I hate to associate Christina Aguilera with the word “flop.” It’s a word that has followed her since the beginning of this decade when she put out the commercial dud in 2010 that was Bionic. She proved a flop again with her 2012 follow-up Lotus, and it seems that Christina’s unlikely to shake off that association with her upcoming new album, given the first single is a grave disappointment.
Titled “Accelerate”, the four-minute song that begins with a tribal beat and a mumbled intro by either of the featured rappers (Ty Dolla $ign? 2 Chains? I can’t tell) and abruptly transitions at the fifteenth second, with Christina cutting in with her first line. I can forgive an ordinary verse, but the single’s chorus has no sticky melody.
“Accelerate” is easily Christina’s least catchy lead single, largely because it’s not a pop song per se. It’s a hip hop number stripped (no pun intended) of any pop friendliness. The beat is mellow and boring, ironic for a song which a turbo title. It doesn’t take you anywhere; there is no climax or enthusiasm in the track.
The song premiered directly with a music video on YouTube, and it’s drawn comparisons to Miley Cyrus for all that tongue-sticking, milk-licking glitter-lipping imagery. I haven’t been wowed by a music video in a while, and I suppose the launched it immediately with the song to boost first-week YouTube streams, so I shan’t complain, but the song remains an inherent problem.
I really want to support Christina. For all intents and purposes, I am a fan; somehow I’ve been revisiting her first album and putting it on consistent replay this past school year. The 2010s decade has been difficult, and this six-year wait has been excruciating for some fans, but if “Accelerate” is any indication of what to expect from her upcoming album Liberation, I’m not certain she’ll turn things around as the decade approaches its end.
And I’m not trying to be a hater: her numbers aren’t doing well. “Accelerate”‘s been out nearly a couple of days but it hasn’t broken the Top 10 on iTunes. I can go out on a limb and say that it won’t best “Not Myself Tonight”‘s peak position of #23 on the Billboard Hot 100.
I only have one question: Who (apart from Christina herself) thought this song was a good idea after a six-year hiatus?
UPDATE: After one full week of sales and streaming, “Accelerate” debuts at #24… on the Bubbling Under Hot 100, a chart extension of the Hot 100 which comprises twenty-five songs beneath the hundred positions that have never made the list.
Even “Change”, a charity single released in 2016 following the Orlando club shooting, debuted higher on the Bubbling Under chart, at #5. With “Accelerate”‘s music video already out and no performances announced to further push the single, I’m now changing predictions: the single will not enter the Hot 100 at all.
The acceleration towards commercial failure is all full throttle.