Friday, May 23, 2014

Won the War: Britney Spears V.S. Christina Aguilera

This is a new series I'm debuting. Inspired by a tweet from perpetual lightning rod for controversy Azealia Banks when she inferred that although Michael Jackson won the battle, Prince won the war. This will be my take on which two rivals in packaging in the U.S. Music Industry, won the war in terms of longer success.

Round 1 of Won the War involves current Las Vegas attraction, Britney Spears and 4 time coach of The Voice, Christina Aguilera. When they debuted in the late 90s, both were immediately pitted against each other both having been from the same axed children's show. Oh and they were "naturally" pitted when their teeny-bopper sound had a 4 way battle with now more famed actress Mandy Moore and Weight Watchers spokesmodel Jessica Simpson. Defeating them in the short term was easy. Now the question is...

In longevity terms, who merely won the battle...and who Won the War?

As of 2014, Spears added an 8th studio album with late 2013 release Britney Jean. Aguilera released her 5th studio album [Spanish language album Mi Reflejo and Christmas album My Kind of Christmas not counting] Lotus in 2012.
Here's their album peaks from highest to lowest...

Britney Spears
- ...Baby One More Time at #1
- Oops...I Did it Again at #1
- Britney at #1
- In the Zone at #1
- Circus at #1
- Femme Fatale at #1
- Blackout at #2
- Britney Jean at #4

Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera at #1
Back to Basics at #1
Stripped at #2
Bionic at #3
Lotus at #7

Naturally, being the mega sensations that they have been in terms of packaging, radio has played them every now and again. In terms of longevity when was their last #1 hit on the Hot 100? *Reminder: Hot 100 ranking does matter if you're absolutely looking for a gauge of where an artist is in terms of popularity*

Britney had her last #1 hit in 2011 with "Hold It Against Me" from Femme Fatale. So only 3 years and an album ago? Not bad.
Christina's last #1 hit? Not counting "Lady Marmalade" for Moulin Rouge...Her last #1 on the Hot 100...was in 2000. "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" from her first album. O_O 14 years and technically...4 albums ago? O_O

The last Top 10 hit of the Hot 100? Britney's song "I Wanna Go" from the Femme Fatale album went to #7. Christina's last Top 10 hit? "Ain't No Other Man" in 2006 from Back to Basics. O_O

Singing isn't the only thing these two have done; as has been weirdly declared "culturally kosher" both have attempted to act in movies. As tradition, both of their movies were read for filth. Here's the Rotten Tomatoes scores of their movies as of May 23, 2014...

Britney Spears' 2002 movie Crossroads
Tomatometer [critics]: 14% at an average of 3.9 out of 10 rating
Audience: 39% at a 2.2 out of 5 rating

Christina Aguilera's 2010 movie Burlesque
Tomatometer [critics]: 37% at an average of 4.8 out of 10 rating
Audience: 64% at a 3.6 out of 5 rating

Musically, there are naturally some weak points in an artists' career when say...a lead single doesn't go to #1 or released singles chart really low. These are the positions at the lowest of Britney and Christina's careers...

Britney's Lowest Charting Released Singles
- Lowest Charting Lead single: "I'm a Slave 4 U" at #27 on the Hot 100.
- Lowest Charting Released single: "Radar" at #88 on the Hot 100.

Christina's Lowest Charting Released Singles
- Lowest Charting Lead single: "Dirrty" ft. Redman at #48 on the Hot 100.
- Lowest Charting Released single: "Woohoo" ft. Nicki Minaj at #79 on the Hot 100.

Interestingly enough, their chart nadirs are pretty damn similar. Britney and Christina's lead single nadir didn't happen when their worst lead singles in terms of musical content were released. Spears' "Work Bitch" charted at #12 on the Hot 100; Aguilera's "Your Body" charted at #34 on the Hot 100. Both of those lead singles come from their lowest charting albums.
Their lead single nadir both happened in late 2001/early-mid 2002. "I'm a Slave 4 U" had the touch of the Neptunes on it, while "Dirrty" had the help of one of the more enigmatic rap presences of the early aughts. 2003 would see both of them try to help Madonna out of a situation called American Life by lip-locking with her...though only one would be seen and go on to make a song with Madonna [even though for whatever reason it only went to #35 on the Hot 100.]
Their lowest charting singles in general, have some critical favor for it, if not completely behind the singles. Britney's song "Radar" started off on her album Blackout. Intended for release after "Break the Ice", it was scrapped because this was the era when Brit-Brit went batshit. "Radar" then saw the light of day on Circus as a bonus track...but 4th single from the album. Critics positively loved this single due to them thinking it was the type of song people would die to have on their albums and play on radio. The video did garner some mixed to positive feedback; noting that while Spears' aesthetic for the video was interesting, it isn't necessarily the most fitting considering everything else in her career.
Aguilera's lowest single charting was met with mixed to positive reviews, because by this time any song that even had vaguely perceived influence from "Milkshake" by Kelis, it would be compared to it. Though not much else is remembered from this because by "Woohoo", people were scrubbing the pure suck of "Not Myself Tonight" from their palettes.

Now for the final points: iconic singles AKA, the one single people know is by that artist.

Britney has her debut single and first #1 "...Baby One More Time". This song is VH1 countdown fodder for days. The video, the song and this incarnation of Britney is iconic [pervs remember this fondly as "Schoolgirl Britney".]
Christina has "Beautiful" from Stripped. The time former 4 Non Blondes lead singer and prolific songwriter Linda Perry had become [VH1's words from P!nk's Behind the Music, not mine] "the go-to songwriter for pop stars in search of an emotional makeover". In terms of video and song delivery, no "Best of X-Tina" type list is complete without it. Yet, this song went to #2 on the Hot 100.

Some last bits of info for posterity, Britney Spears did S2 of the defunct U.S. version of The X Factor and came in second with her talent find, Carly Rose Sonenclar. Christina Aguilera is waiting until S8 of The Voice to mark her 5th season of coaching new singers [or maybe a failed act of the past or two]; her highest ranking talent find was 2nd place with Jacquie Lee in S5.
Their reality show mentoring career is even eerily similar O_O.

One can sing better than the other; one has had more commercial success musically than the other; one is a staple on TV; one is performing in Las Vegas...the result is as follows...

***UPDATE: Yes, Britney's lowest charting lead single was "Me Against The Music" from In the Zone at #35. Yet to drive the point of their combined nadirs, "I'm A Slave 4 U" was met with the same shit "Dirrty" was. Everything else about the outcome is unaffected.***

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