In the mid to late nineties, bubblegum pop was a trend that had firmly cemented itself into the psyche of pre-teens everywhere, and showed no signs of relenting its’ firm grasp. Acts like Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys drew listeners in with their insatiably catchy melodies and contagious vocal harmonies. While this period in time now a days is generally thought of as a dark cloud over mainstream music that rained one feather light boy band upon our heads after another, it’s generally over-looked that during this blasphemous period of time in music, some genuine talent emerged to the masses at large. Case in point: Christina Aguilera. With a powerful reputation and a voice to match, the fact that superstardom came so relatively easy for her really isn’t too surprising. Before she was "Dirrty"
, she was a squeaky clean pop goddess with a voice that more than likely kept Britney on edge for quite some time. While a lot of her, shall we say, “antics" tend to override her sophomore effort, the overall
vibe you’ll pick up from this album is a fun-loving but eager girl with morals and standards (excluding, of course, some well-placed come-ons and sexually frustrated proclamations).
There are many traits that Aguilera has that set her apart from other pop divas of her time. One such trait is her obviously amazing voice. Said voice can bring unparalleled energy to the jauntier numbers like the
voraciously addictive “Come On Over (All I Want Is You)"
, and lull listeners into a somewhat forlorn trance on ballads like “I Turn To You"
. The majority of the songs in which Aguilera lends her explosive vocal chords are no less impressive, boasting great arrangements and catchy beats and synth hooks. With that said, there are obviously going to be filler tracks on this, her eponymous debut album
, and the fillers that compromise a portion of this album are ridiculously corny. It’s very difficult to take Aguilera seriously in songs like “Obvious"
, which are essentially cliché 90’s pop. And then, of course, there’s the lyrical content.
While it’s a given that if you listen to Aguilera (or any artist of her ilk, really), you’re not listening to stumble across lyrical revelations manifested in three minute pop form. For all it’s youthful charm and harmoniously gratifying splendor, Aguilera’s breakthrough hit, “Genie In A Bottle"
contains arguably some of the worst lyrical content of the entire pop craze. For example.
If you want to be with me
Baby there’s a price to pay
I’m a genie in a bottle, you gotta rub me the right way
If you want to be with me, I can make your wish come true
You gotta make a big impression, I gotta like what you do
While certainly not horrid lyrics, they do symbolize what the times were musically/lyrically, and provide a base for many younguns’ of today to assault her meaningless songs. Quit smirking Metallicaman. Do you think “The Four Horsemen “ is
While some of the ballads are irrevocably corny, some of them sound truly heartfelt. “Reflection"
is a emotive number, and while the musical arrangement proves that the songwriters were earning there paycheck, it’s Christina’s voice that really captures your ear. And yes, this was in the movie Mulan
Around the time of “Love For All Seasons"
I began to grow bored. While I listened, I would twiddle my thumbs. After that grew old (rather fast), I began to try throwing pennies into an adjacent cup. When that lost its’ value, I let my mind wander until I came to the conclusion that the next three songs, starting with the aforementioned “Love For All Seasons"
, are just plain dismal. Elaborate? Of course.
If you manage to keep focus on the previously mentioned three songs, and not
let your attention span snap like it will probably want to, you’ll notice something. They contain no melodic hook. As a matter of fact, all three songs rely on Aguileras’ “Whoa"-ing to keep them going, and blatantly ignoring the concept of depth in songwriting. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with around half of the album itself, with the four charting singles working overtime. While sugary synths and the occasional guitar fill can make some songs contagious, they absolutely destroy others. While the heartfelt balladry of some songs hits home and caresses the ear, others molest it and bore me to tears. The curse of being a pop idol.
While I wasn’t necessarily assuming that the album would render all other pop obsolete (even though in its’ time, it more or less did), I was going to
assume some songs offering some fulfillment. So, did it do enough to satisfy
? Quite honestly, yes it did. While a lot of the songs are bubblegum trash, there are some authentic pop gems on the album, and whether the song itself is good or not, Christina is superb throughout. Will it satisfy me, the humble reader?
That depends. If you
can shelve some pride and check it out, you may be pleasantly surprised. If you like
catchy melodies, I’d say give it a chance.
Currently, Mrs. Aguilera is working on her Junior effort, Back to the Basics
which will succeed the notorious and overall disappointing Stripped
. Aguilera claims that the album will be even more complex
than its predecessor, which in the world of pop usually pans out to regret. A single, “Ain’t No Other Man"
has been leaked and released, and seems to indicate Aguileras’ willingness to continue where Stripped
left off, as it does mimic some styles of the songs
. While I suppose this could fall under the category of “disappointing", trying to rehash this album would most surely be a devastating mistake for the still-young pop queen. As for you, the reader, there are plenty of other albums like it left over form the culture shock, but the difference is this: this is
the real deal talent-wise, and if you’re willing to try
and put up with some nonsense filler and cliche lyircs, you may find yourself enjoying it
more than you’ll readily admit. Back to the Basics
is scheduled for release this summer, and those who enjoy this can only hope it will outdo everything else. Anyway
, would you really want another album of hits, filler, and purgatory?
Some catchy songs
Reminds me of a simpler time
Unbearably cheesy at times
Tends to drag on and lose my interest about halfway through
The karma will get you