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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 17 August 2006
I have to say before i start that this normally isnt the type of artist i listen to. im very guitar driven/obsessed i love the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Santana. But there is something about christina that just stands out from the rest. This album is sung which such enthusiasm for the genres she clearly loves and let me tell you there is variety a plenty here. She touchs on the great classic genres such as blues and jazz, old style RnB and maybe even a hint of Gospel and 70's Disco.

this all adds up to something attractively fresh. Fresh is the key in this day an age too many of her fellow performers stickin with the same formula for guaranteed success she constantly goes out of the way to find something different which is risky but she pulls it off again. simply beautiful!
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on 4 September 2006
Disk One:

01:Intro (Back To Basics) - Nice little intro, nothing special but I assume she'll keep the into's coming with every album: (6/10)

02:Makes Me Wanna Pray - Love the gospel vibe, the vocals are amazing although OTT but I like: (7/10)

03:Back In The Day - One of my favourates from disk one, fresh with a great vibe - it doesn't get much better: (9/10)

04:Ain't No Other Man - I've over-exposed myself to this track now, but a great comeback: (8/10)

05:Understand - I simply love it, such a great r&b ballad a true highlight: (9/10)

06:Slow Down Baby - The most urban track and it took me a while to get into but good enough to keep on listening: (7/10)

07:Oh Mother - heartfelt and moving, prehaps my favourate from disk 1: (10/10)

08:F.U.S.S (Interlude) - Um, lyrically hillarious and loving her attitude but why is it here!? Not necessary: (4/10)

09:On Our Way - Nice vibe but kinda average for her, I can still listen too it with ease though: (6/10)

10:Without You - Loving how different it is to the rest of the disk, has that mellowness I love: (8/10)

11:Still Dirrty - has one of the most addictive beats on the album, a good carry on from a classic pop song: (8/10)

12:Here To Stay - I hope she is! Although a weaker moment, its undoubtedly Aguilera with the empowering lyrics: (6/10)

13:Thank You(Dedication To Fans...) - well I like the beginning and the parts where she sings...: (2/10)

Disk Two:

01:Enter The Circus - Just Genius: (10/10)

02:Welcome - love the lyrics, gives us a true taster of what her life is like as an entertainer: (8/10)

03:Candyman - fun, different and sexy. what more do you want from a record? Huge vocals and no doubt a future single: (9/10)

04:Nasty Naughty Boy - Oh my oh my, one of the best and most daring on the album. love it: (9/10)

05:I Got Trouble - such a great vibe, lyrically good and vocally different. thumbs up: (7/10)

06:Hurt - Christina's new masterpeice, touching and moving - ballads don't get much better lyrically or vocally: (10/10)

07:Mercy On Me - Such a good pleading for forgiveness song, something different from her which I like: (8/10)

08:Save Me From Myself - My vocal highpoint, so restrained something we aren't use to from her but it gives her a fragile edge and is just beautiful: (10/10)

09:The Right Man - Nothing wrong with this track, but I don't feel it as much as the others: (6/10)

-- Bonus Video --

A nice little extra, her relationship with her produces seem so fab hopefully we can expect more from the interesting combination of Christina, DJ Premier and Linda Perry!

Final Word:

A great effort in my opinion, the lyrics on the album are superior to most coming from artists of her generation and vocally she's on top form - superb production from DJ Premier and Linda Perry makes a varity which I love! You can tell that Christina's taken her time and worked hard to get everything as good as she could, yes a couple of duds are thrown in but the whole package is just excellent. The glossy booklet with the lyrics and great artwork makes it an album to buy rather then download!

Best Tracks: Back In The Day, Understand, Oh Mother, Candyman, Hurt & Save Me From Myself.

Worst Tracks: F.U.S.S & Thank You
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If you're not someone who's willing to take Christina Aguilera seriously, look away now. The following is definitely not for you.

I resisted buying this collection for a long time, because I'd liked Stripped so much that I knew I was expecting too much for a repeat. I was right, but the outcome is not all bad.

After the Intro, Makes Me Wanna Pray kicks off proceedings with a belting gospel sound, with Christina accompanied by Steve Winwood, who people of my generation will know from the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic.

Next up, Back In The Day is a dedication to the artistes who have presumably inspired the collection, opening with what sounds like a sample from Neneh Cherry's Buffalo Stance, and with voiceovers reminiscent of Greg Osby's Honor The Example from 3-D Lifestyles, though there are probably more people get namechecks - Miles, Trane and Otis Redding to name but three. If the song is successful in turning Aguilera's audience on to any one of the people namechecked then it's all right with me.

Understand samples the bluesy 1967 recording Nearer To You by soul diva Betty Harris, in which she was partnered by Allen Toussaint, which complements the main song well, but the sample also makes you want to hear more.

Oh Mother and Still Dirrty explore subjects Aguilera has tackled before - domestic violence and hypocrisy.

CD2 opens with a couple of circus-themed pieces, the first of which bizarrely brought to mind Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Karn Evil 9 (I'm sure Christina's never even heard of it!). The second, Welcome, is a good song, and uses Aguilera's cast-iron voice to full effect.

The set then moves on to three 1940s-style bump'n'grind songs. The first of these, Candyman, sounds maybe like the Andrews Sisters, but with lyrics that would have made the girls blush. Nasty Naughty Boy is like Cab Calloway meets Marilyn Monroe. It's about as good a tribute to Cab as Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby on Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive (recommended to anyone who wants more of this kind of thing).I Got Trouble, reminding me lyrically of Neneh Cherry's Trouble Man, and maybe inspired by Billie Holliday, finishes off the triptych. In its day, this kind of music was considered more risqué than anything on this record would be today by a mainstream audience - jazz, like rhythm'n'blues and rock'n'roll was originally, after all, slang for sex, and polite society in the forties was bigger than it is today and didn't talk about such things. Aguilera does a good job of inserting some of the risqué flavour with lyrics like "Makes the panties drop" and "I'm gonna give you a taste/Of the sugar below my waist."

Hurt, which follows, is more in a more familiar Aguilera style, as are the remainder. A moving song, well sung as you'd expect, and the video's good, too.

There are only two low points on the collection.

At the end of CD 1 there's a rather tasteless piece of apparent self-regard; supposedly voicemessages from fans, they're kind of sickly, and in a couple of cases quite worrying, as in the case of the boy who claims that because of Aguilera he now takes no notice of what others say. Is that really what she wants to say, or is she really saying we should think for ourselves?

And the final track on CD 2 seems like Aguilera making a bid for the wedding song market: The Right Man? Do me a favour! Who's this a tribute to? Susan Maugham? Annoyingly, though, it's really well sung (well, Susan Maugham could at least sing), so it's hard to be too cross, and I wouldn't be surprised to find it's going down well with brides-to-be.

Elsewhere, I've slated Joss Stone for conservatism on Introducing, and compared her material unfavourably with Stripped. Well, Christina hasn't quite managed herself to equal Stripped but, of the four I'm giving Back to Basics, one star is for taking a risk on putting together an eclectic package which manages to combine very nicely some nods to the past and some expressions of the present. This is a bold attempt at a tribute to the people Aguilera purportedly looks up to, and you have to respect the effort. She could easily have remade Stripped and cleaned up, but instead has gone out on the edge a little. I don't know much about Christina Aguilera beyond the songs I've heard and the videos I've seen, but I'd like to think there's a sign here that she wants to be more than just an entertainer. I hope that doesn't make me delusional.
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on 28 August 2006
I am a Christina Fanatic! So, i'm easily pleased and love everything she does.

I loved stripped when it came out and still do, but some songs tend to have a unpolished feel to them and she likes to warble and trill all over them. But, not so much on this album. I can tell she's thought out carefully what she's singing. some songs she does go mad on, but some she holds back completely! giving them a timeless quality.

I must say I personally prefer the second disc. The songs a far stronger and can be listened to over and over and over.

The first disc has a lot of up tempo songs on, which are great, but with a concept album of 20's, 30's and 40's, you can't go in drastic new directions from the previous track.

Best songs...

disc 1

'still dirrty'

'Makes me wanna pray'

'without you'

disc 2

all of them!

BUY IT!!!!
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on 16 August 2006
This album is fantastic! It's completely different to what you hear out there. It has been 4 years since 'Stripped', so my expectations were obviously going to be high and I wasn't dissapointed at all.

The first CD is a mix of jazzy horns and fantastic vocals with a RnB beat or Feel to it, something edgy and modern. My favourite 5 would have to be Slow Down Baby, Without You, Here to stay, Still Dirrty and Oh Mother.

Disc 1

1)Intro (Back To Basics)...8/10

2)Makes Me Wanna Pray......10/10

3)Back In The Day..........9/10

4)Aint No Other Man........10/10

5)Understand...............9/10

6)Slow Down Baby...........10/10

7)Oh Mother................10/10

8)F.U.S.S (Interlude)......9/10

9)On Our Way...............8.5/10

10)Without You.............10/10

11)Still Dirrty............10/10

12)Here To Stay............10/10

13)Thankyou................8/10

The Second Disc is Old School, Classic 20,30,40's Music from the Upbeat and Fun Candyman to the muffled vocals of I Got Trouble. I prefer the first Cd but this Cd is still Brilliant in every way! My Favourite 5 would be, Candyman, Hurt, The Right man, Save me from myself and I Got Trouble!

Disc 2

1)Enter the Circus.....9/10

2)Welcome..............9/10

3)Candyman.............10/10

4)Nasty Naughty Boy....8/10

5)I Got Trouble........9/10

6)Hurt.................10+/10

7)Mercy On Me..........8/10

8)Save Me From Myself..9.5/10

9)The Right Man........10/10

If you're looking for a CD that you can just play in the car and never have to skip and you can just enjoy, this is for you! If your looking for completely Old School Jazz then dont get this neither if your looking for something to dance too! I can see why she separated the Cd's for different sounds and it is fantastic! If you're an aguilera fan, then you'll love this and even if you're not then still get it! Seriously it's nothing like anything else at the moment. Im sure you'll enjoy it very much! I give it 10/10 - FANTASTIC! GET IT NOW!
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on 3 September 2006
This album is such a huge departure from her what we normally hear from Christina that I was intrigued to see if she would be able to pull off going `Back to Basics'. My opinion.....not only did she pull it off she nailed it to the wall!!!

There's several different themes going on in this album which you wouldn't think would work but they just do. `Makes me wanna pray' makes me picture Christina leading the church choir. Listening to jazz inspired numbers such as `Back in the Day', `Welcome', `Nasty Naughty Boy' and `I got trouble' you can almost imagine her sitting in a smoky jazz club in a slinky dress. Dancy jazzy number such as `Ain't no other man' and `Candyman' will keep your foot tapping and bopping around your living room. And then to confuse you even more `Oh Mother', `Hurt', `Save me from myself' and `The Right Man' are ballads.....but ballads like you've never heard them before......there's such feeling in them that you can picture the story playing out as you listen.

This album reminds me a lot of Pink's `I'm not dead' where she mixed several styles and showed off her amazing talent. Christina does the same in `Back to Basics'. Her vocal range is tested in every direction and she just nailed every song to perfection. If there's one Christina Aguilera album you should buy this year it should be this one. It's amazing to say the least.
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on 10 August 2006
Well, what a great album from Mrs Bratman (Christina Aguilera)! There are a wide range of songs, from the dancey uptempos, to the soulful ballads. This album has a little something for everyone! And having the album soread onto two discs equals twice the fun.

Disc 1 , which is mainly produced by DJ Premier, starts with the DJ scratches and layers of people talking about the "dirrty" woman herself. Very reminiscent of the "Stripped" intro, but so much better. Then, it breaks down into a soulful, chilled beat, where Aguilera sings about the "jazz-makes that inspired her".

Then we lead into the gospel-choir fuelled, "Makes Me Wanna Pray". This song is very catchy and features Steve Winwood on the piano. An excellent collaboration in my opinion. The song has huge amounts of energy right from the beginning.

Then we go into "Back in the Day". This is one of the best songs on this side of the album. In it, she name checks various soul and blues singers which inspired her, such as Etta James and Otis Redding. The song is set over a smooth R'n'B beat and the sound of a cracklng record. The chorus is very poppy and set over the sound of record scratching.

Then, we go into the classic "Ain't No Other Man". This is the song of summer according to most people. The song screams, "Summer". Everyone will be dancing to this for years to come.

Next, is the soulful beats of Understand. Think Alicia Keys vs. Simon Webbe's "No Worries". Strange combination. but it definitely works! This song stays in your head once you have heard it.

"Slow Down Baby", follows, which is sure to be a hit, if released as a future single. The horn blasts set over a hip-hop beat are a great combination, and with Christina's belting voice over the top of this, make your ears want to listen.

Then, Oh Mother follows, which is an ode dedicated to her mother in the times of her domestic abuse. This song rings a tear to the eye, and is very sweet, with the xylophone in the verse. Its like a continuation of I'm OK, from "Stripped".

Then we have an interlude called F.U.S.S., which apparently stands for F*** U Scott Storch. He was a wrier and producer on her last album, but hasn't been invited back to do this one.

Then We have to mellow tunes called "On Our Way", and "Without You". These sound very alike, and are very chilled and easy to listen to.

Then after those two, we have a song called "Still Dirrty". This is a continuation of Dirrty, from her last album. However, it is different. There is a more jazzy feel to it, with these horn blasts. She quotes, " I still got that nasty in me, still got that dirrty degree". Along with "Back in the Day", this is the best song on this side of the album.

Then we have the poppy "Hre to Stay", which was used in the Pepsi commercials. However, the version which is on the album, is more jazzier to suit the vibe of the album. This song also is seen by sme to be a future single.

Then, Disc 1 finishes with the song "Thank You". This song is dedicated to all her fans out there (one of them including me!). She samples "Genie in a bottle", in the introduction of the track, and also uses fan's voice messages in the song. It is a moderately-paced song, which is a nice ending to Disc 1.

Disc 2, which is produced by Linda Perry, focuses more on the "throwback feel." It starts with the intro, "Enter the Circus", which merges into "Welcome". These songs are about how everything is not what it seems behind all the lights and make-up of the music industry. It refelcts a victorian circus theme, with Perry herself, showing off her circus ringleader skills.

Then, we go into the 2nd single, which is Candyman. This is very poppy, and really emphasises the throwback. Reminiscent of "Boogie Wugle Boogie Boy (Of Company B)", it has saucy lyrics like, "He's a one-stop shop, make my cherry pop". Oo-err.

Then, we have the burlesque number, "Nasty Naughy Boy". This is also very saucy showing that Christina still hasn't lost that 'dirrt'. She uses lyrics like, "I'm gonna give you a little tast, of the sugar below my waste". Its very relaxing, and has been recorded upclose on the mic.

Next, is the song that is used in the "Ain't No Other Man" video, called "I Got Trouble". Aguilera has recorded this song with a piece of cloth covering the mic to give the scratchy, muffled blues sound. This is also very relaxing, and has that throwback feel.

Hurt is next, which also should be a future single. It is a ballad.

Then we have "Mercy on Me", where she sings about her making a confesion. This should also be a future single, because of her amazingly strong vocals.

Then, there is the best song on Disc 2, "Save me From Myself". This is very sombre, and has a Norah Jones feel to it. Apaarently, he has recorded this song whilst drunk in whiskey. Very experimental!

Then we come to a close with the dramatic, "The Right Man". This is about her finding her husband and marrying him on her wedding day. Overall Disc 2 is very relaxing and full of nice trackes, which you could easy listen to.

The whole album overall, is absolutely brilliant. There isn;t a sing on there which fails to impress me. It should be one of this years biggest sellers.
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on 16 September 2006
I loved Christina's album stripped and was very excited about 'Back to Basics,' when I first heard some of the songs I thought they were a bit similar but once I listened to it more and more I really liked it. I would say that it's an album with something for everyone, if you liked stripped then you're sure to find songs on 'back to basics' that you will love. I love the fact that there are songs on this album like the ones on stripped but she has also broadened her style with completely new stuff. From other reviews I have read that state which are the best tracks on the album I do disagree on some which just shows that it really comes down to your own taste and opinion on the songs. I would really recommend buying it, I think a lot of the songs are fresh and new and once you get into it, you will be sure to have it repeat and loop! I have given it 5 stars for the fact that I have become addicted to it and have played a lot of the songs so many times, since I bought it it hasn't come out of my cd player!
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on 28 August 2006
I was very reluctant whether to buy this album or not as I didn't think Stripped was a very strong album and it also didn't help that the lead single 'Ain't No Other Man' wasn't very strong either. I listened to clips of the album instore and the clips sounded amazing, they all grabbed me instantly so I bought the album.

Both discs are different from one another and I can't decide which one I like best. Disc one has more of a modern and contempory feel to it but some tracks do have that old school vibe. The opening track 'Makes Me Wanna Pray' is instantly catchy and has a great beat behind it. It also has a gospel feel to it as well. Back In The Day is probably my favourite track on the whole album, the verses and chorus are just so catchy and the beat behind it is also great.

Other great upbeat tracks are Slow Down Baby and the Dirrty follow-up 'Still Dirrty' which is probably my second favourite track and it also sounds nothing like the 'Dirrty'

Of course disc one has its share of ballads such as the tearful 'Oh Mother' and 'Understand'. Not a bad track on disc one at all, but I would probably pick F.U.S.S & Thank You as my least favourites.

Disc Two has two amazing opening tracks, the intro 'Enter The Circus' and 'Welcome' and there loads of sounds going on in the background which is brilliant and still doesn't manage to overpower Christina's voice.

There aren't many upbeat tracks on this Disc but the best is probably 'Candyman' and the lyrics are excellent and it really has that 40's sound to it.

Other great tracks to mention are Nasty Naughty Boy which shows off an extremely sexy side to Christina. I Got Trouble is also very different to any of the other tracks on the whole album has it has the muffled sound to it and even though it's a very slow song, it's very catchy!

The tracks 'Hurt' and 'The Right Man' have really meaningful lyrics and really shows off Christina's voice to her best and at least one of them has to be singles.

Overall, this has got to be Christina's strongest offering yet. If, like me, you have been put off buying the album due to the lead single, don't be because the album is full of strong tracks! A well deserved UK #1 album for sure!
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2006
Whereas many reviews tend to take into account their view of Christina Aguilera as a person I think I have reviewed this CD very fairly focusing on the music.

There is a lot to like on this new two disk release from Aguilera. As promised the new CD pays homage to the blues and jazz music of the 30s and 40s, but that is not to say you should expect a completely retro sounding release - there are plenty of contemporary numbers not too disimilar from some of the offerings on 'Stripped'.

I preferred the second disk to the first, only because the second is where most of the retro-sounding songs are. Linda Perry's production is spot on for the sound Aguilera is going for. 'I Got Trouble' which can actually be heard at the end of the 'Ain't No Other Man' video sounds like it could have been recorded in the 40s. While there are plenty of fun numbers like 'Candyman', listeners hoping to hear Aguilera showcase her vocal range won't be disapointed. 'Hurt' is the 'Beautiful' of this new release while 'The Right Man' is truly an epic.

In conclusion the concept Aguilera has gone for in 'Back To Basics' is very refreshing to hear and proves her staying power as an artist. However, even though the two disks will be welcomed by Aguilera fans, for music fans it's a bit too much. I think this could have been a true masterpiece if it was carefully narrowed down to one CD. Don't let that put you off though - there's some good work here, and it's not as if you have to pay more because you are getting two disks. Enjoy!
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