4.7 112
by Christina Aguilera

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While her Mickey Mouse Club nemesis, Britney Spears, coyly clings to her not-a-girl/not-yet-a-woman status, Christina Aguilera has no qualms about proclaiming her hot-blooded grown-upness on her ambitious sophomore disc, Stripped. Aguilera appears strategically topless on the disc's provocative cover and totally nude inSee more details below


While her Mickey Mouse Club nemesis, Britney Spears, coyly clings to her not-a-girl/not-yet-a-woman status, Christina Aguilera has no qualms about proclaiming her hot-blooded grown-upness on her ambitious sophomore disc, Stripped. Aguilera appears strategically topless on the disc's provocative cover and totally nude in one of the booklet's photos. Despite all the flesh baring, however, the album is more about being emotionally naked than actually disrobing. On the 20 confessional, genre-hopping songs, Aguilera confirms why her 1999 Grammy win for Best New Artist was no fluke: She has viscerally soulful chops that rival a pre-breakdown Mariah on her best day. With songs such as the classic soul–inspired, Alicia Keys–penned "Impossible," the Latin-tinged homage to her ex, "Infatuation," and the girl power hip-hop anthem "Can't Hold Us Down," featuring Lil' Kim, Aquilera graduates with honors from the teen pop ranks of Britney and Mandy to the adult pop-'n'-soul realm of Janet and Whitney. Aguilera also takes a few cues from her rebellious "Lady Marmalade" collaborator, Pink, by working with Linda Perry of 4-Non Blondes. Perry reprises the gritty rock edge she lent to Pink's outstanding Missundazstood on four songs here, including the soul-baring ballad "Beautiful" and the haunting, acoustic guitar–laced "I'm OK," about growing up with an abusive father. What's most surprising is that Aguilera -- for all her pouty camera come-ons and porn star attire -- thinks of herself as a misfit. "Sorry I'm not a virgin/Sorry I'm not a slut/I won't let you break me/Think what you want," she belts on the "Stripped Pt. 2" interlude. While her image may still invite criticism, there's no denying this young woman is an unparalleled talent. Let's just hope Ms. Aguilera soon realizes that she doesn't have to take her clothes off to prove her worth.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
According to Christina Aguilera, the title of her second album, Stripped, refers to her emotions and not her body, but the topless photograph of her on the cover suggests otherwise. Most things about Stripped suggest sex, actually, since Xtina -- as she calls herself in a handful of interviews accompanying the release of the album -- never hesitates to put her body, her piercings, and recently liberated sexual beliefs on display throughout her hyper-sexual, convoluted sophomore effort. Like any diva, Christina believes her trials and tribulations are inherently more fascinating than anybody else's and, like any diva, she has an inflated sense of self-importance, defiantly strutting on the "Stripped Intro" that she's "sorry you can't define me/sorry I break the mold." What she's referring to is anybody's guess, since she hasn't exactly defied expectations since her last album -- releasing a Christmas album and a Spanish-language record of your debut ain't exactly breaking the mold: it is the mold. Plus, Stripped clearly has its origins in the sound of two of Christina's teen pop contemporaries -- the teasing sexiness of Britney Spears and the wonderful, gonzo dance-rock confessionals of P!nk, who truly did break the mold with M!ssundaztood. Since Aguilera spent so much time working on the album, tearing through a seemingly countless number of producers, she seems desperate to not just catch-up with these two, but surpass them in sex and confessions, breaking it down so they become the same thing, while adding a strong hip-hop undercurrent throughout all the songs. And the end result is utterly bizarre, surpassing Mariah Carey's Glitter as the modern-day standard for musical immolation while rivaling The Teaches of Peaches in its sheer carnality. Where Peaches is always in control of her sexuality, using it as a weapon and a joke in equal measures, Christina is overwhelmed by the reaction of others to her sexuality, putting it on equal ground with her voice, which remains a remarkably powerful instrument, especially since she's toned down the scale-running histrionics from her debut. If she's mastered her vocals, she's still desperately searching for her artistic voice, placing too much emphasis on club and street-level R&B, which fit her poorly (why "Dirrty," a non-song that requires less range, over the slinky sexiness of "I'm a Slave 4 U," the first single?), when she needs full-blown songs. There are some here, though, most notably the Linda Perry collaboration "Beautiful," which was rush-released as a second single, but the ceaseless 70-minute running time and seemingly endless 20 songs mean that individual moments are lost and the big picture remains. And that big picture is that of an artist who has grown up too fast, while the sound is that of an artist who's given too much freedom too early and hasn't yet figured out what to do with it.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Christina Aguilera   Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Alex Al   Bass
Maxi Anderson   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Glen Ballard   Guitar
Alexandra Brown   Background Vocals
Matt Chamberlain   Drums
Richard Dodd   Cello
Larry Gold   Conductor
John Goux   Guitar
Gary Grant   Horn
Lili Haydn   Violin,Viola
Jerry Hey   Horn
Dan Higgins   Horn
Russell Jackson   Bass
Randy Kerber   Keyboards
Michael Landau   Guitar
Tarus Mateen   Bass
Dave Navarro   Guitar
Linda Perry   Bass,Guitar,Piano,Strings
Greg Phillinganes   Piano,Hammond Organ
Alfie Silas   Background Vocals
Ramon Stagnaro   Acoustic Guitar
Maxine Willard Waters   Background Vocals
Arthur White   Guitar
Orion Crawford   Chart
Darryl Dixon   Horn
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach   Horn
Mike Elizondo   Bass
?uestlove   Drums
David Warner   Guitar (Electric Tenor)
Brian Frazier Moore   Drums
Rob Hoffman   Guitar,fender rhodes
David Siegel   Keyboards
David Watson   Horn
Charles Hines   Background Vocals
Eric King   Background Vocals
Alicia Keys   Piano,Background Vocals
Paul Alexandre John   Drums
Aaron Fishbein   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Mike Stinson   Drums
Crystal Drummer   Background Vocals
Uriah Duffy   Bass
Shanti Randall   Viola
Damon Fox   Keyboards
Kameron Houff   Drums
Toya Smith   Background Vocals
Brian Macleod   Drums

Technical Credits

Glen Ballard   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Scott Campbell   Engineer
Ron Fair   Executive Producer,String Arrangements
Larry Gold   String Arrangements
Linda Perry   Composer,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,drum programming,Instrumentation
Scott Spencer Storch   Composer,Producer
Anson Dawkins   Choir Arrangement
Eric Dawkins   Choir Arrangement
Davy Vain   Pro-Tools
Jeri Heiden   Art Direction
William Ross   Orchestral Arrangements
Rockwilder   Producer
Steve Morales   Arranger,Composer,Producer,drum programming
Balewa Muhammad   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Wassim Zreik   Engineer
Oscar Ramirez   Engineer
Rob Hoffman   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Orchestra Production
Christina Aguilera   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
E. Dawk   Arranger,Producer
Shane Stoner   Engineer
Matthew Morris   Composer
David Siegel   Composer
Heather Holley   Composer,Producer
David Guerrero   Engineer
Alicia Keys   Composer,Instrumentation
Glen Nakasako   Art Direction
Matt Morris   Composer
Jasper Cameron   Arranger,Composer,Producer

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