“I’ve never stopped being an Aguilera no matter what happens or what’s hot or trending,” Christina said in a recent interview about her new EP, La Fuerza. The pop icon embraces her Ecuadorian roots on her first major Latin release in more than two decades. The EP’s title translates to “The Strength,” which Aguilera flexes with her powerhouse vocals across six new songs that span pop, ranchera, and reggaetón music influences.
Aguilera made her debut in the Latin market in 2000, with Mi Reflejo, which included Spanish translations of her hits from her debut album alongside a few covers and original songs. In the years that followed, Aguilera intermittently dropped songs in Spanish, including the Bionic standout “Desnudate,” and the breathtaking “Hoy Tengo Ganas de Ti” with Mexican crooner Alejandro Fernández.
Aguilera returned to Miami, where she recorded Mi Reflejo as a teen, to work on La Fuerza. Now, as a 41-year-old woman, she shares the spotlight with the next generation of Latina acts on the mighty “Pa Mis Muchachas.” Aguilera is joined by Chicana pop star Becky G and Argentine artists Nathy Peluso and Nicki Nicole. Backed by Cuban guaracha with a twist of trap beats, Aguilera fiercely leads the flirty Latina empowerment anthem.
The ballads are another highlight of La Fuerza, where Aguilera’s powerful vocals soar. In the piano-led “Somos Nada,” Aguilera weathers the elements and heartbreak to find her inner strength to move on. The fittingly titled “La Reina” is the best song on the EP; on it, Aguilera issues a response to the king of ranchera music Vicente Fernández‘s “El Rey.” With the raw emotion that underscores ranchera, Aguilera belts in Spanish, “Although you are still king, you’re nothing without the queen.” Her vocal prowess is extraordinary in any language.
Aguilera dabbles in reggaetón alongside Puerto Rican superstar Ozuna in the sexy “Santo,” proving she’s still dirrty as she pleads with the saints to save her from a life of eternal perreando (a.k.a. twerking). “Ya Llegué” is another alluring romp, on which Aguilera evokes “Genio Atrapado,” the Spanish version of “Genie in a Bottle.” Out of the reggaetón songs, only “Como Yo” feels underwhelming and dated. It’s a shame for filler to exist on this already short EP. La Fuerza is the “first chapter” of three Spanish EPs that Aguilera will release throughout the year. It’s a good first effort, but working within the sonically expansive and culturally rich Latin music scene, hopefully there’s more variety on the next installments.