Wow, Christina Aguilera really picked the exact right moment to return with a Kanye West-produced comeback single. Her timing could not be any better. Aguilera hasn’t released a new album since 2012’s Lotus, and she’s spent the intervening years as a judge (or, in the show’s parlance, coach) on NBC’s massively popular singing-competition show The Voice. But she’s been seeding a comeback for a while. And next month, she’ll release her new LP Liberation. And she went and got Kanye West involved with it.
West’s beat for “Accelerate,” an urgently panting sex song, is a squirming, wriggling, insistent thing. It takes its cues from old-school Chicago techno and electro, with its electronic bassline explicitly calling back to acid house. Kanye collaborators Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz are on the track, as well, with 2 Chainz contributing a commanding guest verse and Ty$ urging Aguilera on with fired-up ad-libs. It’s a pretty good song! You should not be shocked to learn that Kanye West knows how to produce nervy, intense pop music, and Aguilera, who almost comes off as a guest on her own song, sounds completely in control of her insane vocal gifts.
The video, directed by fashion photographer Zooey Grossman, verges on NSFW, with Aguilera covering her nipples with black tape and getting some kind of oil or honey poured all over her. But it’s not porny, like the videos Aguilera was releasing in her “Dirrty” era. It’s stark and edited in disorienting ways. Aguilera is the only person in the video. Check it out below.
Liberation is out 6/15 on RCA.