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CD Reviews: Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera: Stripped
January 2003
By: Linda Spielman
album cover of Christina Aguilera's Stripped

It's been almost four years since Christina Aguilera's debut album and chart topping hit Genie In A Bottle. Needless to say, in those four years, she has given us quite a lot to talk about. The petite songstress has a voice twice her size and her ever changing style has made all of us turn and do a double take more than once. However, despite all the talk and controversy of what Christina may or may not be wearing, nobody can argue that her voice and talent can compare equally to those of veterans like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.

Stripped is a far cry from the Christina Aguilera's first album, which was "record label, cookie cutter pop." Christina again gets the opportunity to flex her vocal muscles, but also has taken great time and care into writing many of the songs herself, aided at times by the help of Linda Perry, formerly of 4 Non Blondes and a principle co-writer on Pink's Mizundastood. She also holds co-producing credits on the album as well. All of the time, writing, and care that was put into Stripped yielded a very personal record on Aguilera's behalf. She not only tackled a wide range of musical styles, but also deep personal issues which shine through in her writing. She also took a major chance in shattering all of the preconceived notions the public has of who she is and what she should be, by making this album exactly how she wanted every step of the way. For a woman--- and a young woman at that--- to take a stand in a male dominated industry by conceiving, writing, performing and producing her record the way she wanted it says a lot for her own strength and clout in the recording industry. Some people may be surprised, some may be disappointed in the final outcome of Stripped. However, no one can argue that it takes a lot of guts to go against the tide and do what one wants to do. The only criticism on the album is that Christina need not try so hard to prove she has talent. Nobody can belt out a song like she can. She doesn't have two Grammy Awards because she is just a mediocre singer.

Like they say in Hollywood, any publicity is good publicity. And Miss Aguilera always seems to be at the center of some fashion or style controversy. She is who she is, dresses as she chooses and makes no apologies for any of it. I see it as a reincarnation of a certain 80s icon, Madonna, who also was famous (or infamous) for her ever changing style, her controversial songs, videos, and wardrobe and her in your face confidence that has made her a formidable presence in the entertainment industry as a whole. So, will we see Christina Aguilera in fifteen years with her own label and a multifaceted career? Probably! However, I am sure along the way there will be continued growth in her music and a few surprises which none of us ever will have expected.