At the ripe old age of 18, Christina Aguilera has that
girl-you'll-be-a-woman-soon look nailed on the cover of her debut
album. She leans fetchingly against a wall, impeccably made up, with pouty lips and
So, on to the record. Well, it's no secret that the song "Genie in a Bottle" (RealAudio excerpt)
is at the top of the pops with a bullet; it's currently number two on the Billboard
Hot 100 chart after a
few weeks in the top spot.
To the uninitiated, the
song may sound like it's all about sex-sex-sex, but Aguilera told the
San Francisco Chronicle that lyrics such as "The music's banging
and the light's down low/ Just one more dance and we're good to go" and the coy
instruction that "You've got to rub me the right way" have been
misunderstood: "It's a song about self-respect. I think it's a great message
for young girls. It's about not giving your love away too soon and playing
hard to get." Hmm.
Anyway ... the strongest track on the album is the inescapable "Genie in a
Bottle," though fans will probably play the entire disc over and over while
practicing their sultry moves in the mirror. "What A Girl Wants" (RealAudio excerpt) has the
kind of repetitive lyrics that could send a sane person straight to the
loony bin, but to her credit, Aguilera keeps our interest piqued with her
ability to switch from throaty growls to soaring high notes (a la Whitney
Houston). The tear-jerker "I Turn to You" seems designed to incite
concertgoers to link arms and sing along, even while some of us cringe at
the over-the-top vocal histrionics.
On the whole, Aguilera has an instinctive grasp of the insipid state of the
pop/ dance music scene, especially as it relates to her peers. She travels
from blatant come-ons ("When You Put Your Hands On Me," "Come on Over") to
good-girl spirituality ("Blessed"), demonstrating the level of introspection
one might expect from the average 18-year-old.