Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Christina Aguilera & Cher ~ Burlesque Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

(Click on heading to visit official movie website.)
Style: soundtrack, techno, classical, jazz
Label: RCA
Year: 2010
Home: n/a

Members: Cher, Christina Aguilera ~ lead vocals
Stevie Blacke, Lauren Chipman, Charlie Bisharat, Daphne Chen, Eric Gorfain, Oliver Kraus, Richard Dodd, The Section Quartet ~ strings
Alejandro Carballo, Roy Weigand, Geoff Nudell, Arturo Solar, Jim McMillen, Andy Martin, Gene Cipriano, James King, Ben Wendell, Ian Walker, Ron Dziubla, Rick Keller, Alan Kaplan, Mark Hollingsworth, Dan Higgins ~ horns
Robert Bacon, George Doering, John Salvatore Scaglione, Joel Shearer, Ray Parker, Jr. ~ guitar
Peter Erskine, Michael Neuble, Felix Bloxsom, Josh Freese, James Gadson, Gordon Peeke ~ drums
Samuel Dixon, Frank Capp, Pablo Correa, Juan Manuel Leguizamon ~ percussion
Jebin Bruni, Jim Cox, Jamie Muhoberac, Eddie Brown, Greg Kurstin ~ keyboards
Phantom Boyz, Matt Serletic ~ keyboards/programming
Alex Al, Paul III, Chris Chaney, Trey Henry ~ bass
Gus Seyffert – bass/guitar
Jess Collins ~ b. vocals



The pairing up of Christina Aquilera & Cher in a musical film looks good on paper, despite any criticism against either ... well, maybe against one more than the other. Certainly Xtina's deep voice owes something, if not intentionally, to Cher, & thus together they should be great. & by the mood of my writing you can already predict what happened to that paper ... thrown in the garbage. Well, not really. The movie is far better than I expected, but without the visuals & just the soundtrack album in hand ... a situation of lost in translation? But, I'm going to ignore the movie as I actually rough drafted this review before seeing the movie & I believe a good soundtrack album does not need the movie to be good. Music, essentially, should not require visuals. But, no matter what, I mean, it is Cher we're talking about with Xtina - it should not fail. I mostly have always enjoyed Xtina ... mostly as in not the last few albums but when she was still drrrty & beautiful with short dark hair. Then there's Cher. A legend that needs no introduction who at her worst is still great. So, back to that paper. Xtina & Cher together should sound like what? I would guess a mix of musical styles while the two trade off via duets & have some songs on their own. It's a rich cornucobia of old & new. But, as I said ... the paper went into the garbage. Ten songs total with one featuring a third singer from the movie, two featuring Cher & the rest with Xtina. There's no duets or even any backing vocals. The fact that Cher is only on two songs makes this essentially a new Xtina album & to put Cher's face on the cover is nothing more than a weak selling point. It should read soundtrack by Xtina with Cher. For those who haven't seen the movie she actually is the co-star in a good chunk of the film ... though why not in the soundtrack is another comeback moment she's losing out on. Or maybe she's tired of comeback moments? One of the best voices in rock & she's no more than a guest on her own album. I understand if she doesn't want to do a new album after seven years away from recording, but after hearing her two tracks I think she'll be the only one not wanting a new album. "Welcome To Burlesque" puts Cher against a seductive gypsy rhythm that's made for the stage such as Cabaret, Chicago or Moulan Rouge & hearkens back to her "Half-Breed" days with delight ... after years of techno Cher it's wonderful to hear this classic style music again. Yes, there's a hint of computer fun happening with her voice, but she always did it well not embarressingly as it became after her lead. Then there's the piano ballad with a symphonic background "You Haven't Seen The Last Of Me". Cher's voice is wonderful & the songs fit her snuggly. & that's it. That's all you get of a woman whose face graces half the cover of the album & for me it's all I really wanted to listen to twice. & that just makes me sad as so much potential but so little effort. The rest is a typical Xtina album except for the one throaway obvious dance number by some other girl singer whose not that distinctive. It makes since to include the song in terms of the movie, but without the visual is a chapter in a story on a non-story album. As for Xtina, the songs range from flashback R&B with a Funk Brothers goove (i.e. "Something's Got A Hold On Me") to some big band to a new song that swings into a bit of the classic "Blue Suede Shoes" for a bridge (i.e. "Tough Lover"). The history is there ... though we expect Cher to be singing over this music. Yes, the music is well done & perfect for the cinema & is far better than the weak Rock Of Ages. There's the ballad with strings that Xtina always likes to include, though there's only one "Beautiful" in her career (i.e. "Bound To You"). & lots of dance techno numbers more familiar to Xtina than not. The only interesting tracks are "Express" & a very elaborated take on Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" that's more Xtina than Marilyn. Whatever the song Xtina shows off the annoy habit she's picked up, & why I stopped being a fan, of oversinging everything, trying to throw out all her range in one song & it does nothing for the song, not even impress. It's the Mariah Carey approach to singing. Here's an album that could combine the classic rock of early Cher with the dance floor of Xtina & later Cher. It could bring together Cher's manly croon with Xtina showing off her high notes in duets that would be a highlight of both their careers. An album of the young & old & baton passing. How sweet it looks on paper. How even beyond comeback. Somebody buy these two women a notebook. The movie might make up for the album with the visuals ... but musically it's got a lot to make up for & I'm surprised even Cher didn't look at the big picture & see how sad musically it looks from the outside. The focus here should be on the two stars, not a great & diverse band doing Xtina's new solo album with a couple friends stopping by. Nobody really listens to Xtina's albums for the musicians, if they did this review would read completely different. As for this being seen as a new Xtina solo album ... I'd to treat it as it is - not a solo album. This album might be better than Xtina's Bionic but the emotion continues to come & go in her music.

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