Though we wish we could take credit, that’s Esquire’s headline to an interesting think piece on the trajectory of many female pop stars: from wholesome daughters to coquettish vixens. The phenomenon’s called the “Butterfly Effect” after Mariah Carey’s Butterfly album, introducing the singer’s bikini-clad, skin-bearing (alter?) ego. The Esquire piece’s thesis:
Like Nelly Furtado, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Jessica Simpson before her, Stone has become another victim of the “Butterfly Effect.” See, when a promising female artist reaches her third or fourth album, they will invariably announce their latest work showcases the “real them.” And sadly, that “reality” falls somewhere south of the third-string bartender at Hogs & Heifers and just north of a Hunt’s Point pavement pounder.
“The biggest magazine success story of the last 10 years has been Maxim, and in the Maximization of the music industry, the only way in if you?re a female artist is to show ass,? said Jim DeRogatis, rock critic at the Chicago Sun-Times.
We see the same thing in the “rock” world, too. When more established artists attempt a transformation from guitar-toter to sex object — Sheryl Crow (’02), Jewel (’03), Liz Phair’s boobs (’03) — is that the ’butterfly effect’ or just selling out? DeRogatis sees it as a matter of economics:
It’s for the same reason hair bands made ballads back in the ?80s: their audience was a bunch of beer-drinking wannabe biker boys and they needed something that would get their girlfriends to come to the shows. With the ?Butterfly? artists, they?re making girlish pop, but there?s the added element for the guys. The girls scream and the guys drool.
We have no idea what Jim’s talking about.