Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008

Christina Aguilera Can Play Dress-Up, Too

By Evan Rytlewski
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Since I gave a nod to Britney Spears earlier this week, equal-time regulations require me to also point out that Christina Aguilera, the less notorious but more reliable and better-voiced of the two pop stars, also has a fun, quick-charting music video out where she dons more than a few wigs.

Especially coming on the heels of Aguilera's adventurous Back to Basics, the risk-taking album where the diva crafted a singular fusion of classic jazz, vintage R&B and modern pop, this new single, "Keeps Gettin' Better," is far  too safe to genuinely thrill. Its sound is familiar and modern, its content as blandly universal as every other hit penned by songwriter-to-the-stars Linda Perry. But at a time marked by fear and uncertainty (in both the music industry as well as the greater world at large) there's something reassuring about a safe, conventional pop hit, no matter how calculated it is.

Every month the music industry appears closer and closer to its demisethere's no way the major labels can afford to spend so much on products that yeild increasingly small profits and increasingly big losesso its a little ironic that this fall has been such a strong one for major-label pop. Right now, local Top 40/Kiss FM stations are filled with escapist silliness (Spears' "Womanizer," Pink's "So What") and unexpected sweetness (Neyo's "Crazy," and the tender "Whatever You Like," by T.I. of all people) as beleagured listeners seek something comforting and familiar. Aguilera's return couldn't be better timed.

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