Lotus (Christina Aguilera album)

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Lotus
Studio album by Christina Aguilera
Released November 9, 2012 (2012-11-09)
Genre Pop
Length 47:30
Label RCA
Producer
Christina Aguilera chronology
  • Lotus
  • (2012)
Singles from Lotus
  1. "Your Body"
    Released: September 17, 2012 (2012-09-17)
  2. "Just a Fool"
    Released: December 4, 2012 (2012-12-04)

Lotus is the seventh studio album by American recording artist Christina Aguilera, released on November 9, 2012 by RCA Records. Its music incorporates pop styles with elements of dance-pop, rock in the form of upbeat songs and piano-driven ballads. Aguilera described the album as a "rebirth", drawing inspiration from events in her life, her appearance on The Voice, and her divorce. The album was recorded at Aguilera's home studio. As executive producer, she collaborated with a wide range of producers, including new partners Alex da Kid, Max Martin, Lucas Secon and Tracklacers.

Upon its release, Lotus received generally mixed reviews from music critics, who were ambivalent towards its lyrics and found its music conventional. It debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 73,408 units. Internationally, the album charted moderately. Two singles were released from the album in North America. The first single "Your Body" charted within the top 40 of most countries. The second one, "Just a Fool", was a duet with fellow The Voice coach Blake Shelton and peaked at number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though not released as a single, "Let There Be Love" topped the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart at number 1. In August 2013, along with a letter to her fans, Aguilera released a music video for the song.

Background[edit]

After the release of Aguilera's sixth studio album, Bionic (2010), which failed to generate her usual sales,[1] she divorced from her husband Jordan Bratman, made her acting debut in a film called Burlesque and recorded its accompanying soundtrack.[2] The singer then became a coach on NBC's singing contest show The Voice[2] and appeared as a guest vocalist on Maroon 5's single "Moves Like Jagger" (2011), which spent four weeks atop the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.[3] Following these events, Aguilera announced that she wanted to record her seventh album, stating that she wanted high-quality and personal songs to record.[3] She stated that the album would be a "culmination of everything I've experienced up until this point ... I've been through a lot since the release of my last album, being on (The Voice), having had a divorce ... This is all sort of a free rebirth for me."[4] She went on to say that "I'm embracing many different things, but it's all feel-good, super-expressive [and] super-vulnerable."[4] She further expressed that the album would be about "self-expression and freedom" because of the personal struggles she had overcome during the last couple of years.[5]

On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2012, Aguilera revealed that the album was taking a while to record because "I don't like to just get songs from producers. I like them to come from a personal place ... I'm very excited. It's fun, exciting, introspective, it's going to be great".[6] In an interview with Rolling Stone, Aguilera said that the album was a "very multi-layered, very heartfelt record" reflecting different sides of her personality.[7] On Lotus, Aguilera worked with new producers, notably Alex da Kid and Max Martin.[8] Alex da Kid, who first teamed with Aguilera in the song "Castle Walls" from T.I.'s No Mercy (2010), commented about Aguilera's approach in recording Lotus, "She definitely had a strong opinion, but she'll go with the best idea in the room. That's really rare for someone that's had so much success."[9] Speaking about working with Max Martin, Aguilera said, "Max is legendary in the business. He's known about me but we haven't crossed paths. [...] It's taken us a decade in the same business and watching each other from a distance, so for us to now come together and respect each other's work ethic and how we like to be heard and making a marriage out of it, I think 'Your Body' is the best culmination of that."[9]

Aguilera announced via Twitter on September 12, 2012 that the album would be titled Lotus.[10] The album artwork was shot by fashion photographer Enrique Badulescu.[11] Aguilera unveiled the cover on October 5,[12] where she is shown nude with her long, blond hair covering her nipples, while her vulva is shaded by a white light; she extends her arms emerging from a lotus flower.[13] It received a generally positive response from critics; Tiffany Lee from Yahoo! Music complimented Aguilera's figure,[14][15] while Sam Lansky from Idolator drew comparisons to the cover of her fourth studio album, Stripped (2002).[16] Lotus was released on November 13, 2012 by RCA Records,[9] but was leaked online on November 5.[17]

Composition[edit]

"Army of Me" is a dance-pop and eurodance empowerment anthem, which Aguilera described as "Fighter 2.0".[9][18]

"Let There Be Love" is a dance-pop, electronic dance music and pop song, with elements from electronica and trance.[19][20][21][22]

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Lotus incorporates pop styles with elements of dance-pop, rock in the form of upbeat songs and piano-driven ballads. It opens with the track "Lotus Intro", which was inspired by Aguilera's passion for "chill-out" electronica.[18] The song has a "hypnotic" yet "dark, serious" tone that develops and matures as it progresses, depicting Aguilera's rebirth, similar to the life cycle of a lotus flower.[22] "Army of Me" is a dance-pop and euro-dance empowerment anthem, with a pounding drum beat and rock guitars.[9][18][22] Aguilera described the song as an update version of her 2003 hit "Fighter", describing it as a "Fighter 2.0".[9] The up-tempo track "Red Hot Kinda Love" combines a variety of genres, including dance and disco, "subtle" tones of Latin, hip hop, and pop.[18][23][24][25] "Make the World Move", featuring Cee Lo Green, is a track which incorporates dance, R&B and soul genres.[19]

The next track and first single from Lotus is "Your Body". It incorporates electropop and R&B genres and has a trace of dubstep in the middle eight.[26][27] Lyrically, it discusses anonymous sex with a random man. "Let There Be Love" features dance-pop, electronic dance music and pop genres with elements from electronica and trance.[19][20][21] The power ballad "Sing for Me" tells how Aguilera was born to sing.[25][28] "Blank Page" is a piano-driven ballad about apologies, regrets, closure, and making peace.[29] "Cease Fire" is a rock-tinged track that features electronic and dubstep infusion.[9][21][22][23] Lyrically, it is a plea to her partner to stop the fighting for the greater good of their relationship.[23] "Around the World" has a ragga influence and refers to Aguilera's 2001 hit "Lady Marmalade" as she whispers "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?".[23][30] The pop track "Circles" is an anti-haters song and is influenced by the alternative rock genre.[18][19] "Best of Me" is a power ballad about a failed relationship and how to not let others knock you down.[18][22] "Just a Fool", the last track of Lotus and its second single, is a duet with Blake Shelton. The song is a country pop ballad about the pain of a break-up.[22][23]

Promotion[edit]

Singles[edit]

To promote Lotus, two singles were released from the album. "Your Body" was released on September 17, 2012 as Lotus's lead single. The song received mostly positive reviews from music critics, who praised Aguilera's vocals and the collaboration with Max Martin.[31] It debuted and peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 27, 2012, becoming the highest-debut single during that week.[32] Internationally, "Your Body" was a moderate success, peaking within the top 40 of most countries. The song's accompanying music video was directed by Melina Matsoukas; it portrays Aguilera as a killer dressed in pink, one who delights in wooing physically fit men to their demise.[33][34] Sam Lansky from Idolator provided a favorable review of the clip and described it as one of Aguilera's best videos.[35] The second and final single from Lotus, the duet "Just a Fool" with Blake Shelton, was released on December 4, 2012. It debuted at number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 17, 2012[36] and peaked at number 71 in its second week charting.[37] As of September 2014, the single has sold over 746,000 copies in United States.[38]

Live performances[edit]

Besides releasing singles to promote the album, Aguilera also performed several tracks from Lotus on a number of shows. On November 2, 2012, she performed "Your Body" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, alongside Jimmy Fallon and The Roots.[39] Aguilera and Cee Lo Green performed "Make the World Move" together on the third season of The Voice on November 13, 2012.[40] The singer performed a medley of three songs, "Lotus Intro", "Army of Me" and "Let There Be Love" at the 40th American Music Awards on November 18, 2012, held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California.[41] On November 19, 2012, Aguilera performed "Just a Fool" with Blake Shelton on The Voice.[42] The following day, she performed "Let There Be Love" on The Voice with her team contestants, Sylvia Yacoub and Dez Duron.[43] On The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the singer performed "Just a Fool" again with Shelton on December 7, 2012.[44] Aguilera also performed "Blank Page" at the 39th People's Choice Awards on January 9, 2013.[45]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[46]
The A.V. Club C[19]
Entertainment Weekly C–[47]
Exclaim! 7/10[48]
The Independent 3/5 stars[49]
The Observer 3/5 stars[50]
Q 2/5 stars[51]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[52]
The Scotsman 3/5 stars[30]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[25]

Lotus received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 56, based on 12 reviews.[53] Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe called it "a good start in the effort to refocus attention on Aguilera's skills", but observed "several tracks that sound mindlessly repetitive as sedentary listening experiences".[54] Q called it "generic" and felt that "nothing really stands out".[51] Annie Zaleski of The A.V. Club felt that the album "often plays it safe" and accused Aguilera of "dumbing down her voice or lyrics for the sake of lightweight tunes or prevailing trends."[19] Melissa Maerz of Entertainment Weekly found the album's "self-empowerment anthems ... as contradictory as they are unoriginal" and criticized its production for "digitally smother[ing]" Aguilera's vocals and "draining all the emotion".[47] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani asserted that because it is "Aguilera's shortest album since her debut, it boasts less filler, but also fewer obvious standouts."[25] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times felt that the album's conventional direction is "its biggest crime, more than its musical unadventurousness or its emphasis on bland self-help lyrics or its reluctance to lean on [...] Aguilera’s voice, the thing that makes her special".[55] Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone dismissed it as a "vitriol-tsunami of a record".[52]

In a positive review, Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that Aguilera "feels comfortable in this familiar, slightly freshened territory".[46] Simon Price of The Independent felt that the album's "best moments are its electro-pop numbers".[49] Kitty Empire of The Observer characterized its subject matter as "wiffle of the highest order", but wrote that "one of the pleasures of Aguilera is that she can use polysyllables, even when talking the rot that fills women's mags".[50] Although she criticized the album's "upbeat pop anthems", Melody Lau of Exclaim! found Aguilera to be "reinvigorated" and felt that she "shines most when she's direct, honest and vulnerable".[48] Celina Murphy of Hot Press felt that Lotus's "safer" direction and Aguilera's "default mode" makes the album an improvement from Bionic.[56] At the end of 2012, Lotus was ranked at number 17 on the list "20 Best Pop Albums of 2012" by Spin.[57] In contrast, Entertainment Weekly named it the worst album of 2012.[58]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, Lotus debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 73,408 units.[59][60] This was considerably lower than Aguilera's previous album, Bionic (2010), which opened at number three with sales of 110,000 units, thereby becoming Aguilera's English-language studio album with the lowest first week sales. The following week it fell to number seventeen with sales of 52,558 copies.[60] In Canada, Lotus peaked at number 7 on the Canadian Albums Chart[61] and was certified gold by Music Canada for shipments of 40,000 copies there on January 10.[62] The album debuted and peaked at 28 on the UK Albums Chart with sales of 9,422, becoming her lowest-charting album there.[1][63][64] Internationally, Lotus underperformed, only reaching the top 20 and top 30 in most countries.[65] As of August 2014, the album had sold over 290,000 units in the United States, as reported by Nielsen SoundScan.[66] It has additionally sold over 1 million tracks there.[67]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Lotus.[8]

Lotus – Standard version
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Lotus Intro"  
3:18
2. "Army of Me"  
3:27
3. "Red Hot Kinda Love"   Lucas Secon 3:06
4. "Make the World Move" (featuring Cee Lo Green)
  • Grant
  • Mike Del Rio
  • Pillay
  • Jayson DeZuzio
  • Abernathy
  • Armando Trovajoli
  • Alex da Kid
  • Aguilera[a]
  • Pillay[a]
3:00
5. "Your Body"  
  • Martin
  • Shellback
4:00
6. "Let There Be Love"  
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Kotecha
  • Bonnie McKee
  • Oliver Goldstein
  • Oscar Holter
  • Jakke Erixson
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:21
7. "Sing for Me"   Aeon Step Manahan 4:01
8. "Blank Page"   Braide 4:05
9. "Cease Fire"  
  • Aguilera
  • Grant
  • Pillay
  • Alex da Kid
  • Aguilera[a]
  • Pillay[a]
4:08
10. "Around the World"  
  • Chin-Quee
  • Gilbert[b]
3:25
11. "Circles"  
  • Aguilera
  • Grant
  • Pillay
  • Abernathy
  • Alex da Kid
  • Aguilera[a]
  • Pillay[a]
3:26
12. "Best of Me"  
  • Aguilera
  • Grant
  • Pillay
  • DeZuzio
  • Alex da Kid
  • DeZuzio
  • Aguilera[a]
  • Pillay[a]
4:08
13. "Just a Fool" (with Blake Shelton)
4:14
Total length:
47:30
Notes
Sampling credits
  • "Red Hot Kinda Love" contains samples from "The Whole World Ain't Nothing But a Party", as performed by Mark Radice and "54-46 Was My Number", as performed by Toots and the Maytals.
  • "Make the World Move" contains a portion of the composition "Let's Find Out", written by Armando Trovajoli.

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[8]

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[96] Gold 40,000^
United States 290,000[66]^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Edition(s) Label
Austria[97][98] November 9, 2012 CD, digital download Standard, deluxe Sony Music
Germany[97][98]
Switzerland[97][98]
Taiwan[99] November 9, 2012 Deluxe
United Kingdom[100] November 12, 2012 RCA Records
Brazil[101][102] November 13, 2012 Standard, deluxe Sony Music
United States[103] Standard, deluxe RCA Records
United Kingdom[104] Standard
Sweden[105] November 14, 2012 Deluxe Sony Music
Japan[106]
Mexico[107] November 15, 2012
Australia[108] November 16, 2012
New Zealand[108]

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