Christina Aguilera "Come on Over" Acoustic Version From Stripped Tour
Christina Aguilera at San Remo Story Festival
A Little Old-School RnB Flavor
Singer Christina Aguilera burst onto the scene in the late 90's with the smash hit "Genie in a Bottle." Due to that and her initial image as a blond pop singer, the casual music fan often considers Christina to be a generic pop singer. This could not be further from the truth. Christina is really two singers in one - the radio/recording singer and the live singer. A good example of this is the contrast between her obvious pop version of "Come on Over" and her re-tooled acoustic version, as seen in her Stripped Tour for her second major English-language album.
Christina is actually influenced most by Etta James, and the versatility she shows in her live performances provides evidence of this. However, Aguilera has a huge variety of influences, and this particular version of "Come on Over" is probably most reminiscent of a 70s style of RnB music in terms of arrangement.
This, however, is not enough to provide a special performance. What makes this special is what makes many of Christina's performances special - unique soul, blues, and jazz-influenced phrasing. Indeed, she is special because she cannot be pinned down to just one style of music. And this performance is a good example of her ability to meld various styles into a unique picture. After all, music is art, and the pictures Christina paints are simply like no other artist. The influences are apparent, but the combination of her sonic signature and technical variations create an original portrait.
Fans of actual vocalists who actually try to do something original can hear some great, emotional notes in this "Come on Over" performance. Of particular note is the word "sexuality" at around 2:55 of the included video. Christina slides her notes up or down like this to create a more emotional performance. At times, she has oversung, but most of that oversinging occurred earlier in her career. In the last few years, she has honed her skills into a more fluid style instead of randomly throwing in unnecessary runs. How much is too much is a matter of opinion, but it's FACTUAL to say that she has, in fact, toned the runs down over the last few years.
Another interesting example of her uniqueness can be heard at around 3:12. This is what I will call her "chopped runs." This is not common from a control standpoint and is undoubtedly an element of her jazz influences. Most singers don't have the control to pull off this kind of styling, as is seen time and again when a singer covers one of Christina's songs. All the hard parts are routinely left out.
And her blues influences can be seen at around 3:51. These blue notes and the other little touches are why her hardcore fans love her. There are a lot of trolls online who love to attack Christina, but they don't get it. She's there to be unique. She always sang the songs differently live than on the radio. She sings to impress lovers of vocalists. And many of those people constantly praise her as being the voice of this generation.
This version of "Come on Over" has an RnB flavor, and Christina was successful in integrating her multi-genre style into the backdrop of this RnB piece. Her new album "Light and Darkness" is set to come out in early 2010, and it will be interesting to see if she can make something original out of this electronic music that is supposedly featured in this newest round of Christina's versatile career.