Release Date: 10.29.02
Record label: RCA
Area Critic Admits New Christina Album "Better Than He Expected."
by: bill aicher
Ok, let's get one thing straight from the start - Christina Aguilera looks like an all-out tramp in her video for "Dirrty." It's a horrible song, being promoted by an even more horrible video. The bright side, however, is "Dirrty" is absolutely nothing like the rest of Chrstina's new album, Stripped.
It kind of makes sense though, for her to start out promoting her new album with a pure pop nugget. After all, that's where her audience is; she was born out of the teen-pop phenomenon of the late 90s and it'd be foolish to ignore her pre-established fanbase. Sure, "Dirrty's" utter crap, but it sells records. What will really get Christina to be accepted as a real musician, however, is the soul and beauty of her voice on the rest of Stripped.
Throughout the disc you'll find an ample variety of music, ranging from soul to hip-hop to rock, and pretty much everything in-between. There are the Alicia Keys-esque piano-laden ballads of "Walk Away" and "Beautiful," the flamenco of "Infatuation," and the salsa dance-rock of "Make Over" (Pink did this much better, thanks anyway Christina).
What's most impressive about Stripped (as with anything she does) though is Aguilera's voice. The biggest difference here is that she's singing a lot of heartfelt ballads and torch songs (well, as "torch" as pop gets). She's always been the pop-queen with the best voice, and it really comes through here. Songs like "Beautiful" stand out extremely well - so well, in fact, that fans of Norah Jones and Alicia Keys will be more than pleased by Aguilera's vocal presence.
Sure, she still has a bit of growing up to do. There's an underlying feeling here that Christina thinks that just because she's an adult she's entitled to be pornographic at times. It's one thing to be proud and embrace your sexuality, but it's another thing to respect it. That's really where she falls off, but aside from this bit of misdirection (which really doesn't happen all that often, just that when it does happen it happens full-bore) Aguilera has grown up quite a bit. Hopefully the post-teen-pop meltdown continues in similar fashion. 18-Nov-2002 2:45 PM