On the seventh day of Xtina-mas, Xtina gave to me a trip down Memory Lane to the House That Girl-Toys-I-Never-Had Built in the form of 2013’s Unforgettable, an unfortunate name for a pop star perfume released in the year that is best remembered for one thing, so let’s have a little context, shall we?
2013 was a helluva year to be alive because Beyoncé Beyoncé’d Beyoncé! Yes, the year in pop certainly had other events, like when Miley Cyrus twerked her way into the raging inferno of America’s moral outrage at the VMAs or when Lady Gaga abruptly ended her Born This Way tour because of a hip injury, took some time off recovering with Marina Abramović, and then released Artpop, a concept album about being trapped in conversation with an overconfident mixed-media-arts grad student at a Bushwick house party as told from the perspective of said grad student. The simple truth, though, is that Beyoncé was the alpha and omega of pop music in 2013, literally.
First Beyoncé performed the Super Bowl Halftime Show, then she did a world tour that wasn’t in support of any new material, then she supposedly scrapped the album she had been working on, and then dropped a full album with companion visual album, Beyoncé, with zero fanfare and mere weeks to before the new year, thereby ensuring the most lasting impression anybody had of pop music in 2013 would be that one time Beyoncé broke the internet. Seriously, I’m not even her biggest fan (unless we’re talking about Obsessed), and I remember thinking this was a huge moment. Seriously, how many people remember what happened less than a week later, when Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera buried the hatchet that had practically defined their relationship from the start and took to the stage of The Voice to duet “Do What U Want”?
As a proof of concept for a Sunset Boulevard meets What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? musical about two forgotten disco-queens living in a fog-filled mansion, I’m all about this performance, but the sad truth is no amount of pearl-colored latex gowns, ridiculous wigs, shoulder pads, and fainting chaises will be as unforgettably zeitgeisty as Beyoncé Beyoncé’ing Beyoncé. Speaking of things that are or aren’t unforgettable, let’s talk about that perfume.
Unforgettable is…well, nice, I guess, but I’m honestly not sure what to say about it, mostly because I’m not sure what I am–or even should be–smelling. It’s kinda like the original Christina Aguilera without the overtly fruity note in the beginning and a less distinctly vanilla, more generically gourmandy sweet base? I don’t know. Fragrantica says it has fruits like plum and pomegranate (supposedly), florals like night blooming jasmine and Turkish rose (allegedly), and a base of vanilla and tonka bean and cashmere (sure?), but all I smell is a Cupcakes doll:
The one that smells like chocolate, maybe? I just don’t know. Cupcakes dolls looked like a antebellum gourmand drag babies and smelled like off-brand boxed cake mix, so of course I wanted them all, even though I didn’t dare ask for them as a seven-year-old. Nostalgia aside, Unforgettable feels like what you’d smell late into the dry down of a similar yet better produced fragrance, and that isn’t a bad thing, per se, but I haven’t thought about Cupcakes dolls in over 20 years, so I’m not sure Unforgettable is aptly name. Is “Forgotten Resentments You Should Probably Talk to Your Therapist About” available?