Teen Genie

Aguilera's "Reflection" appeared on the Mulan Soundtrack.

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

sultry eyes.

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.