Whose Kiss Is This

" \'My music is in nightclubs, but also in kindergartens and at weddings, and all kinds of places,' she says of her broad appeal. 'In music, there are no rules. Like painting, you can mix color and textures.'" Well, she has me here, I guess: My writing has never been in kindergartens, since I couldn't spell yet. But some of my drawings were. And writing, like music, has no rules (unless you count grammar, meaning, diction, coherence, comprehensibility—those sorts of things). You can mix nouns and verbs. In the same sentence.

The fact that Rubio is good in a number of styles means that there's a consistent aesthetic intelligence at work—good music results from thought, a multitude of judgments and choices, on every record (though maybe promo-sheet babble doesn't best represent it). As for what Paulina's trying to say in her fan bio, I doubt that "Don't Say Goodbye" comes across as her kiss to the world, that there's a particular woman with a particular body and hairstyle and history whom I'm responding to. Amber and LeAnn could have done this kiss too, as could a whole bunch of others who are only names to me, or unnamed voices. Paulina hasn't made the genre a vehicle for her personality, and she doesn't need to. She doesn't need to be a Shakira or a Mariah. Her point about "no rules" is that she's free to do a bunch of different musical forms—rock, ranchera, bolero, ballad, disco. But I don't see how that's so free, since all pop singers are multistylists; that's one of the rules of modern pop. However, Paulina does seem to benefit from disco's haphazard omnivorousness. When the even-more-eclectic Celine Dion covers Nat King Cole or duets with Pavarotti, she's displaying her bona fides as a singer, whereas when Paulina does a disco cover of Kiss's "I Was Made for Lovin' You," she's got no point to make other than let's see what this'll sound like. "I Was Made for Lovin' You" had always wanted to be disco anyway, and back in 1975 K-Tel Records had already declared Kiss a disco act by including Kiss's "Rock and Roll All Nite" on K-Tel's Disco Maniacompilation, right between the Hues Corporation and BT Express. Like, I was made for discoing, baby; you were made to disco me.

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