Monday, May 3, 2010

Poor Christina Aguilera. She's Not Herself Tonight, and No One Cares.

Did you hear the big news?

What big news?

The big news that Christina Aguilera had a brand-new music video debut on Friday!

Uh. No, I didn't.

Well, it was supposed to be a big deal. Just Jared was atingle with anticipation over all the sure-to-occur "controversy" on the 27th of April.
Christina Aguilera is sure to spark some controversy with her new music video, “Not Myself Tonight.”

Set inside a church, the 29-year-old singer dances away in some lingerie and other skimpy outfits while surrounded by a few shirtless muscular male dancers. Watch the ten-second teaser below!

Christina Aguilera, looking for controversy.

Yes, there was a "teaser" for this "controversial" video. Here it is:

And of course all weekend, it's all anyone could talk about. Did you see that sexy Christina Aguilera video? What-- you didn't? How could you miss it? It was all over-- well, anyway, here it is (NSFW-- because it's so, you know, edgy):

Sexy dancing in church! PVC fetish attire! That is edgy. I mean, it was edgy. Back in maybe 1986.

She is trying too hard. Ms. Aguilera has always been in someone else's shadow. Her song "Genie in a Bottle" came almost a year after Britney Spears's "Baby One More Time," and it felt downright tame by comparison. The line "I'm a genie in a bottle, you gotta rub me the right way" sounded, well, artificial and strained in context. It didn't help that whoever was designing her "look" didn't exactly have his/her finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. Check her out in the video:

She looks like a typical teenaged girl. She probably even used her own clothes for that video. I bet she picked the locations. "I'd like to sing at the beach! Or at a cool beach house! That would be, like, so cool!" Now check out the video for "Baby One More Time":

Ms. Spears looks like a dirty old man fantasy. Naughty schoolgirl with wide, innocent eyes. Dancing in a school hallway with other naughty schoolgirls. A dirty old man created her look. A dirty old man dressed her. A dirty old man chose the location.

Dirty old men run the world.

Both Ms. Aguilera's and Ms. Spears's handlers attempted to sexualize teenage girls. Ms. Spears's handlers exhibited significantly less shame. Ms. Aguilera's people gave her the song, the much dirtier song lyrically, but they pulled back in the video.

Ms. Aguilera hasn't recovered. She's always been in someone's shadow. Ms. Spears, usually. Remember when Britney Spears kissed Madonna on stage at the MTV video music awards? That was all over the news at the time. It's still fondly remembered today.
Madonna and Britney Spears' infamous smooch at the MTV Video Music Awards has been voted the top kiss of the decade.

The two superstars made headlines around the world after they puckered up at the annual ceremony in 2003, and U.K. department store Selfridges has branded the kiss the most iconic of the 2000s.
There's just one problem with that, and it's illustrated by the photo that accompanies the article:

That's right. Christina Aguilera was part of that Madonna-Britney Spears performance. She even got a kiss from Madonna. But no one remembers that. All anyone was talking about was Madonna kissing Britney.

Christina might as well not have been there.

And today, it's Lady GaGa. Back in March, she released a video for a song called "Telephone." You probably heard about that. It was a sensation.
When was the last time a pop video became a global talking point? Lady GaGa’s all-singing, all-dancing, lesbian-prison-sex and mass-murder promo for Telephone has stirred up the kind of pop sensation not seen for a decade or more. It has featured on television news bulletins and the front pages of newspapers, as well as predictably tearing through the internet, breaking records on YouTube, trending on Twitter and inspiring frame-by-frame analysis and vigorous pro and anti blog commentary.

The video was ubiquitous for awhile. Here it is:

It got a couple of reactionary writers over at the Huffington Post absolutely batsh*t livid about what it was doing to-- well, the children, of course:
With all the press it's getting, Lady Gaga's latest video offering ("Telephone") hardly needs elaboration here: Naked girl-on-girl-in-prison soft porn sprinkled with violence, a mass murder fantasy and, of course, ample product placement. Ms. Gaga manages to foist it on our kids in the name of "art" with the tacit approval of culture critics who apparently fear political incorrectness if they go against the trend.

Lady Gaga may be a talented singer and pianist, but when she makes the jump from wild theatrics and sexually-charged lyrics to releasing a video soaked in sexploitation--the complete reification of women as sexual objects in accordance with pornographic stereotypes that the women's movement thought it had put to rest 30 years ago--doesn't someone have to stand up to the Gaga juggernaut and ask if this is really art or rather vulgar media manipulation in the service of selling her product?

Who decreed that the highest bidder (read: the product sponsors who pay for such videos and media moguls who stand to profit) should be allowed to impose violent sexual conditioning on our kids? (To argue that it's intended as adult fare is to ignore that kids are a significant chunk of her audience--and any parent of a 12-17 year old who pretends they can censor what their kids watch on YouTube is living in a dream world.)
Christina Augilera was hoping against hope for that kind of reaction. Instead, she's gotten, well, eh. She's talking to Access Hollywood about how she's "not a cookie-cutter soccer mom."
“Mama still has to be me,” the singer told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson in an exclusive visit to the set of the “Not Myself Tonight” music video. “I never claimed to be a cookie-cutter soccer mom. That’s all good for some people. Not for me.”
Wait a second. That doesn't sound edgy at all. In fact, that sounds like the opposite of edgy. It's certainly the opposite of the sentiment expressed in the "Not Myself Tonight" video. You know, the line where Ms. Aguilera states, quite plainly, "The old me's gone I feel brand new and if you don't like it f*ck you."

That line encapsulates the problem, actually. It's not that people don't like it. It's that they just don't care. Which is far worse. Even her fans are losing interest.
Christina Aguilera is bringing dirty back with the video for her new single, 'Not Myself Tonight,' ditching the motherly, good-girl image she cultivated following her raunchy buttless chaps days. Christina sings that she's "not the same girl" ... and maybe she isn't, because despite our longtime love for her -- and her videos -- we can't help but feel like we're looking at an over-sexed stunt when really all we want is our gorgeous, sultry Christina back. Or, in more song-appropriate terminology, we want Christina, not X-Tina.
X-Tina is what Ms. Aguilera once called herself, back when she was dirty. Or dirtier. Her "buttless chaps" days:

She is an attractive looking woman. I mean, I really think she's hot. Fantastically hot. That's probably the main reason I watched the new video. Actually, to be honest, I didn't watch it all the way through. I got bored. It's not aimed at me, of course-- I mean, I got excited over Joan Armatrading's new album, for crying out loud-- but I do listen to new stuff. I like some of Lady GaGa. I like M.I.A. Sometimes I'll hear something that the kids consider "hep," and I'll stop listening to Ms. Armatrading, or Warren Zevon, or Steely Dan, or Kirsty MacColl, or Richard Thompson long enough to at least give it a try.

But "Not Myself Tonight" barely even registers as a song. It certainly has the elements of a song. There is sound that fits the broadest definition of "music," and there are some words that form "lyrics," but other than that... Eh. I have no emotional connection to the song. It means less than nothing to me, and I truly get the impression that it means less than nothing to Ms. Aguilera.

She sings "f*ck you" in the song, but then says “I never claimed to be a cookie-cutter soccer mom. That’s all good for some people. Not for me" to Access Hollywood.

It's almost as if someone told her, now that she has a child, she has to be "defiant," and "edgy." And then came up with a concept for a music video. Then wrote her a song and presented it to her five minutes before she sang it.

But even now, Ms. Aguilera is being upstaged. It's been a month and half since Lady GaGa's "Telephone" video. She, and the record label, probably thought they had a nice big window in which to introduce their own bit of "controversy." But then, some soldiers in Afghanistan decided to do their own version of "Telephone."
In what may be the most entertaining music video homage ever shot in a war zone, a group of American soldiers stationed at a military base in southwest Afghanistan star in a lip-synced version of Lady Gaga's hit "Telephone." The video, which yesterday began to spread online, was filmed recently inside what appears to be a garage at the Forward Operating Base in Farah Province. Posted to YouTube a week ago, the 3:45 production--complete with props, signs, and costumes--features an all-male cast from the 82nd Airborne Division.
Again, Christina Aguilera would probably give just about anything to get the kind of publicity that the American soldiers have gotten.

Another problem for Ms. Aguilera? The soldiers in Afghanistan made a far better, far more insightful, clever, and ironic video than she did. It even tops the original Lady GaGa version.

Ms. Aguilera was attempting to make a bold statement about empowerment, I suppose. What she did felt like a tired publicity grab. What the soldiers in Afghanistan did was effortless, by juxtaposing the frivolity of popular culture against war in the Middle East, they've made the far bolder statement.

Poor Christina Aguilera. It's not that we don't like you, we're just at a par-tay.

Buttless chaps pic source.


A.Jaye said...

That Lady Gaga video was controversial? It was also crap. I bumped into it on MySpace and wondered what the hell was going on. I kept staring at Beyonce tho'. Bit of a sort that one.

So does this mean Gaga trumps Bey or is it just Bey escapes the bad publicity. Like she did with the Kanye thing?

She's lucky she's married otherwise I might start stalking.

Jeff Cooke said...

Christina's still got it and blows "Lady" Gag Gag away. Christina is more about The ART and the VOCAL TALENT rather than the retarded spectacle that is Lady Ga Ga. And I love Britney but Christina can out-sing Britney without breaking a sweat. Still one of the best vocalists of ALL time and "if you don't like it fuck you."