on August 9, 2005
Claiming to be born in a Bronx bedsit with a fat crackwhore for a mother and a wifebeating Latino father, "Stripped" sees Christina Aguilera transforming into a bisexual, STD-friendly, groundbreaking, avant-garde, RAW, REAL, and EDGY liberating feminist. From the years between 2002-2005 she would redefine herself as the ultimate example for all women to follow: a bi-curious, fox hunting ARTIST, whose independent spirit and RAW sex appeal transcended culture and gender boundaries. With just one album Xtina explored Negro hookers from the projects, goths, anorexics, fatties, gay couples, drag queens, the Latinos, the Egyptians and the Chinese. Xtina pays "tribute" to P!NK, the Sugababes, Madonna, Alicia Keys, Macy Gray, Mariah Carey and countless more on this 20-track car crash of an album. From the faux-dramatic intro to the coma-inducing unfunniness of the hidden outro, there's nary an original note on the album.
The album starts off on a hilarious melodramatic note with "Stripped Part 1", one of the MANY laugh-out-loud moments to be found on the album. An epic, dramatic blur of newsbytes and reports on her DANGEROUSLY CONTROVERSIAL celebrity life (an imaginary beef with Eminem, no doubt hatched for Xtina to latch onto some of his fame; the non-event Fred Durst liaison; and the Britney feud) then clears its way for the newly improved XTINA and her dramatic piano. "Sorry you can't define me/Sorry I break the mould," she proclaims in a spew of embarrassing self-righteous couplets. Looks like we're set for an album of DRAMA, GRIT and RAW emotion of ball-breaking proportions.
Next comes a hat trick of the most heartless genre ripoffs in recent memory: "Can't Hold Us Down", which features a tired feminist message and Lil' Kim complaining about her lack of cullingus; "Walk Away", a dreadful torch ballad which will no doubt pave the way for her so-called jazzy/soulful/blues 3rd album; and "Fighter" an embarrassing lesbian grunge which Avril Lavigne, Mel C or even Jacynthe could pull off with more grit.
Take one listen on "Infatuation", a tinny-sounding hybrid of "La Isla Bonita" and "Papa Don't Preach", and it's obvious that no oversinging or flamenco guitars can hide the fact that the album survives on copying everyone from Madonna to Macy Gray. The hilarious Latina lyrics and music are undeservingly overmined by Xtina's overselling of the song, screaming every other world as an ad-lib or Spanish translation. GERALDINE ESTELLE HALLIWELL, J. Lo or even the long-forgotten 11:30 could've tackled this song with more class and Spanish "flava".
The middle stretch of the album sees Xtina trying to become a serious and soulful artist, but the problem is she overruns her voice so much that she destroys any sort of melodic timing the songs have, leaving the songs tuneless. For an album claiming to be "extremely personal" and "edgy", it's filled with countless ballads and songs that anybody played on Chum FM can sing better. "Loving Me 4 Me" sounds like background music from a second rate porn movie or the type of music grownups play during dinner parties, while "Impossible" and "Underappreciated" sees Xtina desperately trying to capture the soul and funk of FIERCELY HETEROSEXUAL Alicia Keys and Macy Gray, respectively. (The latter is one of the unfunkiest songs in aural history).
Linda Perry's tragic beauty is best displayed on "Beautiful" an undeniably great song somewhat sang rather emotionless by Christina, who intends on showing of the Middle C and E note throughout the album as opposed to delivering any feeling into the lyrics, which is an opportunity wasted when one considers her lack of natural beauty. Next up is the throroughly awful "Make Over" which rips off the Sugababes' brilliant "Overload" down to its lyrics. It's so tuneless and out-of-key that even Bi Ying hates it. However in the context of the album it does its job as putting an end to the previous eight songs' drab balladry. Next up is "Cruz", which is so exhausting to listen to it's difficult to put what my ears are going through to words. It's like "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" sung in a desert by LeAnn Rimes and Cher's lovechild in hell. And in an uninspired musical ripoff of Madonna's fabulous Blond Ambition tour, the uninspiring and non-uplifting gospel track "Soar" goes straight into...
...the sweaty casual sex track "Get Mine, Get Yours". Again, the whole woman sexual empowerment thing is a bit 20 years ago, and her lyrics are as nasty as ever, but the song's sexy grinding production and string arrangement is impressive, her vocals rising from a sweet whisper to something powerful near the end. (Climax?) Next up is "Dirrty", her finest moment on record and on celluloid. Capping all this excitement off is "Stripped Part 2", famous for the lines "Sorry I'm not a virgin/Sorry I'm not a slut (ohhh!!)". It provides the album with some much needed, unintentional comic relief.
Numerous power ballads dominate the last few tracks, all blending into one big American Idol episode or Disc 1 of Whitney's Greatest Hits, only without the SOUL. And with the drum-and-bass outro of "Keep On Singin' My Song", 78 minutes of unlistenable, tedious aural turd is over. The album is so long and overproduced that it's difficult to remember any of the good songs, other than one big midtempo pile of crap. The problem with this album is that it's one of those albums that 40 year old divas make, such as "Just Whitney" without the hot P. Diddy Remix. It's old and regurgitated, its themes dated and borrowed, it's music lazy and it's lyrics arrogant indulgence. It's amazing how Xtina believes her own hype after her not-even-that-good first album and "Lady Marmalade". This is one of those albums where the artist is given too much artistic freedom and runs with it like a horny old man on Church Street, and ending up in a car crash.
on October 31, 2002
She's not a girl, but she's definitely a woman. Christina (Xtina?) Aguliera wants to get the message across that she's miles away from her Mickey Mouse Club days. She proclaims that loudly on her first English-language, non-holiday album in three years: "Stripped." While much of the material here isn't terrible, one gets the feeling that Christina is trying too hard to assert her maturity on this record. She ropes in rappers Lil' Kim and Redman; she wears outfits that would make even Playboy bunnies blush, and she sings about "getting just a little naughty" in the ultrasleazy "Dirrty" (two r's, please). Yet, "Stripped" comes up short, which is a shame since Christina is an exceptionally gifted singer. She cuts loose in the shockingly soulful ballad "Loving Me 4 Me" and makes a good impression on the steamy r&b jam "Get Mine, Get Yours." And she holds up well through the angry lyrics of the breakup stomper "Fighter." But the rest of the album isn't very memorable. The extremely overrated Alicia Keyes hops on for the perfectly forgettable "Impossible" (which she also wrote). And Linda Perry from the 1990s one-hit-wonder Four Non Blondes serves up a lukewarm platter of the same-old pop rock that made Pink's album a bland affair. To her credit, Aguliera has somewhat made the transition to adulthood, but much of the material on this overlong 78-minute disc failed to register with me. While "Stripped" isn't a bust, it won't be getting much rotation on my CD player.
on June 17, 2004
i give it one star for the song fighter. i love pop music, and this cd is NOT it. Can't hold us down, fighter, beautiful, cruz, soar, dirrty, a voice within, singing my song are good songs. The rest are so absolutely dreadful, you'll want to throw up and never listen to her again. Get the song fighter and her first and christmas cd.