From Madonna to Michael Jackson to Bettie Page, we give you a rundown of the influences on Xtina’s new clip.
By James Montgomery
Christina Aguilera’s jaw-dropping “Not Myself Tonight” sees the pop star getting back to her “Dirrty” roots, but that’s not the only thing about it feels a bit nostalgic.
See, in addition to all the bondage, barely there outfits and heavy breathing on display in the clip, there’s a whole lot of it that also reminds us of some of the greatest videos of yesteryear (or even last year). There’s a familiar feel to “Tonight,” which is just part of why watching it is such a blast (those barely there outfits are another). So in order to maximize your enjoyment, we’ve compiled this handy pop-culture cheat sheet, a sort of scorecard of the many influences that flash before your eyes. Oh, and we’ve alphabetized it for your perusing ease.
Here’s what you may have missed in Christina Aguilera’s “Not Myself Tonight”:
“Bad Romance”: Epic, white-washed Lady Gaga video. From Christina’s cat-like crawl across the floor to her red lingerie, there’s a whole lot of “Not Myself Tonight” that’s reminiscent of “Bad Romance” though, for brevity’s sake, let’s just focus on the black pair of Carrera shades she wears at the beginning of the video. Gaga can be seen rocking an identical pair in “Romance,” although hers are white.
Dewan-Tatum, Jenna: Actress/wife of “G.I. Joe” star Channing Tatum (the two met on the set of 2006’s “Step Up”) makes a cameo in “Tonight” as Aguilera’s bound-at-the-wrists S&M slave. This scene also appeared in the director’s cut of “Step Up,” which is, like, really weird.
“Dip It Low”: Sex-sational 2004 video by Christina Milian. In the clip, Milian rolls around in — and then covers herself with — what appears to be black oil. In “Tonight,” Aguilera douses herself in the same black liquid, though this appears to be black milk. Perhaps it’s a nod to the Detroit rapper/producer of the same name? Probably not.
“Express Yourself”: Truthfully, there are several Madonna videos referenced in “Not Myself Tonight,” but especially this iconic 1989 clip helmed by David Fincher. More than anything, it appears to be the primary influence on Aguilera’s clip, from the monocle Xtina wears to the Fritz Lang-ian sets. Other similarities? In “Express Yourself,” Madonna crawls across the floor and laps milk out of a bowl, just like Christina. Both clips feature “dancing in the rain” sequences and gratuitous guy-on-girl groping. Not like we’re complaining about that last one, to be honest.
“Freedom! ’90”: Supermodel-packed George Michael video also directed by Fincher. When Christina torches her closet in “Tonight,” it appears to be a direct homage to Michael’s video, though we’re fairly certain when Fincher set fire to Michael’s iconic leather jacket (which was also hanging in a closet) there was some sort of deeper meaning intended.
Hair: Filamentous cells containing keratin that grow from follicles in the dermis (not the Broadway play, though, come to think of it, that works too). In “Tonight,” Christina’s many hairstyles recall style icons like Bettie Page, Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani and Gaga. Also, her blown-and-bedazzled ‘do reminds us of a similar style she rocked in the “Lady Marmalade” video.
“Human Nature”: Incredibly S&M-heavy Madonna video from 1995 (it’s also the one where she has cornrows.) By popular demand, we added this clip to our Cheat Sheet, and to be honest, we sort of can’t believe we forgot it. The influence on “Tonight” is pretty evident, most notably in Christina’s leather get-ups, her dominatrix attitude and the sultry chair-related activities she engages in throughout.
Jackson, Michael: Late, great King of Pop. One could argue that basically everything in the “Tonight” video is an homage to MJ’s greatness, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the crotch-grab-apalooza that Xtina and her dancers engage in at one point. Tributes take many forms, it would appear.
“Like A Prayer”: Legendarily controversial Madonna clip. There’s no burning crosses or black Jesus in “Tonight,” but the church in which Christina and her cohorts cavort does seem rather familiar now, doesn’t it?
Voldo: Spindly, S&M-themed character from the “Soul Calibur” video games. When Aguilera stuffs a studded ball-gag in her mouth in the “Tonight” video, she bears an eerie resemblance to Voldo, right down to the barely there outfit. Though, we suspect that probably wasn’t what she was going for.
Did we miss anything in the “Not Myself Tonight” video? Let us know in the comments below!
This story was originally published on 4.30.10 at 2:49 p.m. ET.
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