Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Open Letter to Christina Aguilera

Dear Christina Aguilera,

My name is LeAnna, but friends call me Mel. I've been an ardent fan of yours since I first heard "Genie In A Bottle" shortly after its formal debut on Top 40 radio more than 10 years ago. I'm proud to call myself a fan, as I feel your voice, your talent, your songwriting, they are all not just commendable, but rare, especially in the current talent pool that makes up the mainstream American music industry. Your seeming innate ability to express emotions regarding difficult subjects like divorce and abuse, as well as being willing to stand up and be a feminist, in an age where sexist lyrics abound, was something I always felt drawn to. I believe you vocally are the voice of my generation. 

I first heard "Genie In A Bottle" during the summer of 1999. I had just turned 12 at the time, and immediately fell in love with your voice and in turn your career. The span of your albums have been a bit of a soundtrack to my life over the past ten years, coming to head now as we speak. I'm currently on the verge of turning 23, and as a young woman myself, I feel it's time to voice my concern regarding your upcoming album effort.

You have stated that Bionic is lighter fare than what you've released in the past, that much of it is inspired from becoming a new mother to your gorgeous son and discovering that women themselves are truly super-"bionic" beings, being able to breathe life into another. This concept in itself is dazzling in mentality. Add to this that you have recruited the likes of Goldfrapp, Santigold, Sia, and so many others who I've only somewhat recently discovered in the years since your last album appearance with Back to Basics -- strong, intelligent, powerful women who have something to say -- made me only anticipate Bionic more and more as the days went on. Once again, you seemed to be on the cusp of something that would remain iconic in my life, an important footnote in my own autobiography.

Then I heard "Not Myself Tonight." I understand this was produced after the majority of Bionic was finished. I realize it's a dance, urban jam, and you are admittedly "not" yourself. However, I couldn't help but feel cheated. I had this mentality that Bionic would be sweepy, epic, unique, and deeply personal. None of this is the case with "Not Myself Tonight." It's a fun dance number to be sure, and I realize none of us should take ourselves too seriously, but you are a mother now, and a role model to so many, whether you'd care to undertake this role or not. I for one always applauded your statements about female sexuality, but I also believe there is a way to be sexual, tasteful, classic, elegant and witty at the same time. 

Now along comes Single #2, "Woo Hoo" featuring up and coming female emcee Nikki Menaj. Once again, I'm left scratching my head. If I wanted to listen to "Dirrty", I would. I was hoping that with all of the time that has past, allowing you the chance to spend time with your family and gather inspiration, that Bionic would be truly Bionic. Neither of these songs validate this idea for me. 

It's not to say that I vehemently dislike either song; they are both catchy and fun for the clubs. It's just after the hype and buildup of such album, I truly wanted this to be an epic milestone in your career, a capstone to cement you as an icon for my generation. Granted, the album isn't out yet, and I shall withhold judgment until it is. I truly believe the best is yet to come, and it hurts my heart that an album concept with such interesting collaborations features its first two lead singles as urban-pop knockoffs by a producer of the moment. "Lift Me Up", as performed at the Haiti Telethon, was truly beautiful and haunting. That was the Christina I thought we were getting. She truly is Bionic.

With that said, I sincerely hope this is a label marketing faux-pas, a la Kelly Clarkson's most recent effort, and the true gems will be hidden in the rough that is the full Bionic disc. Either way, I shall continue to support you, even if this era doesn't recieve my familiar enthusiasm for your work.

Keep doing what you do, mama. You will always be an inspiration to me.

Love always,


John said...

Can I get an Amen?

You and Robbie both making posts rooted in 1999 on the same day...there's some serious synergy going on here.

Aaron said...

You know...I like the single..I'm still really excited for the album - and I think it could be an interesting one!

Myfizzypop said...

i love that your not one of those people who is all "omigodmustloveeverythinganartistdoeswhateveritsoundslike" because i just don't get that. i thikn you can still be a fan and want better from the person you admire...

Linus said...

Preach it sister.

Nina c. said...

OMG that's exactly how i felt when i heard the song and saw the video.

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