Since I'm one of the biggest fan's of DJ Premiere imaginable, when I heard that he was doing significant work on the next Christina Aguilera album to say that I was a bit curious would have been a gross understatement. I mean, I've never been a fan of Ms. Aguilera or anything, but Premo is Premo, and anyone who can't acknowledge that Christina is a good singer is either hearing impaired or a loyal Brittany Spears fan. So when I decided to express my curiosity to my friends, expecting them to agree wholeheartedly because of our shared love of DJ Premiere's producing wizardry, the reactions that I received were both dismissive and angry. They acted as if I had just taken a steaming shit right in their living room or something, yeah they would give verbal praise to Premo, but their diatribes of hate would usually end with "I don't give a shit, fuck Christina Aguilera!!" It left me puzzled because I can understand people not being a fan, but I had no idea that the chick who once had to brush her tongue for a week based on her kissing Madonna could evoke so much anger. If Michael Jordan was playing in an exhibition game against 5 obese mentally retarded teens I'd still want to see it because that's still Michael fucking Jordan!! If Robert De Niro had a recurring role on Sesame Street where he dressed up like a Gorilla while teaching kids the alphabet, I'd still want to see it because it's De Niro for Christs sake!! If there was a bootleg tape floating around of Jennifer Lopez, during her "In Living Color" days, in the midst of a lesbian lick-fest with her and the other Fly-Girls, I'd want to see that because, well, I'm a pervert. I'm not trying to demean Christina here, but she would be working with a man who is arguably the best Hip Hop producer ever, no one shared my curiosity??
Because it is a double album and I knew that Linda Perry produced disc 2, I listened to that one first because I wanted to save the heavily Premo produced one for last. After hearing that second disc, 8 tracks of throwback cabaret-style tunes that seemed that they would be better suited for a musical or some shit, my prospects for disc one weren't very good. I mean, she sings her ass off on disc 2, but those songs weren't particularly my cup of tea, so on to disc 1.
Listen, I know I'm going to catch more shit for this than a colostomy bag, but after hearing disc 1 for the first time I came to the conclusion that this is one of the best R&B albums this year.(Rubbing eyes, shaking my head) I know, I know, I'm saying this about Christina Aguilera of all people, but she came through with a soulful piece of art that never seemed to openly pander for radio acceptance. Let me put it a couple of ways, not only does this CD feel like they let Premiere executive produce the whole fucking thing, it sounds like he was the Jedi master who had to train his padawan by locking her ass in his basement for a couple of months as they listened to soul records continuously. People will bash me for glowingly praising Aguilera because it will probably make them seem cooler doing so, and they have the ability talk shit from the safety of their porn riddled computer, but I'm just telling it like it is. From the classic Premo intro that we all know him for, the soulfully produced Kwame(yes, polka-dots Kwame) track "Understand" where Betty Harris' voice is sampled, Mark Ronson does his thing on the track "Slow Down Baby", the song "Makes me Wanna Pray" takes a heathen like me back to church, "Here to Stay" is Christina's middle finger to the critics, and the song "Without You" has to either be her expressing her love for her husband or some dude she's blowing on the side that only she knows about. Premo shows you why he is the best producer ever on songs like "Back in the Day" where Christina gives love to the musical legends of the past, and "Still Dirrty", a premiere horn-fest where Aguilera owns her sexuality so to speak. Lastly, the outro where Christina gives her fans love over a Premo track with her fans' voices spliced throughout the song masterfully is a brilliance that Gangstarr fans have been used to since "Step in the Arena".
So yeah, I dug this album and that's right, I DID say that it is one of the best R&B albums of the year. But then again, that is akin to praising a guy with sight just because he won a game of darts against a blind guy. The state of R&B is possibly in the same shambles that Hip Hop is in, with a vast array of soulless tunes that offend the sensibilities of anyone who grew up listening to their parents' vinyl.
Suffice it to say this album has gotten a plethora of bad reviews, something that doesn't shock me in the least. But when people say that she is "overly self indulgent", that this album being "all about her" and her being a "narcissist", I don't find those to be as legitimate critiques. I mean, of course she would talk about herself on the album, who else is she fucking supposed to be talking about. That's like coming on this blog and your main complaint being, "HumanityCritic, this blog is all about you!!!" Of course this blog is about me you poster child for abortions you!!