Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Do What U Want | Lady Gaga feat. Christina Aguilera

Rating: ★★★★★

Well, just when you thought Lady Gaga had pulled out all of the stops in ARTPOP's promotional schedule, she shocks us all once again, now opting to shadow over her current single "Do What U Want" with... well... "Do What U Want."

"Do What U Want" was originally marketed with rapper R. Kelly, just as it appears on the track listing of ARTPOP, but as of the last live performance of the song, R. Kelly has been axed and replaced by none other than Christina Aguilera, despite a seemingly rocky past between her and Gaga.

This version marks a fourth for the song: a live solo version, the R. Kelly dub, a (terrible) Rick Ross remix, and now the Legend X duet. Minus the Rick Ross remix, which I've tried to banish from my memory, each version has been great. R. Kelly's verse takes a more sexual road, offering up a flirtatious relationship ("You're the Marilyn, I'm the president / And I'd love to hear you sing, girl"). 

Meanwhile, the solo and Christina Aguilera edits share the same lyrics in the second verse, going back to the original root meaning of the songs, when Gaga was struggling to make it through each show with her broken hip and was still dealing with constant tabloid rumors ("My bones hurt from all the shows / But I don't feel the pain because I'm a pro" and "My body belongs to you when I'm on stage").

I must say, when I first heard of this duet possibly being a happening thing, I was appalled. I even texted my friend (who is a massive Christina Aguilera fan) and had a giant meltdown, afraid that Aguilera would use her awful sing-growl technique all over the song to ruin it. I was not here for that at all. However, once I heard it, I found that DJ White Shadow did a great job at toning down Aguilera's inner tiger. The production helps emphasize that nice blend between her and Gaga and overall I think the duet will help the song.

Lady Gaga has been completely silent on this version of "Do What U Want" thus far. The song was released as a single two months ago and still doesn't have a music video yet, and Gaga seems completely unsure on what she's doing with the song. I can't help feel like the music video delay and this new Christina Aguilera duet is partially thanks to Interscope's promotional team. 

Promoting such a controversial figure like R. Kelly is much more challenging than promoting Christina Aguilera, who has seemed to be recently kicking life into everybody's career except her own (say hello to Pitbull and A Great Big World and goodbye to Bionic and Lotus). But will this version of "Do What U Want" perhaps ride off of the Legend X wave created by "Say Something" and help boost the song overall? Only time will tell.

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