Tech Appeal

(This piece was written in Spring 2010.)

The girl next door has left the building. In her place, we have the pop star from outer space, who references the future with edgy stage wear and robots.

Musically and stylistically, today’s most popular singers are looking to the future for inspiration in a high-tech strut into the 22nd century. Musicians have adopted a futuristic style of stage wear that evokes the look of robots, with getups that are metallic, angular and hard-edged, while the robot itself has made a number of appearances in music videos and on stage.

Christina Aguilera, "Bionic" (2010)

The point was driven home again this month, when Christina Aguilera announced that her anticipated fourth album, which will be released this summer, is called “Bionic.” On the album’s cover, Aguilera comes across as the lovechild of Princess Leah, Marilyn Monroe, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator. Half of her face shows the Xtina we have come to know and love: fair skin, blue eyes, and lips bathed in rouge. The other half is an android comprised of bolts and wires: the inner workings of a pop star gone robotic. Aguilera gushed about her makeover to InTouch, saying, “I’m so excited — I’ve had an idea for a futuristic feel for many years now. It’s always been in the back of my mind to do a more futuristic sound.”

Her new space age image places her in a league with music’s current fembots such as Lady Gaga, who is resurrected as Fritz Lang’s robot in Metropolis in “Paparazzi” after being thrown off of a balcony by her boyfriend. Beyoncé, with a golden Thierry Mugler metallic bodysuit, also becomes a robot in her surreal video for “Sweet Dreams.” Rihanna got into the robo-craze when she suggestively danced with two big robots during her performance of “Rude Boy” at this year’s Kid’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »


Q&A with Jason Lipshutz, Editorial Assistant at Billboard.com

A few days after my interview with Simon Curtis, I spoke to Jason Lipshutz, the editorial assistant at Billboard.com who wrote a feature on the rising pop star. Here are some excerpts from the interview, where we talked about Simon, as well as the Internet’s costs and benefits for artists trying to make it in the music industry.

1.     What types of topics or genres do you cover at Billboard?

I work for both the magazine and mostly the website. It deals with a lot of different genres: pop, rock, mostly popular music. We don’t specialize in emerging bands as of now, but we focus more on established artists.

2.     So it was rare that you featured someone like Simon Curtis, an independent act. How did you become aware of him?

We did a feature on Simon because first off, his music is compelling, and second, because he has a following. We saw that he has a fan base, and he’s performing pretty well in terms of social media. Read the rest of this entry »