Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Christina Aguilera: Has-Been In A Bottle

Eleven years ago, four female solo artists emerged in music. They were Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore. Over a decade later, it is easy to see where their careers have gone. Britney Spears became the most successful of the four of them in music. Christina Aguilera was known for being the most talented singer who was in second place when it came to selling records. Jessica Simpson became more known as a media figure with her image used to sell products and the tabloids continuing to detail her unsuccessful search for love. Mandy Moore, who did not make much of an impact in the music business, had a very successful career in film.

Technically, none of them has turned into a has-been, but Christina Aguilera appears to be headed in that direction. Recently, Christina had to cancel her concert tour, citing “prior commitments.”

Say what? Music artists make money two ways. 1) Selling albums 2) Selling concert tickets. The argument that she had prior commitments is just ridiculous. If her concerts sold out like the concerts of Britney Spears, then she would not cancel them.

I really cannot think of a “prior commitment” that cause an artist to cancel an entire concert tour. This is how artists make money. They don’t cancel sold-out concerts for prior commitments. They cancel prior commitments for sold-out concerts.

But then again, maybe tickets to her concerts were not selling. Who wants to perform concerts with extremely low attendance?

I think that the appeal of Christina Aguilera is wearing off. The main reason for this is the fact that her career has been so inconsistent. When looking at other artists, we can usually describe their image and how they focus their work. Britney Spears used sexuality to sell albums. She was never celebrated for having talent, a good voice, real morals, etc. Instead, Britney Spears was practically a stripper with a record deal, with the focus of her music and concerts being centered around her looks. That may sound like I’m criticizing her, but I’m actually saying that she has been consistent. The Britney Spears of 2004 is the same as Britney Spears of 2010.

Meanwhile, the focus of Christina Aguilera has gone in so many directions that it is harder for her to build on an image that will sell. First, she was the alternate to Britney Spears. Then, she was known for having amazing vocals. Then, she had a song called “Dirrty” in which she went after the Britney Spears slutty image. Then after that backlash, she moved back to a cleaner image. Then she had a husband and a baby.

Are we supposed to view her as a mature wife and mother who turns 30 years-old later this year, or is she the hot young sexy singer, or is she the amazing vocalist? Having an inconsistent image does not help her build a fan base, and it appears that base has been shrinking. Had she chose to focus on being known for her vocals over looks, she could have gone the Celine Dion route, in which no one would care that she got married and had a kid. If the focus is on her looks, well the female artists with a focus on looks sell fewer albums when they settle down. Are guys going to be obsessed with a woman who appears to be happily married with a child? No. I’m not arguing against her seeking love and building a family, but naturally it is harder to sell an image based on sex appeal for a singer who is off of the market when it comes to relationships.

Sometimes changing an image can work for an artist. Madonna has been known to change her image over the years, but the reason why Madonna has been able to stay successful is because the act of changing her image is actually her image. That is why changing an image has worked for Madonna so well and has failed for Christina Aguilera.

As Christina Aguilera approaches 30 years-old, she has to come to terms with the fact that she’s no longer the young, hot thing. The year 1999 may have given the Entertainment Industry four young singers who are still working today, but there are new faces ready to replace them. Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa, Ke$ha, and Miley Cirus have all developed a following.

If Christina Aguilera wants to avoid being a permanent has-been, she needs to choose where she wants her image to go or her career won’t have a future.


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