Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Beautiful Deterioration

Christina Aguilera possessed what is arguably the most beautiful voice in the entirety of her generation.  With her gorgeous tone, her melismatic style, and the overall 'big' quality of her voice, she was quickly dubbed 'the voice of the generation' and 'a blue eyed soul'.  For many, many years, she lived up to these titles.  She has, however, undeniably lost her voice.  Whereas she previously sounded like an angel, her horrible technique has caused damages to her voice-  damages that are made obvious by her sad vocal state.  Christina has gone from being a show-stopping, mega belting diva  to a has-been that can be outsung by teletubbies.

I feel that the best vocals from Christina can be found at the very beginning of her career.  From her second studio album onward, she shows a steep vocal decline.  With every album, she strains more and more.  While I lack any musical knowledge, I feel that the strained belting is fairly obvious, as is the decreasing range and the change in tone quality.  Just compare her performances of her hit song Beautiful.  Her voice has drastically changed since her peak at the 'Stripped' era.

2002- 'Stripped' Era- Vh1

This era is widely considered her best one- and you can clearly see why.  She has the 'big' sound that she achieves through her horrid technique.  It had not, however, had a major effect on her voice at the time.  Therefore, she managed to sound beautiful and big in this era.

2006- 'Back to Basics" Era- GMA

Little damage had been done to her voice at this point- as evidenced by the beginning- but in the second verse, she uses a sound that is much darker than the first.  She also sounds strangled, compared to her 2002 performance.  Her high notes are hit, but her voice sounds painful to even listen to.  This was the era when our throats began to hurt in sympathy pains.  When her high notes stopped sounding like notes, and more like screams of pain. 

2009- 'Bionic' Era- Dancing With The Stars

By here, her voice had darkened.  They also took on a "pinched" sound.  Whereas previously  she seemed to be able to switch between a lighter timbre to her now-typical dark one, she seemed to have lost that ability.  Her belted notes became even more strained and gravelly- sometimes sounding like she just gave up on the note and started to scream instead.  Damage had been done. 

2012- 'Lotus' Era- Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert

Present day.  Her voice is worse off than ever.  Sometimes, she sounds like it's hard for her to hit even the low notes of the songs.  Her runs are much sloppier than in the other listed performances, showcasing the obvious decline in the agility of her voice.  The straining starts at  a lower part of her range than it had previously.  Her highest notes sound like she's chugging glass before singing.  The belt at 4:16 sounds coarse, strained, and forced. 

Seriously, this girl needs a vocal coach.  Based on her new album 'Lotus' as well as recent performances, her voice has drastically changed.  And if her album sales are any indication, no one loves her new sound.  Maybe if she rehabilitated her voice, she could recover enough to sing beautifully again, make a relative commercial comeback, and reclaim her former glory?

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