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Back to Basics
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  • Christina Aguilera seemed intent on constantly reinventing herself over the course of her first several albums, and it's hard not to be impressed by her leaps from teen-pop sensation (1999 self-titled debut) to raunchy, sexually precocious R&B singer (2002's STRIPPED) to blues and jazz-steeped diva on 2006's BACK TO BASICS. With its smoky torch songs, occasional big-band arrangements, and allusions to seminal divas like Billie Holiday and Etta James, the ambitious double disc casts Aguilera in the soft, romantic light of vintage soul crooners.
  • Yet BACK TO BASICS is undeniably modern. In fact, the first disc, assisted by the hand of the always-stellar trackmaster DJ Premiere, thumps alongside any club bangers of the early 2000s. Aguilera's dirty-girl persona is still present here, but she's dressed up and fitted into better songs and productions. The nostalgia-hued vibe of the second disc--with the singer playing the breathy chanteuse--provides a perfect complement to the first, so that the album as a whole reveals an artist of increasing range, skill, and creative maturity.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.96) - "The spirit of old-school jazz, blues and soul inhabits the set....Aguilera succeeds in balancing references to jazzbos and soul singers...with over-the-top kitsch."

Entertainment Weekly (p.136) - "[The] rugged dance tracks, mixing electronic beats with honking brass and other '70s soul samples, are perfectly suited to Aguilera's powerhouse belting." -- Grade: B+

Q (p.120) - Ranked #48 in Q Magazine's "100 Greatest Albums of 2006" -- "[P]roducers DJ Premier and Mark Ronson helped Aguilera realise the mix of saucy soul and roaring gospel she envisaged."

Uncut (p.99) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he second disc is the more interesting....It's psychedelically strange and outrageously entertaining."
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