Christina Aguilera, Back to Basics: The cover of Christina’s upcoming double-album speaks to me. It says, “Hi. I’m Christina Aguilera. You may remember me from such hits as ’Genie In A Bottle,’ ’Dirrty,’ ’Fighter,’ and ’Grind That Ass (Up Against My Crotchless Panties While I Talk Dirrty To You With My Faux-Ghetto Accent),’ but I’m cleaning up my image and getting back to basics.” It also says, “Yes, I’m going to dress up like a white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Hollywood pin-up while evoking the great African-American songstresses of the past. Am I being forced to adhere to a racist standard of beauty or just being a coy contradiction?” As for those “high fidelity recording” graphics on the cover, at least her image-making is thorough.
Beyoncé, B’Day: I’m finally starting to warm up to the aptly-titled “Déjà Vu” (there’s something to be said for reliability and let’s face facts: a “Crazy In Love” flashback is better than another “Check on It”). Judging by the album cover, it looks like B has spent a little too much time on the set of Dreamgirls—the newly slimmed-down Jennifer Hudson could be hiding in that hive. Then again, there’re no bees to be found anywhere and the blank expression works, in a classic R&B-record sort of way.
Paris Hilton, Paris: “Overused human condom” Paris Hilton showed a, uh, human side while being interviewed by TMZ.com’s Harvey Levin regarding malicious user comments made about the socialite. Levin’s sadistic intentions aside, it was a revealing moment, but there’s nothing chic or sexy about the cover of Paris’s new album, and it does nothing to squelch the public perception of the heiress. And what’s with her eyes? She’s not quite looking at the camera, but she doesn’t seem to be looking at anything in the room either. This can’t possibly be the best photo they could find.
Kelis, Kelis Was Here: This might be the best of the bunch. There’s something marvelously ’80s about the airbrushed skyline, yellow nail polish, and Kelis’s on-the-go she-works-hard-for-the-money stance (this isn’t the first time she’s evoked the queen of disco, LaDonna Andre Gaines—she her Tasty album cover). Hopefully the music is as good as the cover.
Janet Jackson, 20 Years Old: Yay! No boobies. But remember when J’s look used to evolve with each new album? (Err, remember when J used to evolve, period?) The day she started smiling on her album covers was the day her career started going downhill. Between this and that dreadful single (and video), things aren’t looking good for The Emancipation of Penny.
Speaking of Janet…
And apparently Epic Records is giving J. Simp the hazy, demure J. Lo treatment:
(Unfortunately, Justin Timberlake’s album cover was not available in time for this, our Album Cover Edition of The Divas Are Coming.)
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.