The truth is, I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to write this blog and after watching the latest Carpool Karaoke with James Corden and Christina Aguilera; I am convinced that the perfect time is now.
If you remember me for anything, I hope that it’s for my undying love of Christina’s album Stripped. I loved it when it initially came out and the songs continue to be some of my favorites to this day. Look, I completely get how Christina’s need to rebel, at the time, overshadowed the wonderful music she had created. When the album was first released, the single that kicked off the promotion was “Dirrty” and I think the low-riding pants with her exposed butt was a bit much for some folks. Her narrative during the release of the album was of someone who was sexual, confident and a little bit dirty and though I’m a fan of all of these things, the rebellious act may have overpowered the work she did on the album.
Stripped is Christina Aguilera at her most vulnerable; she discusses heartbreak, family issues, self-confidence, falling in love, falling apart and she does it all with a series of eclectic sounds that are worth experiencing. The songwriting in this album is completely personal, her vocals are passionate, her sound is completely different in each song and the vocal runs continue to bring chills down my spine all these years after its initial release.
“Can’t Hold Us Down” was the Feminist Anthem that was too early for it’s time. With Christina’s vocals and Lil’ Kim’s verse she created a song that demands to be sung at the top of your lungs.
This is for my girls all around the world
Who have come across a man that don’t respect your worth
Thinkin’ all women should be seen and not heard
So what do we do girls, shout out loud
Lettin ’em know were gonna stand our ground
So lift your hands high and wave ’em proud
Take a deep breath and say it loud
Never can, never will
Can’t hold us down
She showed us her Latin roots with “Primer Amor Interlude” (where she speaks Spanish) and “Infatuation” with the flamenco vibes. She finds the soul in her collaboration with Alician Keys, “Impossible” and she gets a bit of Jazz in with “Love Me 4 Me”. Of course the album has its fair share of sensuality but it’s her vulnerability that peaks throughout the album at the perfect times. “Walk Away” is a song where she tries to convince herself to walk away from a toxic relationship and if I had to pick, it might be my favorite out of the entire album. Maybe it’s the relate-ability of the lyrics, And it hurts my soul/ Cuz I can’t let go/ All these walls are caving in/ I can’t stop my suffering/ I hate to show that I’ve lost control/ Cuz I, I keep going right back/ To the one thing that I need to walk away from.
She details her childhood, of her growing up with an abusive father with “I’m Ok” and the song is equal parts heartbreaking and absolutely necessary.
Bruises fade father, but the pain remains the same
And I still remember how you kept me so afraid
Strength is my mother for all the love she gave
Every morning that I wake I look back to yesterday
I mean, we can’t discuss Stripped without bringing up the classics: the passionate “Fighter”, the supportive “Beautiful” and the epic “Dirrty”.
So sure, maybe Stripped is a bit sexual, with a whole lot of confidence and a dash of dirty but it’s also emotional, full of heart, dipped in vulnerability, presented with a voice full of raw passion and a heart full of soul. I stand by my statement that Stripped is Christina’s best album of all time and this isn’t up for debate; I’m just disappointed that society couldn’t look past the perfectly shaped ass to truly appreciate this wonderful album.