'Back to Basics' sees Christina Aguilera appear before us in somewhat confused state, paying homage to everyone from Aretha Franklin to... well, herself.
Initially it seems like part of Aguilera is trying to break away from her old image here, with some inflections from the 1920s creeping into the mix, to great effect. But another big part is trying desperately not to alienate her fanbase and to cling on to them with tracks like 'Still Dirrty', which seem desperate to prove that she is still the leather hotpants-wearing type.
At points you feel that she is trying to too hard to be everything to everyone and the result is an album full of conflicting styles, which is ultimately too heavy on the needy self-praise with tracks like 'Thank You', which ends up seeming more like 'Thank Me'.
Where Aguilera shines is on Disc Two, as the music conjures up images of the burlesque dancers, circus rings and smoke-filled clubs of yesteryear. 'Welcome' and 'Candyman' see her at her very best this time around but are unequalled on this album.
When she's good Christina Aguilera is very good but when she's repetitive in style she's just far too much so and quickly ends up fraying the nerve ends with her high-pitched solos.
If you're a fan of the vocal acrobatics that Aguilera is renowned for then there's plenty of that here to keep you tuned in. Sure, there are some get-up-and-dance tracks, such as hit single 'Ain't No Other Man' but it's very much a case of playing it safe with more of the same - a shame coming from a once risqué artist, who seemed to poke fun from making elastic bands out of social boundaries.