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Christina Aguilera Keeps It (Shockingly) Simple On Gorgeous Re-Recording of A Great Big World’s “Say Something”

If you haven’t already heard the news, Legendtina recently broke into A Great Big World‘s recording studio, snatched their song “Say Something,” added her own personal “SAY!” to the production and gave it right back to them with a handwritten note that said “You’re welcome – XoXtina.”

But since this track — like her Catching Fire soundtrack addition, “We Remain” — is genuinely good, I’m going to drop the Legendtina and talk en serio about everyone’s favorite Lotus for a moment. (That being said, this is clearly a “Perfume” diversion attempt.)

Much like her off-the-charts brilliant “Castle Walls” with T.I. (still my go-to sad song, which absolutely should have been a worldwide smash single, #JusticeForCastleWalls), she’s left the insane screaming and over-the-top melismas for Lotus, opting instead to show off the simpler side of her voice. Even more impressively, Christina doesn’t even have her own verse or chorus — she resigns to delivering subtle, yet effective, backing vocals for the entirety of the re-recording. It’s only in the song’s final few moments that she allows that powerhouse pipes to blow in the background. And those whispers at the very end? “Say something, I’m giving up on you…” Gulp.

That slow, sad piano melody. Those mournful strings. It’s a haunting production — made even better by the Stripped diva, proving once again that less is often more.

The audio is currently streaming exclusively at Entertainment Weekly, so head over there to listen.

“Say Something” will be released on November 5. (iTunes)