It's a shame that Christina Aguilera's 4th studio album, "Bionic", is already considered a flop after being released a mere two months ago. However, does flop always equate with an album being inherently bad? In this case, no. "Bionic" is a great album that could've been a spectacular album if Team Aguilera hadn't dropped the ball so many times. There are a few key factors that led to the demise of "Bionic", and if these pitfalls had been avoided and different decisions had been made, it could've actually turned out to be an enormous success.
Factor #1: Typecasting & Improper Transition
It'd been so long since Christina had released an album, that all anyone remembered concerning her music was throwback jazz & ballads. It didn't help that when several recording artists got together for the Hope For Haiti campaign, Christina decided to prematurely expose a new ballad months before the release of the futuristic, promising "Bionic". "Lift Me Up" became a top download on iTunes for almost a month, cementing America's belief that Christina would continue cranking out organic, timeless material on her upcoming effort. Unsurprisingly, when she later attempted to push the new project, people had a hard time adjusting to her new sound (something upbeat & up-to-date) since she'd fallen off the face of the earth for so long and provided an improper transition between "Back To Basics" & "Bionic". As for "Keeps Getting Better," don't even bother. That didn't cut it and chances are, you might've just remembered that song even existed just by reading this.
Factor #2: Poor Choice of a Follow-Up Single
Despite contrary belief, "Not Myself Tonight" was a very strong lead-in to "Bionic". The first single encompassed the raw energy of the album as a whole, even though it flopped (most likely due to Factor #1). However, when it came to selecting the next single right before the album's release, the creative minds of Team Aguilera must have been out on a coffee break. To put it bluntly, "Woohoo" was a terrible choice. A song that features Christina & Lil' Kim wannabe Nicki Minaj, babbling about how their special place tastes like cake was a poor, crass choice. But it didn't get better even when the creative minds came back from their coffee break. Team Aguilera realized they needed to make up for the "Not Myself Tonight" blunder so they opted instead for "You Lost Me," a bland mash-up of "Hurt" & "Beautiful." This ended up being another poor choice in a long line of flubs as the single has fizzled on arrival. "You Lost Me" not only sounds unoriginal, but it lacks the single-worthyness that "Lift Me Up" and other ballads on the new album had. If they hadn't jumped the gun on "Lift Me Up" with the Hope For Haiti campaign, then they could've had a hit that could've supported "Bionic".
Factor #3: Was the Final Tracklisting Decided with a Dartboard??
Let's face it, the bonus tracks are astoundingly better than the songs that made the final cut. The less-than-stellar filler songs like "Glam" (and its annoying intro track), "Prima Donna", "All I Need" (and its skip-worthy intro track), and "My Girls (feat. Peaches)" could've been replaced by the undoubtedly superior bonus tracks. "Monday Morning", which seems like an blissful ode to Blondie, sure fits the bill. The fast-paced "Bobblehead" would've been a great addition as well. And "Stronger Than Ever" blows every ballad that Christina has ever recorded out of the water. Finally, the fact that "Birds Of Prey" did not make the final cut is simply an affront to the music industry.
So let's take a look at the science of launching a successful album with the proper set up from its singles. The first single of an album should be simultaneously have the ability to stand on its own and be representative of the album as a whole. The second single should be the powerhouse that helps drive album sales and increase awareness of said new album. The third single should be the cement that grounds the album as a success. And if there is a fourth single (which there is with most pop albums), it winds up most likely being the "fun single", which requires no creative input, but transitions to the end of an era. The creative teams behind artists like Britney, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga have got this down, why can't Team Aguilera follow suit?
Here's what could've potentially made "Bionic" a success:
Christina, herself, could've taken a coffee break during the Hope For Haiti campaign and forgone debuting her a new ballad from her new album, or she could've recorded a cover song to help support the campaign, or even simply given a substantial donation to help the victims of the earthqauke that devastated Haiti.
Regardless of its status as a single, "Not Myself Tonight" was the wise choice for introducing the new era of Xtina.
Assuming that the filler songs and bonus tracks were switched, "Stronger Than Ever" would've been the powerhouse second single to propel "Bionic" into a mega-success.
The album's title track, "Bionic", would've been a great third single that could've cemented the album's success. Or even a remix/single edit of "I Hate Boys" would've made an amazing third single.
And lastly, Christina could take a hint from Beyonce and the Black Eyed Peas by releasing a dual fourth/final single by way of "Bobblehead" and "Vanity".
If only Team Aguilera hadn't had their heads stuck where the sun don't shine, they probably would've realized the snowballing, disaster-effect that their choices led to. With rumors of RCA debating whether to re-release "Bionic" with more organic material, or just drop Christina from the label altogether, it makes you wonder if the "What If" single wishlist that was just described could've saved "Bionic". Ultimately, I say 2 months is way too early to consider an album to be a total flop. Maybe Christina can find a miracle that will shoot her back to the top. Only time will tell, but the future looks bleak for little Xtina right now.