On the sixth day of Xtina-mas, Xtina gave to me apple, spice, sandalwood, and other safe decisions in the form of Red Sin, the 2012 Christina Aguilera fragrance that asks, “What could we do that we haven’t done before? Great, now what’s the exact opposite of that?” But first: a little context, shall we?
2012 was a helluva year to be alive if you were an End-of-Times Evangelical or believed in the Mayan calendar, because it was the end of the world that almost was, and XXXtina was in the studio recording her truth like there was no tomorrow. Really, how else do you explain the Joe Eszterhas-approved, Pulitzer-prize worthy NSFW poetry that is the uncensored version of “Your Body”:
Three thoughts, if I may offer them, while you scrub the filth from your ears:
- I’m no prude, but the first time I heard this song, even I clutched my pearls. No, not because it offended my sensibilities (I have none), but because I was in awe of how Xtina had found new depths in shameless vulgarity by which to define herself. I imagine this is what it was like like to witness the moon landing or live through the advent of the steam engine.
- If you can get past the lyrics (which you can’t, because they’re insane), “Your Body” is a really catchy song, even if you’ll eventually find yourself asking “But what does ‘f*ck your body’ mean?” and I’ll just shrug and answer, “…pegging?”
- This version of “Your Body” is so thirsty (for sex, attention, etc.) that everybody on Grindr during leg day day at the Chelsea David Barton Gym is worried if it’s getting enough electrolytes and Instagram likes. It’s so thirsty that your sluttiest friend instinctively hisses “You leave me out of this!!!” before you can even finish your metaphor. My point is, I’m not sure if this song is about female desire, gay male desire, or even human desire, but I feel like it’s the lynchpin to my working theory that Christina Aguilera is the most high-camp take on sexuality this side of Showgirls.
All that said, and I’m sure this will come as no surprise, but the uncensored version of “Your Body” never saw an official release. Oddly enough, when Lotus finally came out in the fall, only the radio-friendly censored version was to be found, despite the album still having its fair share of f-bombs on “Circles.” It’s impossible to say for sure, but I suspect “F*ck Your Body” inspired a whole lotta “Oh no you don’t, GURHL”s over at NBC and a crisis of faith in Camp Christina. XXXtina had also discovered her bridge too far, so her finest hour was nixed, probably in an effort to better capitalize on the Middle-America audience she held captive weekly on The Voice.
I guess you can’t blame her, though. 2012 otherwise felt like a messy year, so it was best to stay in your lane. Lady Gaga was touring for Born This Way and already talking about/recording her next album. Madonna called Gaga “reductive”, performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Showm and spent the rest of the year snatching at Gaga’s wig wall by interpolating the chorus of “Born This Way” into “Express Yourself” during the MDNA tour. Britney didn’t want none of that, so she took a gig on The X Factor, if only to prove to the world that she has no pa-pa-pa-poker face:
Beyoncé gave birth (OR DID SHE?!?) to Blue Ivy and went to work on an album (more on that next year). Oh, and some nice, pretty blonde girl from Nashville who Kanye West was mean to once decided to write an album with some songs about the one time she made like Kelly Preston and acted a professional beard, but she’s technically still a country artist, so we don’t have to worry about her. YET.
If it’s feeling like 2012 was particularly cluttered, you’re right! Everybody wants a piece of the pie when they think the pie’s gonna run out on December 12th, so I guess you can’t blame Xtina for just trying to get whatever pie she can, even if that pie is just the same old apple pie we’ve already had before. Oh, I’m not talking about her music anymore, by the by. I’m talking about her second apple fragrance, Red Sin.
Red Sin is definitely the Lotus of her perfumes: eager to be liked by the widest audience and therefore incredibly risk averse. It’s By Night, but without the heavy does of vanilla, so it lacks that creamy sweetness that made By Night appealing. There’s apple and spice and a base of just sandalwood, which is fine, but this is a Christina Aguilera fragrance, so everything feels blended to the point of blurring together, and it feels so very done-before that I refuse to find any new words to describe it, so here’s a GIF from 2012 that best sums up my thoughts: