Burlesque Soundtrack23.11.10 # Soundtrack # 55 Comments
The Burlesque soundtrack. Of all the fantasy musical pairings I’ve ever imagined (Jimi Hendrix and Kermit the Frog being the all-time top) somehow I have never quite got around to putting Cher and Christina Aguilera together. Amazing, I know. Yet here they are, impinging into my life and yours, on the soundtrack to new movie Burlesque, in which they also both feature in an acting capacity. Or at least we’re told it’s Cher and Aguilera. The soundtrack sleeve makes it look like the younger singer has been paired up with a lacquered waxwork of Frank ‘n’ Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
You get ten tracks here, two trilled by Cher, eight honked by Aguilera. Yes, honked. It might be as obvious to say that the artist occasionally known as Xtina is prone to overegging her singing as it is to note that Dimitar Berbatov really doesn’t work hard enough when he’s not got the ball. But just because something’s obvious doesn’t necessarily make it any less true. Because while there is no denying that Aguilera possesses a splendidly strong and clean voice, again on this soundtrack it too often seems she only has one setting – foghorn. The result is often less like listening to a young woman parping out a pop song and more like hearing the cries for help of someone trapped at the bottom of an almost incalculably deep well.
Take the opening cover of Something’s Got a Hold on Me, for example. It does eventually settle down into a tolerable sock-hop shuffle, but not before Aguilera has strained even sinew trying to blast the wax out of your ears with her booming cannon of an intro vocal. Pause for Cher’s Welcome to Burlesque, which has a slight Balkan feel to it, before Aguilera comes back hollering like a banshee on Tough Lover. This time there’s no respite, she keeping the volume dial turned up to 11 from start to finish. It must be exhausting for her and, to be truthful, it’s more than a touch wearing to listen to, particularly when she aims for the stratospherically high notes, Mariah Carey-style.
Softer is But I Am a Good Girl, although for some reason she lisps the whole first verse, as if her lips have been reduced to a ruptured mess of jelly by the sheer force exerted on the opening few numbers. Good Girl is big and brassy, without being much fun purely as a listen, with those brass-soaked breaks sounding as if they should have a stage act attached. The moaning outro of that number feeds into the groaning intro of Guy What Takes His Time, but her singing is actually tolerable here, as she quits trying out different personas or trying to stretch herself, instead concentrating for the most part on delivering an effective vocal on a track that is pure Jessica Rabbit cabaret.
Express, the lead single from the Burlesque soundtrack, is the most modern sounding thing here, boasting a 21st century hum and a chorus that recalls Aguilera’s hit Dirrty. However, from that relative high, what comes next is like a tumble through the Time Tunnel, as Cher returns with You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me (no-one thought they had, Cher. You’re like the Michael Myers of pop). Penned by power ballad powerhouse Diane Warren, it comes complete with a soggy I’m-a-survivor sentiment and a humongous key change at the last. Westlife are probably already working on their cover version.
Aguilera gets to wrap proceedings up, with The Beautiful People. And yes, it is a version of the Marilyn Manson song, albeit in the way that Aslan the big pu**y is a version of Jesus Hieronymus Christ. Flicking back and forth between stabbing guitars and tinkling pop, like the oppositional faces of Janus trying to read a copy of TV Guide at the same time, it is a little bit demented.
Burlesque Soundtrack (Songs) – Track List
1. Welcome to Burlesque – Cher
2. Something’s Got a Hold on Me – Christina Aguilera
3. Tough Lover – Christina Aguilera
4. Long John Blues – Kristen Bell
5. Diamonds – Christina Aguilera
6. You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me – Cher
7. Express – Christina Aguilera
8. But I Am a Good Girl – Christina Aguilera
9. A Guy Who Takes His Time – Christina Aguilera
10. Bound to You – Christina Aguilera
11. That’s Life – Alan Cumming
12. Spotlight – Christina Aguilera
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