Today, the 22nd of June 2019, it is 20(!!!) years ago that Christina Aguilera released her proper debut single ‘Genie In A Bottle’ stateside. The irresistible late 90s pop bugglegum pop number became an international number 1 hit and catapulted the singer into worldwide pop stardom. Now, 20 years later, she has has six studio albums and a string of hit singles to her name. To celebrate the anniversary of ‘Genie In A Bottle’, A Bit of Pop Music selects her 20 best solo singles!
Scroll down for a Spotify Playlist with the 20 singles and her best collaborations and album tracks!
20. Keeps Gettin’ Better (2008)
With just three albums out, Christina Aguilera already had enough hit singles to release a Best Of compilation. Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade of Hits also included some new material, such as the title track. It marked Aguilera’s departure from the retro sound of Back To Basics towards a more electronic sound on Bionic. Still a bop!
19. What A Girl Wants (1999)
‘What A Girl Wants’ was the follow up to Aguilera’s highly successful debut single and sported a similar sound. The track was her second number 1 hit in the USA. This is pure sugary and sweet bubblegum bop and it might not have aged the best way, but that chorus is still undeniable.
18. Oh Mother (2006)
Aguilera co-wrote ‘Oh Mother’ as an ode to her mother, who went through domestic abuse when Christina was still a kid. In a moving yet subtle R&B ballad she describes the situation between her parents and thanks her mother for always ‘pulling through’. The middle-eight towards the last chorus is goosebump inducing as both the lyrics and her vocals are extremely powerful!
17. Car Wash (feat. Missy Elliott) (2004)
‘Car Wash’, originally a 70s disco song by Rose Royce, was re-recorded by Aguilera and rapper Missy Elliott for the soundtrack of the animation movie Shark Tale. They kept some of the disco vibe alive and mixed it with modern sounds of R&B and hiphop. The result is an infectious and swinging rendition which is impossible not to dance along to. A good example of how to properly do a cover with personality.
16. Accelerate (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & 2 Chainz) (2018)
After not releasing an album for six years, Christina finally returned with new solo material in 2018 and ‘Accelerate’ was the first single. The hiphop and pop fusion track showed off a new sound for Aguilera, who shared the spotlight with rappers Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz. It took me some time to warm to ‘Accelerate’, but I appreciate this daring comeback track more every time I hear it.
15. Come On Over (All I Want Is You) (1999)
‘Come On Over (All I Want Is You)’ was the fourth and last single taken from Aguilera’s debut and the third one to reach the first place in the Billboard Hot 100. The late 90s production is evident, but it does not take away from the nothing short of brilliant pop chorus. She also translated this one for the Spanish market under the title ‘Ven Conmigo (Solamente Tú)’.
14. Can’t Hold Us Down (feat. Lil’ Kim) (2002)
Miss Aguilera has been standing up against slut shaming since 2002. Together with rapper Lil’ Kim she recorded the R&B banger ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’ about double standards women are being subjected to. Over a pulsing beat, Aguilera speaks and belts her mind, telling all people with backwards views off. The song unfortunately still sounds relevant today.
13. Your Body (2012)
Christina Aguilera launched her fifth studio album Lotus in 2012 which did not exactly set the charts on fire. That does not take away from the fact that lead single ‘Your Body’ is an absolute bop. The tune co-written and co-produced by hit maker Max Martin was more of a trend chasing release at the time, but excellent in its genre. I will never speak ill of the larger than life hooks in ‘Your Body’.
12. The Voice Within (2002)
Aguilera had five hit singles taken from her Stripped album and ‘The Voice Within’ was the last one. She released the track just in time to be some sort of Christmas hit. She wrote the dramatic, yet inspirational ballad that starts out with just her over piano together with songwriter Glen Ballard. This is not one of her most iconic ballads, but it certainly deserves all the recognition it receives. That climax with the choir is so powerful!
11. You Lost Me (2010)
While fourth album Bionic was full of more experimental electro pop, no Aguilera record is complete without a moving ballad. Aguilera wrote the track with pop star Sia and producer Samuel Dixon. The track starts out completely understated, but builds slowly, but steadily only to experience a stunning climax in which Aguilera gives it her all vocally. This is a break up anthem and then some!
10. Not Myself Tonight (2010)
Aguilera kicked off the Bionic era with the sexual bop ‘Not Myself Tonight’. With a slightly similar production to Justin Timberlake’s ‘SexyBack’ and rolling drums, Aguilera belts about how she is a completely different person at night. It is well produced, pushing her music in a more electronic sound yet still sounding radio friendly and she once more pushed the boundaries of sexual content in popular music. Such an extravagant bop!
09. Fall In Line (feat. Demi Lovato) (2018)
Aguilera teamed up with Demi Lovato for the third single of her most recent album Liberation. The soulful ballad has a strong message for young girls. The ladies encourage them to never give up on their dreams and to not let any man tell them they are not good enough. As if this was not powerful enough yet, they deliver some absolutely larger than life vocals towards the climax of the song. Everyone who thinks Aguilera is not relevant these days anymore, needs to sit down and listen to this.
08. Telepathy (feat. Nile Rodgers) (2016)
This is easily the most obscure release in this list, but it absolutely deserves its spot. Aguilera recorded ‘Telepathy’ with Nile Rodgers as part of the soundtrack for Netflix series The Get Down. Those of you who have seen the series, know that the song was used in an absolutely mesmerizing scene, but as a stand alone track it is gorgeous too. Aguilera’s voice is perfect for the atmospheric disco sound of the tune, co-written by Sia and co-produced by Baz Luhrmann. Can we please have a disco album by Christina one day!?
07. Dirrty (feat. Redman) (2002)
‘Dirrty’ marked a significant change in Christina Aguilera’s artist persona. The track saw her leave behind the bubblegum pop for a more R&B inspired sound with more sexually explicit lyrics. The steamy music video gained her criticism, but was never forgotten and could still be described as iconic to this day. A noughties party is not done until the whole room danced their butts off to this banger.
06. Candyman (2006)
On Back To Basics, Christina explored a wide variety of music genres she grew up with. She recorded a jazzy swing tune titled ‘Candyman’, which proved itself impossible not to sing along with. It is arguably the most catchy thing Aguilera has ever put her name to. Her playful delivery of the cheeky lyrics is impeccable throughout. There is something completely irresistible about ‘Candyman’ which makes me want to hit the replay button over and over again.
05. Beautiful (2002)
Christina Aguilera could possibly be credited for the long string of pop songs, written to benefit the confidence of the listener. Her ‘Beautiful’ was one of the first of those ‘self love anthems’ and still one of the best too. In the piano ballad she states that she is ‘beautiful, no matter what they say’ and she tells the listeners the same. In the powerful music video she shows the struggle of some underdogs in our society including a gay couple, which helped the song to gain the status of an anthem in the lgbt+ community.
04. Ain’t No Other Man (2006)
Aguilera started the Back To Basics era with the whirlwind love song ‘Ain’t No Other Man’. This soulful and funky uptempo number has the singer declare her unconditional love to her then husband and she does so with numerous big notes and vocal acrobatics. The production is lush with big gestures and swinging rhythms. Can she please never stop performing this live, because it is such a moment every single time she sings it and it is the perfect track to put on a big show to.
03. Genie In A Bottle (1999)
This is where it all started for Christina Aguilera twenty years ago. Although some of the songs from this period sound dated, ‘Genie In A Bottle’ still is a timeless classic. It is an outstanding pop composition that, no matter where you play it, people will always sing along to. In classes where they teach pop songwriting, this song should always be an example.
02. Hurt (2006)
By naming ‘Hurt’ Christina Aguilera’s best ballad, you automatically say that it is one of the best ballads of the zero’s. She has performed quite a few of those, but ‘Hurt’ is the most moving one. Co-written with Mark Ronson and Linda Perry, ‘Hurt’ talks about the loss of a loved one and the guilt one can feel while mourning. The lyrics are emotional and Aguilera’s vocal performance is dramatic yet heartfelt. Simply an iconic power ballad.
01. Fighter (2002)
It usually is not easy to pick the best song of an artist with the number of hits Aguilera has, but ‘Fighter’ is such an absolute stand out in her career! The pop song with some rock influences has an undeniable message of independence, leaving behind the toxic people in your life and most of all reminds the listener to never give up. She shows off some of her most impressive vocals of her career here and the lyrics written with Scott Storch are inspiring, catchy and powerful. AN ANTHEM!
Well done article. Bravo!