A guest blog written by Jamie Clarke. You can agree/disagree with him here.
Song: ‘Your Body’
Artist: Christina Aguilera
US chart peak: 34
Release date: September 12, 2012
Writers: Savan Kotecha, Max Martin, Shellback, Tiffany Amber
Producers: Max Martin, Shellback
Quintessential Max moment: The whole middle-eight section, but the epic melismatic “Yeah” as the final chorus crashes back in is musical boner-inducing brilliance in action
Video synopsis: NO MEN WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS VIDEO. Xtina auditions for Drag Race, awash with a beautiful pastel filter, by showcasing an ample collection of wigs
By 2012, Max Martin had worked his magic for all but one future pop superstar who had begun their career as part of the Mickey Mouse Club Class of ’94. Christina Aguilera had achieved a humungous amount of success after breaking out with ‘Genie In A Bottle’ in ’99 and had managed to sustain in her own admittedly creative lane until the release of her 2010 flop album ‘Bionic’.
In a characteristically modest way Christina explains how she came to work with Max for the first time; “I think he and I are coming together right now is because of the places we’re both at in our careers having come full circle. He was exploding on the scene around the same time I was blowing up during the whole pop phenomenon…He was doing Britney, and ‘NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, and I wanted to go a different route. I didn’t want to play it safe.”
There’s nothing like ingratiating yourself to a tried and trusted hitmaker, eh Xtina? As if that wasn’t cringe-inducing enough, she continued: “Max gave me a song that allowed me to use my pipes, and be myself. Going into working with him, we had a mutual respect. He’s known about me, but we haven’t crossed paths. I’m a vocalist first, I need to make this a Christina record, and he got that.”
Bless you, Max, for being so accommodating, because if you hadn’t we might not have been blessed with the stone-cold banger that is ‘Your Body’ – a classic electro-pop smash featuring tight synths, skittering beats, 90s video-game blips and of course Xtina’s admittedly ample pipes.
Never one to shy away from owning her sexuality – make sure you rub her the right way, boys or girls – ‘Your Body’ finds Xtina in sexually commanding territory, teasing: “If you don’t know where to go/I’ll finish off on my own.” Fair enough, can’t blame you really.
It’s a shame ‘Your Body’ didn’t chart higher as it would have likely resulted in the release of the other Max Martin banger from ‘Lotus’, ‘Let There Be Love’ as a fully-fledged single (not a ‘gift to the fans’ with a mortifyingly embarrassing homemade music video). Max was so disappointed that it underperformed that he seemingly let Jessie J/Dr Luke have their way with the song’s melody after Xtina had finished with it – ‘Abracadabra’ anyone?
The song’s underperformance had nothing to do with Max or his ability to write a corking pop hit. It was bad timing. It’s almost, sort of, kind of, actual scientific fact that if an artist has an underperforming album, the follow-up suffers too, whether it’s the best work of their career or not. The music buying public are fickle beasts.
Christina’s career has never recovered from ‘Your Body’ because if you’re a pop artist who can’t have a hit with a single written and produced by the master of Pop songwriting and production, then will you ever have a hit again? The answer is likely to be no.
If you’d like to write a guest blog on a Max Martin song that didn’t make the US Top 10 then there’s information on how to do that right here.