Christina Aguilera – Christina Aguilera – 1999
Claimed Sales: 14m
First listen?: Yes
Format Listened?: Apple Music
Ask any pop fan what Christina Aguilera’s biggest album is and I’m pretty sure that 90% of people would assume that the 2002 album Stripped would take the crown. Instead it’s Aguilera’s debut that has managed to sell the most copies, thanks in massive part to the trio of US number 1 hits that take their place near the top of the tracklist here. The first of these, opener and debut international single Genie In A Bottle still hits hard nearly 20 years on with its balance of sensual electronic production and a powerful vocal from Christina. Unlike just about all of her teen pop contemporaries, Genie In A Bottle is such an assured performance all round that it’s a debut single that stands up against most her following hits. What A Girl Wants showcases her fun side, while displaying even more of that massive voice but honed in the right places. It’s a perfectly formed pop track that allows this new performer to shine. The last of the three Come On Over (All I Want Is You) is even more joyful, but sadly the album version lacks the youthful energy and punchiness of the infinitely improved single version. Elsewhere the album moves between RnB pop mid tempos like the bouncy Somebody’s Somebody or the Robin Thicke written (!?) standout When You Put Your Hands On Me which manage to edge slightly ahead of similar bubblegum pop here. Sadly everything else manages to be ridiculously over sung and painfully sentimental ballads. I Turn To You is a Mariah aping mega ballad, while Mulan soundtrack song Reflection features some of the most ridiculous vocals of Aguilera’s career. Blessed follows suit, while the exhausting final track Obvious sounds like a completely different artist to those knockout singles. Perhaps this is Christina Aguilera’s biggest problem as an album, on the uptempo singles Christina is allowed to push her performance just enough, but perhaps not as much as she would want to do herself. On the ballads all bets are off and while it’s certainly impressive to hear such a young voice have such a huge sound, for a listener it’s just nowhere near as interesting. Christina Aguilera certainly does the job of a debut teen pop album, showcasing her vocal talents and setting her apart from the crowd without abandoning the sound of the time. The killer singles here, namely Genie In A Bottle and What A Girl Wants lay the groundwork for what would fast become her own sound, even if the rest of the album isn’t worth returning to.
Will I listen again?: Probably not.
Best Track: Genie In A Bottle and What A Girl Wants are both 10/10 pop songs and arguably the two best songs of Xtina’s career. Here though the confidence and energy of Genie edges it for me.