters". PopMatters. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Album review: Christina Aguilera, Bionic". Scotsman. June 6, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ Sheffield, Rob. "'Bionic' by Christina Aguilera". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved June 9, 2010. 
  16. ^ Newman, Melinda (June 7, 2010). "Review: Christina Aguilera's 'Bionic' shows a machine-like workmanship". HitFix. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  17. ^ Kot, Greg (June 7, 2010). "Turn It Up: Album review: Christina Aguilera, 'Bionic'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  18. ^ Stern, Bradley (June 7, 2012). "CHRISTINA AGUILERA: BIONIC (ALBUM REVIEW)". MuuMuse. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  19. ^ TJ (June 15, 2010). "Neon Reviews: Christina Aguilera – Bionic". Neon Limelight. Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b "Search: Gaon International Download Chart - Issue date: June 06, 2010 - June 13, 2010" (To access the applicable chart, change "년 (Year)" to "2010" and select the week "July 06 - July 12, 2010"). Gaon Chart. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  21. ^ Bionic (liner notes). Christina Aguilera. RCA Records. 2010. 

External links[edit]