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CHRISTINA AGUILERA
Album Title: Stripped
Producer(s): various
Genre: POP
Label/Catalog Number: RCA 68037
Source: PRINT
Originally Reviewed: November 02, 2002


OK, let's all try to wipe the horribly derivative "Dirrty" from our collective consciousness and focus on the actual direction of Aguilera's long-awaited sophomore effort, which is decidedly more substantive and mature than that single indicates. In fact, on Stripped, the one-time teen popster effectively proves that she has what it takes to establish an enduring career. While Aguilera collaborates here with a host of luminaries that includes Alicia Keys and Glen Ballard, none push her to greater heights than producers Scott Storch and Linda Perry—who, respectively, nurture the singer's inner soul-mama and hippy-chick. Both musical personas perfectly suit Aguilera's increasingly distinctive voice, as do the set's pervading lyrical theme of overcoming life's trials (as on the particularly potent, single-worthy ballad "Beautiful" and the scathing, arena-styled funk-rocker "Fighter"). It all adds up to a must-hear recording rich with pleasantly surprising depth.—LF


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