It's pretty slim pickings for a music columnist this week. Nobody's died, there aren't any awards shows coming up, no spectacular concerts to review'so I hope everyone will forgive me a little dip into the mainstream. (If that's beneath you, log on to http://www.emogame.com to keep yourself occupied for hours. I don't know who made it, I don't know where it comes from, but damned if it isn't fun.)
Christina Aguilera, it seems, has a new look. It was previewed, somewhat, during the MTV Music Video Awards a few weeks back, where this tiny girl appeared in a silver lam?? bandeau top. It's been revealed, in full effect, in her most recent music video for the single \Dirrty."" She's all ""Tank-Girled"" out. She's got a piercing in her chin, and she now employs some kind of mid-'90s gangsta lingo. What the hell happened?
I mean, it was clear from the beginning that Christina would always be a Britney also-ran, cute enough in a mallrat sort of way, although her annoying tendency to break into torch-song vibrato rubbed most everyone the wrong way. Personally, I think the ""Come On Over"" video was her high point, which was a nice mix of red highlights and yellow pleather jumpsuits. There was real dancing, too. Nothing wrong with that, right?
But now, it's just offensive'she's just switching back and forth between squatting and grinding in the ""Dirrty"" video, most of which takes place in a boxing ring. I've never seen crotch shots used so unartistically. The photo galleries on her Web site have yet to be updated with clips from ""Dirrty,"" but the MTV.com one gives a pretty good overview: There's Christina straddling someone (Eric Benet?), there she is squatting, here she is sucking on a water bottle and so on.
And in what may be the strangest collaborative choice since Santana and Michelle Branch, Aguilera's team tapped the talents of blunt-rolling, elbow-throwing rapper Redman to provide... what? A hook? No, Redman's singing skills are hardly any better than ODB's. Street credibility? I hope not, because the bizarrely fantastic pairing of the two hints at an extraordinary visage of the future where we have no streets. It is completely un-credible, and can ultimately come to no good. What fan of one is going to be, as the result of ""Dirrty,"" enticed into checking out the career of the other? And then there's the most likely explanation: I wonder how long it took Christina's handlers to figure out that this wasn't Pharrell?
I guess this is just Christina's way of dealing with a changing pop world. Britney apparently slept with Justin and then got dumped, which is a serious blow to the desirability of America's sweetheart. Then Shakira came along, thoroughly dulling Christina's Latin edge. Maybe I (and the 76 percent of http://www.mtv.com visitors who voted the same) am being too hard on her; maybe she's been forced into the position she's in, the multimedia equivalent of streetwalking. Too bad'as far as I'm concerned, she's now good only for bootleg mixes over Strokes tracks. Yikes!