Music News

Christina Aguilera

The 2004 Nelly collaboration "Tilt Ya Head Back" seemed sure to be the first, last and only decent song in Queen Christina's catalogue. But, shockingly, there's more where that came from. Although Basics isn't a consistent pleasure -- there's plenty of cheese on these two platters -- the set's got its moments.

Basics was advertised as a tribute to the jazzy belters of yore. But while the throwback liner photos are capable of inspiring octogenarians to give themselves one last tug, the idea can't overcome its gimmicky origins -- which is probably why the most overtly vintage material (including the Peggy Lee-turns-ho epic "Nasty Naughty Boy") is relegated to the second CD. Fortunately, disc one incorporates the concept more organically, and to better effect. "Makes Me Wanna Pray" and "Ain't No Other Man" are soulful smokers, and if "Back in the Day," with its shoutouts to Aretha and Lady Day, is too lyrically on-the-nose, DJ Premier's smart production gives it a modern edge.

An Aguilera album that's not a wall-to-wall pukefest? Stop the presses.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts