Before its announcement today, Christina Aguilera's sixth album was very close to becoming a pop music legend. Her previous two albums, 'Bionic' and 'Lotus' weren't huge hitters and realistically the former arse-less chaps-wearing pop agitator hadn't had a hit single since 2006.
There was also the teasing. For four years, in between stints on 'The Voice' and advertising Oreos, Xtina had been sharing studio pics. Producers had been talking about the project, with Da Internz describing the sound as 'caviar ratchet' (whatever the hell that means).
But then earlier this week, and in the now great tradition of The Big Pop Music Announcement, Christina started sharing what can only be described as her own bizzare take on ASMR videos via Instagram. The info leaks followed on pop forums: new music was coming this week.
That brings us to 'Accelerate', Christina Aguilera's first proper lead single in six years, which she dropped a few hours ago. Because Spotify laws dictate that pop stars can no longer release songs without the help of a a few guest rap features, the song also features 2 Chainz and Ty Dolla $ign, the latter sounding like he's smoked about 500 B&H Golds before heading into the studio.
Rumours online suggest that the song has been produced by Kanye West, which may explain how discombobulated the whole thing is. A bizarre tribal intro quickly switches into a simple half-sung half-rapped verse, which sees Christina pull back from her predilection for a dramatic screech-a-thon.
The chorus, with its stabs of synths and weaving bass, is the only moment that Christina lets rip (albeit, still with some restraint), as the lyrical imagery equates sex with driving your car fast and filling it up with petrol.
Meanwhile, the (admittedly brilliant) music video looks a bit like if the visuals for 'Miley Cyrus & her Dead Petz' had enjoyed a budget and some direction. Christina licks a glass of milk, munches on some glitter and has an industrial-sized tub of KY Jelly poured on her head. Standard. This doesn't distract from how greasy and slippery 'Accelerate' feels. A bit like eating oysters, it's mildly unpleasant while still compelling; it's disgustingly luxurious and sort of thrilling.
Christina is following this all up with an album: 'Liberation' is set for release on June 15 and features collaborations with Demi Lovato, Keida and Shenseea. Tracks include the mysterious 'Searching For Maria', the less enigmatic 'Maria', as well as the possible office worker ode 'Sick Of Sittin''. Also, one thing worth noting is that no one is actually calling 'Accelerate' the album's lead single. Instead, rather democratically, it's been labeled an 'instant-grat', which is basically industry chat for: a song you get when you pre-order an album.
Six years is a long time to out of the game, so in 'Accelerate''s defense, the two rappers and the Kanye production might help it yield a radio hit. But really, 'Accelerate''s problem is it's just plain confusing; it doesn't know what it wants to be, which, considering Christina Aguilera's career, is kind of appropriate.
Not that any of that matters, as if it all goes tits up it was just an 'instant grat', right?
Right, that's our take... over to you guys! Here's the video for 'Accelarate'.