When Christina Aguilera released her video for “Dirrty” back in 2002, her assless chaps and aggressively sexual come-ons made it patently clear that she had no desire to live out the rest of her career as a cookie-cutter pop star. That overtly adult gamble paid off in spades; not only did her legions of fans stick by her as she matured as both a woman and an artist, but it went a long way towards proving that she could successfully emulate the career path that Madonna chose, trying out different personas as society’s taste in musical styles undulated.
Speaking of Madonna, there are more than a few nods to the Material Girl in Aguilera’s new boundary-pushing (and slightly NSFW) video for “Not Myself Tonight,” the first single off her highly anticipated Bionic LP. Over a club-friendly bed of pounding Polow da Don synths, Aguilera brandishes S&M fetish gear (whips, diamond-studded crotch flaps, leather masks!) in a way that recalls Madge’s “Human Nature” video. At other points, she leads a bevy of shirtless hunks in a series of vaguely militaristic series of dance moves that pay homage to “Express Yourself” (by way of the rain-soaked finale of Step Up 2: The Streets). Oh, and while we’re cataloging some of this video’s influences, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out Christina and director Hype Williams’s visual shout-out to George Michael and his landmark “Freedom 90″ video.
So, we want to hear your thoughts. What do you think of this video? How do you feel about Christina’s new musical direction? Are you going to be blasting this from your car radio all summer long? And don’t forget, if this song (or any of her others) serves to inspire you, we encourage you to share your story over on our VH1 Storytellers site.