In 2002, Christina Aguilera released the song “Beautiful” and touched the minds, hearts, and souls of many in the LGBT community. The song came out before it was popular to market songs to the LGBT community and Aguilera won several awards for her song, which was actually written by Linda Perry.
“Beautiful” is the type of song one remembers where they were when they first heard it. This week, Aguilera released another song called “Change,” which is dedicated to the victims of the Orlando shootings. Despite all the publicity, the song has plummeted down from the top ten to No. 31 on the iTunes chart (as of Sunday evening), and it is losing sales at a huge rate when compared to other songs on the chart. Why aren’t people buying the single since proceeds raised go towards the Orlando victims?
Does this mean that people don’t care about the Orlando victims? Absolutely not! Christina Aguilera is having the same problem that other artists have experienced with fundraising songs since “We Are The World” was released in 1985: People think fundraising songs are publicity stunts and insincere.
“Why not just donate money to the cause rather than try and make a ‘song’ about it?” many ask. In an article about the song from People, some of the commenters are rather suspicious of Aguilera.
“I think it would make a stronger statement to donate her own money and release this song as a free download for the next few weeks,” says Grace Fuller.
“How opportunist!” claims Gio.
Even though a lot of the other commenters disagree, it hardly matters. Christina Aguilera’s “Change” is not going to become a hit or a new anthem for the gay community. In some ways, that’s disappointing, especially because the song is actually good. But can you blame people for not wanting to buy the song?
When USA for Africa released “We Are The World” in 1985, it hit No. 1, but became a joke by the end of the year. Besides accusations of the money not helping the cause, it wasn’t considered a good song. The AV Club explains why.
“And yet it’s not like ‘We Are The World’ is even a particularly good song—it swings far too hard for the fences for that. It’s difficult to imagine anyone choosing to listen to it of their own accord as a pop song, even in 1985. Its unwieldy length (over seven minutes) is necessary to accommodate all of the stars with vocal solos.”
Since the release of the song in 1985, many have tried to repeat the success with various fundraising songs, but have failed. In 1986, “Hands Across America” was supposed to be the biggest hit of the spring, but the song barely cracked the charts.
In 1991, many artists joined together to sing “Voices That Care” for the troops fighting in the Persian Gulf War. The song had a lot of publicity, but was completely ignored by radio stations and record buyers. Another flop was Michael Jackson’s 2001 charity song “What More Can I Give,” which the record company wouldn’t even release. According to the A.V. Club, the song was buried when it was made public that the song was not only sponsored by The Church of Scientology, but its producer, Marc Shaffel, had been exposed for being in gay porn.
Luckily, Christina Aguilera wasn’t involved in 2010’s disastrous remake of “We Are The World,” which was supposed to support victims of the Haiti earthquake. However, even though Aguilera’s intentions are good with “Change,” the weight of failed charity singles released before has made the song practically dead on arrival.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]