Christina Aguilera | Genie in a Bottle

Christina Aguilera is in a league of her own.

 
 
She told us she was a “genie in a bottle, baby” and you got to rub her the right way, baby. Soon after that she told the guys “What a Girl Wants,” then put her good girl image to shame and became “Dirrty.” If all those hints don’t help you figure out what songstress I’m talking about then I’ll tell you: Christina Aguilera.
The blue-eyed, half-Ecuadorian and Irish-American sensation debuted on the scene in the midst of the Mickey Mouse Club takeover in 1999. Her self-titled first album showcased her amazing vocal range, unsurprisingly earning her a Grammy. Aguilera became brown suga-worthy with the release of “Reflection” from Disney’s Mulan soundtrack.
I was in the ninth grade at Bellevue Middle in my hometown of Memphis, and it had to be the most difficult time in my life; the hate from classmates was pouring in from all sides. I was trying to please everyone, wearing so many different masks that I was unrecognizable to myself…and then Aguilera blessed me with this song to describe how I was feeling.
She belted out the song effortlessly. “Look at me, you may think you see who I am really am, but you’ll never know me/ Every day it’s as if I play a part/ Now I see if I wear a mask I can fool the world, but I cannot fool my heart.” When she hit the high E over C in the bridge, I was sold and stamped her as one of my favorite artists.
Her second album, Stripped, solidified her place both in music and in my heart. I knew she was a force to be reckoned with. Leading singles for this album were “Dirrty,” “Can’t Hold Us Down,” “Fighter,” “Beautiful” and “The Voice Within.” This by far is my favorite of her albums; I can listen to it repeatedly, no skipped tracks.
“Impossible,” the duet she did with Alicia Keys, made me want to get on top of buildings and shout about her artistic greatness. This song was everything to me, from its wondrous, jazzy piano chords and elaborate vocals, to its brilliantly demanding lyrics and live performance. My head began to bob instantly as she sang, “It’s impossible, impossible to love you/ if you don’t let me know what you’re feeling.” Oh, but when she got to the second verse, she really sang, belting out, “Impossible to make it easy, if you’re always trying to make it so damn hard/ How can I, how can I give you all my love if you’re always putting up your guard/ This is not a circus, don’t you play me for a clown/ How long can emotions keep on going up and down/ Oh, it’s impossible.”
Aguilera is in a league of her own. This album proved she wasn’t afraid to jeopardize her celebrity in order to step outside her comfort zone and really showcase her amazingly big voice. This was definitely a point where you could either hate her or love her, but either way you had to respect what she brought to the world—the “it’s okay to be me, wild and imperfect whether you like it or not” music.
I need no other album to prove her greatness in my eyes, or to prove my diehard fanatic antics. Then she gave not one but two discs with Basic to Basics. While I admit it can’t top or even compete with its predecessor, it was a solid album nonetheless. I loved the 1920s pin-up style she was attempting, and her voice was simply becoming timeless.
“Hurt,” one of my favorites on the album, was released a month before my uncle’s death, and every time I heard it I was an emotional wreck. And even in sad emotion, that’s what I love about Aguilera: her ability to make you become one with the pain, and identify yourself through it.
The video was timeless. It featured her as the star in a circus, her fans her priority. She ignored her father until she received news of his death, and regretted not taking the time to forgive him or herself. She was so delicate in her singing. Her voice is strong and soft at the same time as she admits, “If I had just one more day I would tell you how much that I missed you since you’ve been away/ Oh, it’s dangerous and so out of line to try and turn back time/ I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I couldn’t I just couldn’t do and I’ve hurt myself by hurting you.”
Her latest album, Bionic, well…I don’t yet know about this one. It definitely has some great tunes and is an okay album, but I felt cheated out of my Christina Aguilera experience. However, listening to “Prima Donna” and “Vanity” lets me know that dirrty Miss Aguilera is still in there. I am even more reassured that our genie-in-a-bottle songstress still has the power to amaze us even more with “You Lost Me,” a powerful ballad in which she effortlessly makes love to the symphonic accompaniment.
I’ve watched her go from pop princess to raunchy, raw diva to pretty pinup to robotic, and though the dresses she may don change over time, my love for her will forever remain the same. Thanks, Christina.
XOXO,
A.
I’ve shared my love affair, and now I want you to share yours. Email me at intern@playbackstl.com and tell me your story of how you fell in love with music.
| Ashley White 

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