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Liberation is Christina Aguilera's eighth studio album that was released on June 15, 2018 by RCA Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Liberation 1:47
  2. Searching For Maria 0:25
  3. Maria 4:34
  4. Sick Of Sittin' 4:00
  5. Dreamers 0:36
  6. Fall In Line (featuring Demi Lovato) 4:06
  7. Right Moves (featuring Keida and Shenseea) 3:48
  8. Like I Do (featuring GoldLink) 4:49
  9. Deserve 4:23
  10. Twice 4:02
  11. I Don't Need It Anymore (Interlude) 0:54
  12. Accelerate (featuring Ty Dolla Sign and 2 Chainz) 4:03
  13. Pipe 4:05
  14. Masochist 3:30
  15. Unless It's With You 4:17

Album BackgroundEdit

In April 2014, Christina Aguilera confirmed that she was recording two albums: one in English and one in Spanish (which was slated to be her second after 2000's "Mi Reflejo").

During the interview, she also elaborated on the album's working process, saying: "I've been loosely working and sort of accumulating ideas for what my next album will be over the last couple of years. I'm excited for my fans to finally be getting something from me — it's been a while!"

In 2016, she returned to "The Voice" season ten, winning the series with her contestant Alisan Porter, making Aguilera the first female coach to win the series at that time. During a promotional interview for the TV show, she stated about the album: "It will be an album of freedom."

On June 16, 2016, she released the song "Change", dedicated to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

On August 23, 2016, she released "Telepathy" for the soundtrack to the TV series "The Get Down" which topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

In February 2018, media reported that she was collaborating with Demi Lovato who confirmed a collaboration.

In March 2018, a low-quality snippet of a song called "Masochist" leaked online, as well as the full-length demo of the song "Fall in Line", which prompted rumours that the tracks were supposed to be on the album.

On May 3, 2018, Aguilera released the first single "Accelerate" featuring Ty Dolla Sign and 2 Chainz, as well as its music video while also confirming the album's title, its art, track listing & announced the album was available for pre-order online.

RecordingEdit

Recording for the album initially took place in early 2014. At its early stages, the first producer that was confirmed to be working with Aguilera was Pharrell Williams, which (according to Aguilera) had one song that she loved.

In 2015, Aguilera confirmed that she was still writing and gathering songs for the album to eventually record them. In late November 2015, she confirmed she was working again with long time collaborator Linda Perry.

In February 2017, Aguilera claimed she was adding the final touches to the album; however during that same month, Tayla Parx confirmed she had worked with her, as well as Da Internz, Kanye West and PartyNextDoor.

Billboard would later revealed that Aguilera met West in Rick Rubin's Shangri La studio in Malibu, California, a few months before West released "The Life of Pablo" in 2016.

About West, she commented: "I've always been a huge fan of Kanye. Outside of, you know, his controversial aspects, I just think he's a great artist and musicmaker and beatmaker. The artists that he chooses to pluck from different walks of life are so interesting."

He produced "Accelerate" as well as "Maria", which is Aguilera's personal favorite.[

Later in September 2017, Aguilera entered the studio again to work with Mark Ronson and Anderson Paak.[23] Aguilera also mentioned about working with Paak, which produced two tracks, by saying: "He and I connected big-time. He was like, 'I used to watch you on TRL!' He's a great lyricist, soul singer and rapper. And he murders the drums."

Billboard also revealed that the album would have a collaboration with Demi Lovato, which was in the same song co-written by singer and songwriter Julia Michaels.

Commenting about choosing Lovato, Aguilera claimed: "We went through a few names of women. I needed a belty singer, and she took it to the next level. I almost cried when I first heard her on the record."

Singer and songwriter Jon Bellion confirmed in a now-deleted tweet that he is the producer behind "Fall in Line".

Aguilera revealed that during the album's working process she regretted not having Cardi B and Childish Gambino on the album; the first "got lost in the shuffle", after being discouraged by a producer to work with her, while the latter was working on the TV series Atlanta and the two never had the time to materialize the collaboration.

It was reported in the media in June 2018 that Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton had performed on the track "Pipe" (under the name XNDA) though Hamilton has not confirmed this is true.

CompositionEdit

"Liberation" was described as a "hip-hop and R&B inspired" album by Billboard.

Billboard described the third track, "Maria" as "a pulsing, intricately orchestrated piece that includes a Michael Jackson sample and an extended introduction in which Aguilera sings from "The Sound of Music."

Aguilera commented that the influence behind the title was Julie Andrews' character in the film as well as her middle name, adding: "Within my house a form of escape for me was opening my bedroom's window and singing out to the world pretending that I was her. It's about getting back to that little girl who just wants to sing for all the right reasons, not necessarily for charting and all the things that this business kind of does to you over the years and shaping how you look at making music..."

The introduction to "Fall in Line" is the track "Dreamers", which "features a group of young girls declaring goals like 'I want to be a journalist,' 'I want to be heard,' 'I want to be president.'"

"Fall in Line" has been described as a feminist anthem.

Aguilera stated that the track was recorded a few years ago and before movements such as Time's Up and the Me Too movement came out.

She added: "It was the song that needed to be heard. Because of what I witnessed when I was growing up I always felt really driven to have a voice that my mom kind of never had in my childhood. So I've always wanted to be that advocate for women and anybody that was struggling to have their own voice."

Aguilera also explained that the song "Sick of Sittin'" was "born out of feeling stagnant in one place for too long, feeling a little asleep at the wheel. Anytime that you get just too comfortable in a place where you just feel that you're not living up to your full potential it's time to flip the script and move."

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Liberation" debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200, selling 68,000 album-equivalent units.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Liberation" has received positive reviews from critics.

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 71 based on 17 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Alim Kheraj from The Observer lauded the album for being "at her most artistically emancipated".

Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone labelled it "Xtina at her peak" and claimed that Aguilera's "greatest attributes is that she has rarely played it safe".

Mesfin Fekadu found the album "masterfully cohesive" in The Washington Post, while comparing it to Mariah Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi", "her 2005 comeback album that reminded the world to never count out the diva".

The New York Times critic Jon Pareles complimented the album's experimental styles incorporating various genres and wrote that "[Aguilera's] extravagant vocal flourishes connect with sweeping emotion".

HipHopDX writer Trent Clark opined that despite "occasional cheese-smothered lyric", the album featured Aguilera's "heavenly" vocals that was "a well-calculated offering from a living legend whose abilities are still very much intact".

Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic discussed that while Liberation appeared to be personal, it still "resonate emotionally" despite not being "an easy route".

Claire Lobenfeld from Pitchfork, while unimpressed towards the album's "progressive moments" like "Pipe" or "Accelerate", claimed that the album's "sturdy moments" as on "Fall in Line" created "a promising first step toward a genuine pop rebirth—moments" that were comparable to Janet Jackson's "The Velvet Rope" or Whitney Houston's "My Love Is Your Love."

Nick Levine from NME commented that while the album "may lack the grand ambition and massive pop bangers of her glory days," it was "cohesive and surprisingly low-key" that may revitalize Aguilera's career.

The Daily Telegraph's Neil McCormick, by contrast, disapproved of the album's music styles incorporating "rock, R&B, soul, hip hop, reggaeton and anthemic balladry" that "never settles into a coherent listening experience".

Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine shared a similar viewpoint, commenting that the album lacked cohesion by being both "forward-minded" and "frustratingly safe".

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