Burlesque (the Film)

Burlesque - the film
Burlesque – the film

I generally comment on music but as we all know sometimes film can cross over into the world of music far enough to have an impact. Many times that is good as in the case of Blade Runner (Vangelis), Clockwork Orange (Wendy Carlos) and even Rock Star but sometimes this isn’t the case.

When Burlesque first came out I didn’t want a bar of it. I respect Cher a lot and in time may well own a Best Of for many of her sturdy songs and distinctive delivery (even Believe). The stumbling block was Christina Aguilera as I blame her for the downfall of most modern female singers who have been convinced that being loud, gymnastic and sexy (slutty if I am in an unkind mood) make for a good singer.

When getting my new speakers, Burlesque was playing on one of the big TVs and as I was waiting for my salesman to help someone else I watched a scene without audio. It was Cher and Stanley Tucci in a dressing room. The film looked nice and the charm of these actors got the title in my memory. When the film crossed my path I fired it up.

Ok, as a story it is a bit thin, not a stinker but not a Chicago, Rocky Horror or anything like. For a light evening or afternoon it is fine. That bit was Ok. What got me though was the clear distinction between Cher and Christina as singers.

Christina’s parts were impressive in a purely technical sense as, to borrow from the movie, she has some set of pipes on her. That’s it though. The more she sang the uglier I found her. Being able to be loud and to do vocal tricks does not make a singer. Not in any way at all did she ever attempt to tell the story, portray the emotions or even just sound nice. It was all about her.

Contrast that with Cher’s two songs and you have a person with a limited (and probably failing) voice but the songs are a joy to engage with (note that the Cher (Dianne Warren) song You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me gathered more nominations and wins than Christina’s numbers).

Now I know there will be a host of girls, women and other reality show (Idol, X_Factor etc) fans who would want to flay me for saying this but Christina you need to take a step back and learn to sing. Let the over-singing be the icing on the cake. Whitney could sing a nice song, so could Céline Dion, even Madonna can sing a great song when the mood takes her so you could too.

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