Single Review: Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya & Pink “Lady Marmalade”

Lady Marmalade
Album: Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
Year: 2001

Moulin Rouge, the 2001 musical about a courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman) and the author she falls for (Ewan McGregor), had the obligatory song to sell with the movie. In this case, it was a cover of Labelle’s Lady Marmalade featuring four hot-at-the-minute entertainers.

Mya opens the song and is out of her vocal league. Throughout her verse, she strains to reach the notes. The only time she does sound good is after the chorus where she does her “Creole Lady Marmalade” in alto. Pink, on the other hand, does better during her verse. Her singing voice has a natural cynicism to it, which does help sell her bit. She handles her part like a seasoned veteran. Next is Lil’ Kim, at her most useless. Rapping the most incoherent lyrics like “Indendepent women/Some mistake us for whores/Why must spend mine/When I can spend yours,” she brings nothing to the cover. Her sole purpose is to be the entertaining device after Pink by providing a little mainstream rap to the new version. It misfires.

However, during the bridge, Aguilera’s voice is heard, and once again, she’s the main attraction. She takes her verse and the entire song with it. Lady Marmalade is her single now, and she isn’t giving it back. However, she doesn’t have to be so shrill about it, like she is during her own “Creole Lady Marmalade” section. Thankfully, Pink joins in and harmonizes with Aguilera’s voice. Despite the individual flaws, it works as a group effort.

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