Midriffs vs. Melodies

In the February 2003 issue of Esquire magazine, in an article titled “34 Reasons to be Optimistic about 2003”, Daniel Torday writes, “Reason 33. The inevitable decline of Britney’s popularity only increases the chance we’ll see more skin. Reason 34. Same goes for Christina Aguilera, for whom the next step is no clothes at all.”

Torday, unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on which side you stand on) makes a compelling point. The face of pop music has clearly taken a downward spiral, down to the midriff, that is. Artists like Britney, Christina, Shakira, and J Lo continue to one-up each other by becoming increasingly more, well…slutty. They are writhing more, wearing less, and constantly upping the ante on the shock value. The music itself, strikingly mediocre and sugarcoated at best, is irrelevant. Not many people over the age of eleven enjoy Britney Spears because of her voice or her catchy lyrics. The face of female pop music isn’t so much a face anymore, but a whole body package…wrapped up neatly in leather and tied with a Playboy stamped ribbon.

Just walking down Broadway and past a magazine stand today, I noticed that Christina Aguilera has sunken to yet new lows by (just as Mr. Torday predicted, and we’re only a few days into 2003) appearing completely naked on the cover of Maxim Magazine. So much for her incredible vocal range, a talent that is conspicuously absent in today’s pop music. How sad to think that she may never be taken seriously as an artist because of a few (or a lot, as the case may be) bad image-related choices. Have you listened to this girl’s voice? It’s frighteningly strong and self-assured. She could be the next Houston or Striesand, but instead she is residing culturally somewhere in the realm of Anna Nicole Smith. What a waste.

And to what end? What kind of message does a scantily clad 19-year old warbling about being your

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