Christina Aguilera and the 'cult of oversouling'
The singer was savaged for mangling the national anthem's lyrics. But John Eskow at The Huffington Post says Aguilera's real offense is her flagrantly warbly style
Christina Aguilera's national anthem lyrics flub at the Super Bowl got all the media attention, says says John Eskow at The Huffington Post. But Aguilera's rendition — and "rendition is the right word, because she kidnapped the song and shipped it out to be tortured" — also exemplifies the insidious vocal trend known as "oversouling." Singers like Aguilera, trying too hard for profound effect, unnecessarily stretch out notes. This "oversouling" may seem applause-worthy, writes Eskow, but it ultimately "hollows out a song and drains it of meaning." Here, an excerpt:
"This is the same grotesque style — 17 different notes for every vocal syllable — that has so dominated the pop and R&B charts for years. Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston are relatively minor offenders, but singers like Aguilera — who admittedly possesses a great instrument — just don't seem to know when to stop, turning each song into an Olympic sport as they drain it of its implicit soul, as if running through the entire scale on every single word was somehow a token of sincerity."