Monday 20 November 2017

Christina Aguilera Has An Ugly Tone. There, I said it.

Post by: Diva Devotee
Can we finally admit that Christina Aguilera manufactured, Kermit tone is ugly? I've always known it, and I'm pretty sure I've mentioned a preference for her natural voice. However I don't think I've explicitly called it ugly before. So there you are, cards on the table.

What am I talking about, exactly? Let's use yesterday's (not the best) tribute to the glorious Whitney Houston at the American Music Awards to illustrate. The Voice I'm alluding to rears its fat head during the first verse of I Will Always Love You. Prior to that, though pitchy and not keeping time with the instrumentation*- both issues continue throughout- her voice was more naturally placed. The tone here was beautiful, lighter, youthful and sweet. It only made the off-putting sound that followed more startling. And to those who think this Kermit tone is not produced through dubious methods, note the spoken parts she interjects the medleys with. They are of a lighter timbre that is much more akin to her true voice.

We get it, though. Christina is trying to produce a bigger and "soulful" sound by swallowing the larynx. This is a legitimate technique, but as with most things vocal (*cough* runs *cough*) Xtina takes it too far, using it excessively and pushing too low to the extent it becomes distracting to the ear. (For a good balance, see the intro to Run To You.) Ironically she employs the opposite technique when belting, spitting out the voice box to produce a raspy belt. It's a Jack-in-the-box style of singing that must wreak havoc on the chords.

It was an odd performance overall for the Lotus one. I've never seen the diva look so unsure in what she was doing. Lowered keys, still out of tune, poor timing and a thicker, more cumbersome instrument, was not what I was expecting from a Diva who can- and often does- sell a performance on confidence alone. There, were nice moments, like the afore mentioned intros to I will Always Love You and Run To You. But the larynx squeezing and drowning were not for me and detracted from the performance. I won't even comment on the faces of the audience- though I pulled the same one at the same time as the guy behind Ciara.

We've seen Christina cover the icon before with her usual confidence and flair. So could it have just been an off vocal day? Or was trying to bend to Whitney's singing style -don't hurt me, there were minute parts where I heard some of the Queen's vocal inflections come through- the thing that threw the diva off her game,

Who knows. I'm sure many will have been gagging and slayed by this tribute. Good for you. To me, it only adds weight to Christina Aguierla being a second-tier live singer. 

*Some will call this a stylistic choice and an ode to Whitney's own ability to play with tempo when live. Some, and me, will laugh in your face for ever making such a travesty of a comparison.


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