It’s not often that I’ll see a scantily clad young woman on TV and be disgusted, but Christina Aguilera has recently broken down that barrier for me. Her new “sexier” image is one of the biggest mistakes the music industry has ever perpetrated (and I’m well aware of Incubus).
I’m sure most of you have been subjected to the video for Aguilera’s new song “Dirrty.” You will not find a more aptly titled music video. It contains imagines of Aguilera dry humping (presumably) various dancers and boxing another girl, for some reason, and ends with Christina getting spanked. Classy. Aguilera is eagerly showing off her new look to anyone willing to look. She’s appearing in Rolling Stone (on the cover, naked, except for a well-placed guitar) and set to appear in the next issue of Blender.
So, why is she getting fashion tips from hookers? She says she felt chafed under the pressure of her record company to maintain a certain image. “To keep my own sanity, regardless of where the music industry was going to go, I needed to be myself,” she told CNN.
If this is yourself, Christina, I suggest you get some psychological help (I’m sure she’s reading this). Then get some real clothes. I think it’s funny that for all her talk about being herself, her video takes the imagery of Britney’s “Slave 4 U” video and amps it up a notch. Way to be original.
What makes this shift to skank-hood so aggravating for me is that I think Christina Aguilera is talented. Out of all the midriff mafia that inexplicably shot to stardom in the last few years, Aguilera’s voice was head and shoulders above any of them. Her range is really impressive.
Unfortunately, her talent is being overshadowed by her need to demonstrate how much she’s grown up and prattle on about her various body piercings. I’m aware of the fact that making it in the music industry is difficult and that doing something to stand out is occasionally necessary. But Christina Aguilera, unlike many people, has the talent to get attention without the tacky videos and barely-there wardrobe.
I question how much of what she is doing is genuine and what is simply a (mis) calculated publicity stunt. I do understand her desire to avoid being lumped in with the pop scene.
However, there are better ways to break out of the mold, the first of which is by doing different material, songs that show off how well you can sing (to be fair, I haven’t heard her entire album yet).
If you’re like me, you’re wondering what RCA Records chairman Robert Jamieson told CNN about the video for “Dirrty.” He says it’s “no different than what Madonna has done or what Cher has done. The greatest artists in our lifetime are artists who, in many ways, are controversial and outspoken.”
This is wrong for two reasons. One, Cher and Madonna are not artists. Two, great artists are able to create controversy without calculation, or at least can do it in a more clever manner. I’ve seen NASA launches with less calculation than Christina’s shift.
Playing up sexuality is the lowest common denominator. It’s a tactic used by people who have nothing else to offer, like Madonna and Cher.
My biggest hope here is that there’s a big enough backlash that Christina will tone it down for the future. Even though she says this is closer to herself, I do not buy that. I think she could be persuaded to knock off the vulgarity and focus on singing again.
Someone should also remind her that there is only supposed to be one “r” in “Dirrty.”
Chris Ricketts is a junior majoring in English.firstname.lastname@example.org