Six years is ample time for any Joe Schmo to go through a slew personal changes, mental developments and emotional realizations, but not every person has the means to express them like Christina Aguilera. In the years between 2012's Lotus and her just-released album Liberation, the singer left her post as a coach on The Voice, became a mother two, got engaged for a second time, and, perhaps most inspirational to this new LP, reconnected with herself as an artist.
Xtina has always been a genre-hopper — no modern-day pop gal has released as drastically different singles as Aguilera's “Genie in a Bottle,” “Dirrty,” “Fighter,” “Ain't No Other Man” and “Accelerate” — but what's returned is a starlet who is reflective and willing to examine both the light and dark aspects her pressional and personal life. After the playfully electronic-inspired Bionic album in 2010, fans hoped she would dig deeper on Lotus (her first album recorded after divorcing ex-husband Jordan Bratman), but it's on Liberation that the 37-year-old sounds at peace and ready to shine a harsh light on even her darkest spots.
From seeming to lose her way as an artist to hints all-too-real relationship problems, here are the 10 most revealing lyrics from Christina Aguilera's Liberation.
“All my life, wouldn't give up Was too young to know the difference How did I get so low? When did I turn so cold? Inside my own mind, I believe my own lies I'm facing the mirror”
This reflective standout song sets the tone for Liberation as she owns her headstrong nature her career, but ultimately realizing the celebrity life turned her low and cold.
2. “Sick Sittin'”
“Don't try to tell me I'm crazy It's good pay, but it's slavery I can't live with these chains on me I have to get free”
The thinly veiled call-out to her time as a coach on The Voice — which she described as a “churning hamster wheel” and “energy sucker” in her Billboard cover story last month — the singer admits to being initially allured by her large salary — long rumored to be the highest among all the judges.
“Sometimes I don't think I deserve you So I say some fucked-up shit just to hurt you But you know I do it all 'cause I love you So, baby, tell me I'm the one that deserves you Do I, do I, yeah?
“Breakfast in the mornin', laughing over pancakes Smell the cfee burnin', forget all the mistakes that we made On a Tuesday when you mentioned that she called you? Now, why you gotta go and do that?”
Pop stars tend to be coy when admitting their mistakes in love, making Xtina's admission to “some fucked-up shit” all the more refreshing. The first verse then seems to hint at her jealous side coming out as well as infidelity — or worries over infidelity — between her and her partner.
4. “Fall in Line”
“Little girls, listen closely 'Cause no one told me But you deserve to know That in this world, you are not beholden You do not owe them Your body and your soul”
A #MeToo moment for pop, “Fall in Line” acts as Aguilera's declaration against all the pressure and vanity pushed on her since her showbiz career began in the early '90s on The Mickey Mouse Club. All the more appropriate, her duet partner is another former Disney pop gal, Demi Lovato.
5. “Unless It's With You”
“And oh, I know that it's scary But I know that it's true, I'm saying 'I do' 'Cause I don't want to get married Unless it's with you, unless it's with you”
When she went through a public divorce in 2010, Aguilera shared an empowering piece advice from her Burlesque movie co-star Cher who told her, “Honey, husbands come and go, but I am still Cher at the end the day.” Today, Christina still has that mind-set and doesn't need to be a wife — and won't be — unless it's with the right partner.
“Put me on the jury I will take the blame here Tell the judge I'm guilty instilling you with fear, by tellin' you I'm leaving When you know that I don't mean it”
While she and current fiancé Matt Rutler haven't faced any public drama in their eight years together, Aguilera seems to hint that she's been on the verge breaking f their relationship at times.
“My forever and my end My forgiveness and my sin I have sacrificed the most my youth Is it treason? Is it true? That the worst I won't undo Only enemy I have in love is you”
In what seems to be a twisted love letter to Hollywood, Christina seems to admit that to follow her passions she needs to accept the dark sides the industry.
“So tired painting all this makeup 'Cause it won't hide my deep cuts Eyes open but can't see Mouth open but can't speak I'm facing the mirror”
A lyric that may have inspired her minimal-makeup looks for this era, “Maria” sees Christina knowing that she had the power to make changes and share herself more, but was not.
“The more I stay in this madness The more the hurt is my comfort and release And maybe I'm just too damaged To really know what's good for me”
“Masochist” touches on an attraction to a toxic relationship, something longtime Xtina fans will know she's touched on in “Walk Away,” a standout ballad from 2002's Stripped.
10. “Unless It's With You”
“I've been thinking a lot about the way that people change The most beautiful beginnings can go down in flames It's inevitable, and that's what's got me so afraid I'd rather be alone”
As a shape-shifting chameleon an artist herself, Christina thinking about people's transformations and changes through the years inevitably paints her hesitancy to commitment and marriage on the LP's closing track.