Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"


By Mark Abraham | 24 June 2006

Last week I took a potshot at the motives behind Aguilera’s move towards a twenties jazz-vibe for Back to Basics, but let’s be clear: “Ain’t No Other Man” is pretty hot. You can feel the smoke and bourbon dripping off the horn intro, and even if DJ Premier can’t quite maintain that swirl of interwar Manhattan through the course of the song, the way he slips razor-sharp horn stabs into a route of bubbling bongos keeps the thing thumping. Aguilera, as usual, starts at anybody else’s full-tilt, only getting more vocal as Premier shakes slap bass and funk guitar in his martini mixer, pouring them over the mix. The two-pitch horn chords punctuate Aguilera’s vocal lines; she uses them like saw horses to scale higher into her vocal range. The downside: the subject matter is about what you’d expect, and with or without her consent, and regardless of her actual desires, marketing types have carefully crafted Aguilera’s sexuality, which means her songs, to me, always come off pretty chaste.

Which leaves your opinion of that voice. Personally, I’m wondering how we’ve survived without an Aguilera joint on the radio since the 300th single from Stripped finally dropped more than a year ago. Others, I know, probably saw that as a reprieve, but let’s give her some room. There ain’t no other contemporary singer I can think of that can pull off this kind of shit (I’m looking at you, American Idols) and sometimes I just want to hear somebody who can sing this incredibly well.