As a 90s baby, I will always love Xtina, but “Accelerate” falls flat. It’s her song, but she was more forefront as a featured artist on Diddy’s “Tell Me” than she is here. The melody is boring and doesn’t showcase her talent in the least, and this isn’t helped by the almost mind-blowingly terrible lyrics: “Accelerate, c’mon babe, pick up your speed / Stamina, fill me up, that’s what I need.” Christina’s always been sexual, but this is just…gross? unnecessary? unrealistic? makes me feel like she’s talking to a horse?
The track starts with a rather promising rap riff and drum beat, but then suddenly breaks and switches to a completely different beat when Aguilera comes in for no apparent reason. The melody of the verses is much closer to rapping than singing, which would be fine if it added to the song at all or if the chorus allowed her to showcase her talent, but neither option happens. The beat awkwardly 180s basically every time the performer changes, and it makes for a very jolty, underwhelming listening experience.
Maybe I’m just upset because I find Aguilera’s voice to be her sexiest assets and it’s basically extinguished from this tune, but, from beginning to end, I’m just waiting for “Accelerate” to end. Even in the absence of melody, Aguilera’s voice is still as smooth as butter, and it doesn’t mesh well with Ty Dolla $ign’s constant rasp. Ty is great, but this combination is quite odd. It’s like if you thought you were using a washcloth and then realized you were rubbing the scrubber side of a kitchen sponge all over your genitals.
This song is awful, BUT — and this is a big “but” — the song paired with the music video is a highly artistic and compelling experience. So much so that I went through the trouble of embedding the video into this post.
I would highly suggest listening to the song without watching the video first and then going back and watching the video. I don’t normally watch music videos because the number of times a video had actually added to my experience of the song has been absolutely zero…until now. The video is basically just a conglomeration of highly sensual shots of Aguilera, but it’s edited in a way that makes it truly art. It reminds me of performance porn; if you take any individual part by itself, it’s quite terrifyingly bad, but, as a whole, it’s a beautiful statement. In terms of the exact statement “Accelerate” is making, I have no idea, but it’s definitely doing something, even if that’s just making me feel some type a’ way. If anyone has thoughts, lmk.
Since the days of “Dirrty,” Xtina has always been a beacon of female sexuality, and I commend her for taking charge of her body and owning her power; but while “Accelerate” is a great piece of art, she is, ultimately, a musician, and the listening experience on this track is not up to par with her abilities.