After listening to this on and off I realizes that this album has it's moments but it won't be on heavy rotation on my personal player. This album has been promoted as a throw-back-retro of the blues, jazz, and soul cultivated during the past five decades unfortunately it really doesn't measures up to the task. Imitation this time is less than flattering to the R&B artists she holds in such high esteem.
Admittedly she has a great and mature voice as evidenced by her collaboration with previous artist's; this album, however, is characterized by self-indulgent songs that certainly capture the power of Aguilera's life and times, but these songs are not an affirmation of the great music exemplified by the blues, jazz, and soul from previous generations. Inspired by her recent marriage (which is great) but at the same time revisit certain subjects from "Stripped" such as the abuse her and her mother suffered at the hands of her father which is unfortunate but starts to get a bit redundant at times.
The music overall is ambitious, yet obvious in that fact that she is trying way too hard to garner critical acclaim for the whole retro aspect. There are some good tracks in this album but too many filler's at the same time. The power again is her voice, but sometimes it is a little too loud and over done, to the point of being harsh. The tracks that stood out to me though are "Oh Mother", "Without You," and "Hurt"- she sings more softly and sound beautiful in these tracks. I will also add "Ain't No Other Man," "Candy Man," and "Mercy On Me" because she sounds very natural on these songs.
I really hate having to be negative on this album but she left me no choice. I think next time don't strain yourself to create an "out-of this-world" album Christina just make one simply effortless.