On her new album, "Bionic" (RCA), the sensual soul she breathes into the quiet-storm ballad "Sex for Breakfast" and the yearning she uses to warm up the electro "Lift Me Up" prove it.
So why does she waste so much of "Bionic" hiding her talents in crass dance-pop odes to her nether regions (the current single "Woohoo") and up-tempo throwaways, including the title track?
Aguilera should know that making her voice trill so that it sounds like a squeaking door is a bad idea in the otherwise lovely "You Lost Me." To make it worse, she revisits the vocal tic in the Katy-Perry-knock-off "I Hate Boys."
Aguilera should know that lines like "I'm your supplier of lust, love and fire tonight," from "Desnudate," can't be taken seriously, especially when followed by a chant of "Get naked!" Yet, there it is, along with the faux beefing in "Not Myself Tonight" and the ridiculously half-baked "Glam," which sashays from one dance cliche to the next, while advising, "Don't let the clothes wear you!" and, later, "Now snap!"
Aguilera had a lot of good collaborators on "Bionic," including M.I.A. on the quirky "Elastic Love" and Le Tigre on the thrillingly poppy "My Girls." But, too often, the pieces don't fit. She should know it's a thin line between "Bionic" and scrap heap.