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Christina Aguilera’s Change – When Social Relevance Outweighs Celebrity Status

Just a few days after the gruesome and heart breaking Orlando night club shooting which killed 49 members of the LGBT community, Christina Aguilera is at her #fighter mode once again and wails for Change – a powerful ballad about racial and LGBT intolerance in the world. The entire proceeds from the single would go to The National Compassion Fund which will be funding the victims’ funeral and/or medical expenses and the leftovers will be used for other purposes like to help raped girls and other mass casualty crimes. It came out as a surprise single, first being teased on twitter by Legendtina herself, and the song is, in a way, a tribute to her fan and namesake, Christina Grimmie.

“My prayers are with everyone affected by last night’s senseless tragedy. We can’t tolerate hate. Don’t lose hope. We can #change the future.” said Christina said on her account, June 12.

A lyric video then appeared on her official YouTube account the day after, as well as on iTunes and Apple Music.

Change is almost an acoustic song. It is accompanied with light percussion, horns and drippy synth beats. It is set in the key of G♭ major with a tempo of 82 beats per minute. The song alternates between 3/4 time and 4/4 time while the song follows a chord progression of G♭/B♭ – C♭ – G♭, and Aguilera’s vocals span from E♭3 to D♭5. The song is not a vocal showcase as to what Aguilera is used to. It is tender and not melismatic, there are no whistle notes, and the high notes are saved for the last part of the song emphasizing contrast and vocal dynamics (from her controlled airy falsetto to her crazy powerful fiery chest voice). If I were to describe this song only in two words, it would be restraint and subtlety.

Christina-Aguilera---Change-(2)

As a fan of her for 17 years, I could say that the song is still in its raw, uncooked form and will still get through to a lot of editing on the final album version. I can’t help but feel that it was rushed, in wake of the tragedies that happened. Even her voice is not up to par, it’s throaty in the lower notes and trilly in the upper registers. Her midrange though, which is her comfort zone is definitely resonant and powerful, where she gets her brassy Houston-esque references. Unlike Beyoncé who is technically flawless and calculated, Christina, when pressed to choose between vocal technique and raw passion would always choose the latter than the former, and this song is a solid representative of that “arguably better” choice.

Christina-Aguilera---Change-(3)

Lyrics-wise I find the song cheesy and melodramatic. The verses are amateurish, and the poetry is contorted to fall into a rhyming algorithm. It doesn’t stand a chance against her previous songs like the Linda Perry produced and written Beautiful, Fighter, The Voice Within and Lift Me Up. It doesn’t even stand a chance against Calvin Harris’s and Rihanna’s This Is What You Came For which we have to admit doesn’t have any lyrical value at all.

Christina Aguilera is not one to shy away from social issues. It’s what sets her apart from her contemporaries like Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore. It’s what aligns her to the likes of Madonna, Beyonce and Lady Gaga in spite of her less than stellar album sales of late. Another thing that separates her from her peers is her “voice”. She’s a blue-eyed soulful singer with a unique lyric-writing ability and Streisand-esque silky high notes which soars high up in the heavens. Her music is full of powerful messages that a lot of weird, ostracized people can relate to – making her songs anthemic, classic and timeless. Her singles can empower and inspire every individual. She proves that being an artist is not really about making hits but being able to deliver the message of relevant songs to people which can ultimately serve as an impetus to social awareness. Change is an undercooked, under produced song. But hey, it’s the intention that counts, and her love will always be reciprocated by fans like me. As long as she remains faithful and loyal to her fans by releasing anthemic songs like this, that love will never change.

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Change Christina Aguilera LGBT Music Review Pride March