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Producer Linda Perry—she’s conjured hits for Pink and Gwen Stefani, among others—has come to the defense of Christina Aguilera, for whom she helmed the 2003 smash “Beautiful,” noting that the recent flack her musical collaborator has endured is nothing new for Xtina.

“Christina’s always had the bad rap,” says Perry of the star, who has been roundly criticized in the press for her under-performing albumBionic and film debut Burlesque and that absent-minded National Anthem. “As far as I’ve known her, everybody’s always given her a hard time. She’s a different little bird.”

Perry wasn’t trying to stir up sympathy for the full-throated pop star, though. In fact, according to Perry, Aguilera “definitely doesn’t care” what critics have to say about her.

“You know how some people say ‘I don’t care,’ and they really do?” asks Perry. “I can tell you that Christina really doesn’t care… because she learned very early on that critics are critics. People will say whatever they want and it’s up to her to decide what is the truth.”

According to Perry, Aguilera wasn’t even surprised that sales of Bionic—which Perry wrote a song for—were sluggish.

“She told me ‘I know this Bionic record is not going to be a big record because I’m gonna try and do some different things and I don’t know what’s gonna happen but this is what I wanna do,” said Perry, paraphrasing Xtina. “It’s not all about selling a bazillion records to her. She just wants to be able to stand behind it. In the end she did say to me, ‘Maybe I did release the Bionic record too soon. Oh well. Now, I wanna make a rock record!’ I was like ‘Oh, God!’ She’s gonna take everybody for a ride.”

If Perry’s defense of Aguilera seems like par for the course—she’s not going to slam an ongoing collaborator—the former 4 Non Blondes lead singer hasn’t been pulling any punches when it comes to talking about her former band.

“I wasn’t really a big fan of my band,” Perry admitted.

“I didn’t like the record at all. I did love ‘What’s Up?‘ but I hated the production. When I heard our record for the first time I cried. It didn’t sound like me,” she said. “I wanted to say, ‘We’re a bad-ass cool band. We’re not that fluffy polished bullsh*t that you’re listening to.’”

Come on, Linda: millions of fluff-loving karaoke singers can’t be wrong. What do you think though, readers? Was Bionic never meant to succeed in the traditional commercial-pop sense? Does Christina seem on track for a career resurgence, with her upcoming judgeship on The Voice?

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