Since the beginning of time, the second a woman reaches a certain age she has been expected to spread her legs and let someone inseminate her eggs, she was then expected to raise those kids whilst her husband went out to work and then be the doting wife when her husband got back from work.
This formula worked for many women back in the day, then the 60s happened and some women decided that maybe this formula wasn’t right for them, that maybe this formula would hold them back from being successful individuals.
Fast forward to today. Most women now wait until the thirties before having children, some for personal reasons and some professional reasons, afraid that taking the time to get married and have children would stop them getting that promotion at work or simply because quite frankly, children take up too much time. So how does this apply to Christina Aguilera, well I’m going to discuss how much Christina Aguilera’s current career trough is down to her decision to have a child when she did.
In 1999, Christina Aguilera released her debut album Christina Aguilera, then in 2002 released Stripped, then in 2006 released Back to Basics and this year she released the album Bionic. Looking at the dates of when she released albums it is obvious to see that with all of them there is almost a 4 year gap. Now four years to the average Jose’ may not seem like forever but in the world of technology and music, four years might as well be a hundred because four years is enough time for fads to come and go. Did any of us know who Lady Gaga was four years ago, how many of us tweeted two years ago and wasn’t it just one year ago that many of us thought we thought Tiger Woods was the patron saint of husbands, a lot of scheisse can happen in just four years.
The mistake Christina made was thinking that her voice alone would carry her name throughout the four sets of four years she took off to do whatever she was doing, not realizing that in a fickle industry like this even the best of the best can be forgotten, ask a 13 year old who Paula Abdul is and they’ll tell you “oh that woman from American Idol”, they won’t know that Paula Abdul was one of the many choreographers who taught Janet Jackson herself how to dance and who enjoyed many a hit in her day also. The same goes for the Karyn White’s and Sheila E’s of the world, people just forget. No sooner than you plan on making that all important come back, some new piece of skirt comes along with better marketing tactics, a fresh face and even firmer breasts and generates a whole new buzz making you and your bewildered fans look outdated.
However, in Ms. Aguilera’s case it isn’t new artists that are her biggest problem, it is old ones.
When Christina debuted back in the 90s she was marketed as being some sort vocally talented alternative to Britney but was never able to generate a phenomenon like Britney did, however this worked for Christina as it gave her fans the feelings that they were part of special clique who cared about real talent and so they bought her records and she sold millions. What then happened was that Christina Aguilera became sort of like the Mary Wilson of her time, the one everyone respected an artist but spent more time paying attention to the one everyone knew didn’t have the best voice but was packaged better.
So Christina got complacent, she thought she could just release albums every four years and her fans would immediately be ready with their ten dollars to purchase them. However, Christina did not anticipate how much can happen in four years and how much an artist can completely upgrade their image successfully putting them ahead of the pack.
The best example of this is Beyonce’, nobody saw Beyonce’ as being iconic in 2003, in fact her career was written by some journalists with the release of Work It Out but when she released Dangerously in Love in 2003 she proved everybody wrong with the success and her popularity as a brand. Beyonce’s next album was released in 2006, three years later, only one year less than Christina’s did, so why is it this worked for Beyonce’ and not Christina?
Beyonce’ is in many aspects the kid in the class who does more than they’re supposed or have to do at a certain time but what they didn’t have to do one lesson actually puts them ahead of the class in the next. After every Beyonce’ album, follows a movie which she will promote alongside the record, and then her endorsers will then conveniently start releasing commercials starring Beyonce’ to capitalise on the promotion of the record and movie and then comes the talk of “ a new video” alongside whether “she’ll be performing at this award show”. Then after the album and movie comes out, she’ll announce a tour; spend a year on tour releasing a dozen videos whilst conveniently being spotted out and about in different cities. To the average eye, Beyonce’ is just working, to her bosses at Sony she’s enhancing her brand image by doing so much in one period of time that even when she is actually not doing anything she is appearing to be doing a lot. This then gives her fans enough content to discuss and argue about on social networking sites like Twitter and You tube keeping Beyonce’s name relevant until she is ready to put out a new album. So essentially, she makes in some respect an artistic investment, invest a lot of time in 2008, reap the rewards in 2010 at the Grammys, make an artistic investment by releasing a random video in 2010, generate a buzz for an album to come out in 2011.
These artistic investments boost morale for your fans who then feel as though they are doing something really important by purchasing whatever you release, and it does even more for their morale when the artistic investments you made ten years ago pay off with performing at the Inaugural Ball.
Christina of course assumed an album and a few singles were all she would need to remain relevant, she assumed she took four years between 2006 and now to get married and have kids and return to the same industry that once respected her in her Hurt era.
However, didn’t Britney have kids, in fact doesn’t Britney have two. Well the answer to this is simple, unlike Christina fans, Britney Spears comprehend the importance of brand power and so will buy a Britney album and pay to see Britney on tour even though they haven’t heard Britney speak about an album OR a tour. Britney is able to do this because her fans have always understood how sales work since she debuted, when they buy a lot, she sells a lot. This is why Britney was able to have two kids, not promote an album or a tour and still be one of the most commercially successful recording and touring artists in the world.
So to complete this article, I’ll say this. Christina’s problem isn’t Lady Gaga or lack of originality, it’s complacency. It’s assuming everybody still cares about what you bring the table after four years of seeing nothing of you, it’s assuming that Iconic status is permanent; it’s assuming that talent bests all when it comes to selling records.
At this point, with the almost cringe worthy sales of Bionic, Christina fans need to go out and buy the record instead of worrying about what Perez Hilton and the like are saying about her. In the worlds of a wise man, “Men and Women lie, but sales don’t,” he was damn right. Just look at Michael Jackson, no matter what he was accused of doing; his fans bought what he put out forcing the media to acknowledge his releases.
Let us hope that other artists can learn from Christina’s mistake and hold off having kids until they’re place in pop history is secured because as of now, Christina’s place is anything but certain.