Christina Aguilera is Christina Aguilera's self-titled debut album which was released on August 24, 1999 by RCA REcords.
The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling more that 9 million copies and was certified 8x platinum by the RIAA. It also earned Aguilera a Grammy Award for "Best New Artist" in 2000.
- Genie In A Bottle 3:36
- What A Girl Wants 3:52
- I Turn To You 4:33
- So Emotional 4:00
- Come On Over (All I Want Is You) 3:09
- Reflection 3:33
- Love For All Seasons 3:59
- Somebody's Somebody 5:03
- When You Put Your Hands On Me 3:35
- Blessed 3:05
- Love Will Find A Way 3:56
- Obvious 4:00
Christina Aguilera approached record label RCA (who were having financial difficulties at the time) and was told to contact Disney. After being given the opportunity to record the theme to the 1998 film "Mulan" called "Reflection", it was reported she had gained a record deal with RCA Records.
According to Aguilera: "I landed a record deal simultaneously as I landed the Mulan soundtrack. I had just turned seventeen years old, and during the same week, I just landed both. I recorded the Mulan soundtrack first and then a few months later I was out in L.A. recording the record for about six months."
When asked about the song and Aguilera, RCA executive Ron Fair commented: "She is a badass genius of singing. She was put on this earth to sing, and I've worked with a lot of singers.... When Aguilera met with us, she didn't care that she was auditioning for a record deal; she got into a performance zone that you see in artist much more mature than she is."
After she was asked to hit a musical note required for "Reflection", she thought that the song could be the gateway into an album deal.
Aguilera spent hours recording a cover of Whitney Houston's song "Run to You" (which included the note she was asked to hit). After successfully hitting the note, which she called "the note that changed my life", Aguilera was given the opportunity to record the song.
To record the song, Aguilera flew to Los Angeles, California for roughly a week. Despite growing increasingly exhausted during the recording sessions, when she heard that a 90-piece orchestra would be arriving to record the instrumental, she begged to stay and witness the event. She later called the experience "amazing".
Due to the success around the recording of "Reflection", RCA wished for Aguilera to record and release an album by September 1998 to maintain the "hype" surrounding her at that time.
The label laid the foundation for the album immediately and started presenting Aguilera with tracks for her debut album, which they later decided would have a January 1999 release.
"Reflection" was written and produced by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel, whom later co-wrote with Christina Aguilera the song, "We're a Miracle."
Recording & ProductionEdit
The album was recorded between 1998 and 1999, with Ron Fair serving as the album's executive producer. The label reportedly spent $1 million on writers, producers and voice lessons.
According to Fair, "She was very much a raw talent, so building a collection of songs that would become her first album was a time-consuming process. We wanted to find the ones that could knock the door down and put her up there."
The album was built around pop songs, which was against Aguilera's will, since she wanted a more R&B album.
She further explained during an interview for The Washington Post: "I was held back a lot from doing more R&B ad-libbing. They clearly wanted to make a fresh-sounding young pop record and that's not always the direction I wanted to go in. Sometimes they didn't get it, didn't want to hear me out because of my age, and that was a little bit frustrating. Since all the success, it's a little easier to get my opinions across."
One of the first producers of the album was Guy Roche, who produced two tracks ("What a Girl Wants" and "I Turn to You") and co-wrote one of them ("What a Girl Wants"), along with Shelly Peiken. "What a Girl Wants" was later re-recorded for its single release, replacing the "lighter" version for a more "funky" R&B version.
Peiken also re-wrote with Roche the single version for the track "Come on Over", first produced by Johan Aberg, Paul Rein and Aaron Zigman. According to herself, "We're going to give it more of an edge, R&B it up a little, maybe rock it out a little, give it a lot of different new directions and get it out there."
Peiken also co-wrote ("Don't Make Me Love You", "Too Beautiful For Words" & "Dreamy Eyes"). Aguilera also recorded a cover of All-4-One's song "I Turn to You" (which was written by Diane Warren who also wrote "Somebody's Somebody").
Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers (who would eventually broke into the scene as the producers who launched Rihanna's career) wrote and produced two tracks ("Love for All Seasons" and "Love Will Find a Way") Travon Potts & Brock Walsh wrote and produced "Blessed", while the then up-and-coming Robin Thicke co-wrote and co-produced the song, "When You Put Your Hands on Me".
Franne Golde (who previously worked with Whitney Houston) also wrote a song for Aguilera titled "So Emotional" which was originally written for Selena's album. Golde revealed that Aguilera in-between recordings "she was only listening to Mariah Carey and Brandy, putting on her walk man and practicing their riffs and runs, before she did her ad-libs."
At the final stages, producer and songwriter David Frank presented a song called "Genie in a Bottle" which Aguilera almost didn't record "because there were a lot of other artists out there that were after this song, so we had to fight a little bit to get it," she claimed.
With Heather Holley, Aguilera also co-wrote along with producers Heather Holley and Rob Hoffman a track called "I Will Be", which she said was inspired by Mariah Carey's song "Vanishing." The duo also wrote and produced the album's final track "Obvious" & "I Come Undone".
"Christina Aguilera" is a dance-pop and teen pop album that mainly consists of teen pop songs. Beth Johnson of Entertainment Weekly compared the album's musical styles to those of Tiffany and Whitney Houston.
The album opens with "Genie in a Bottle", which uses sexual references to talk about self-respect. Billboard editor Kenneth Partridge wrote that the song features "32nd-note bass-drum pattern that mimics the heart palpitations of a teenager in lust."
"What a Girl Wants" is a hybrid of teen pop and R&B which lyrically "[reveals] an independent, strong woman who knows what she wants from a relationship, both sexually and emotionally."
The cover version of All-4-One's ballad "I Turn to You" is a soul-influenced track. On the song, Aguilera thanks someone for their "faith, strength, support, commitment and tenderness."
The tracks "So Emotional", "Love for All Seasons" and "Somebody's Somebody" incorporate strong elements of R&B and soul.
"So Emotional" is a midtempo gospel-inspired number talking about a man who has got Aguilera "on the ropes."
"Love for All Seasons" is a pop track which is musically similar to Mariah Carey's song, "Always Be My Baby" while "Somebody's Somebody", in which Aguilera sings about being secure in one's arms, features drums snap, bass pops, and a gospel organ in the bridge.
Aguilera sings about a woman longing to reveal her true self on "Reflection", which Partridge characterized it as the song that "sums up the album."
"Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" is deemed the most "sexual" track on the album, a hip hop-influenced song which features a rap verse written by Aguilera herself.
The R&B song "When You Put Your Hands On Me" (a co-written by Robin Thicke) addresses the alchemy of sex: "I just know / when you put your hands on me / I feel sexy / and my body turns to gold."
"Blessed" features elements of gospel, while "Love Will Find A Way" features an R&B groove and was compared to Carey's songs "Emotions" and "Dreamlover."
On the final song, "Obvious", Aguilera wonders whether her confusion about her life is apparent to everyone.
In the United States, "Christina Aguilera" debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 252,800 copies, beating Puff Daddy's album, "Forever."
During its second week, it fell to #2, selling 218,000 copies. It was certified octuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for exceeding shipments of eight million copies.
According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album has sold 8,279,000 copies in the U.S. as of September 2014 and is among the most certified albums of all time according to the RIAA.
Meanwhile, BMG Music calculated that "Christina Aguilera" has sold an additional 935,000 units through BMG Music Clubs.
The project also peaked atop the Canadian Albums Chart. In July of 2001, Music Canada certified the album six times platinum for exceeding sales of over 600,000 units in Canada.
In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number 21 on October 30, 1999, falling to number 31 the following week. It stayed two weeks inside the top-40 and only re-entered on February 26, 2000, at number 33. The album climbed to #14 on March 3, 2000, becoming its peak position.
The album stayed on the UK charts for 26 weeks. It was certified platinum by the IFPI for sales of one million copies in Europe.
In Australia, "Christina Aguilera" debuted at number 31 on February 20, 2000, while peaking at number 26 two weeks later, spending 15 weeks on the charts. However, the album re-entered at number 25, on October 29, 2000.
Two weeks later, the album reached a new position of number 21, spending 13 further weeks on the charts, bringing a total of 28. It was later certified platinum for 70,000 sales in 2000.
In New Zealand, the album debuted at number 38, on October 31, 1999, and later climbed to number 27, before re-entering two times, on November 28, 1999 and February 13, 2000.
After the latter re-entering, the album peaked six weeks later at #5, on March 26, 2000; it re-entered an additional six times and was certified platinum in New Zealand, selling over 15,000 copies.
"Christina Aguilera" sold 80,000 copies in Brazil. It remains Aguilera's best-selling album with sales of over 14 million copies worldwide.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic praised the songwriting and the "clean and uncluttered" production on the album. He eventually commended on Aguilera's vocals, writing that "she not only has charisma, she can actually sing, bringing conviction to these love and heartbreak songs."
Although calling it "a frustratingly erratic album", Beth Johnson wrote that "Christina still makes a credible bid to be the late-summer soundtrack to romantic rebound."
Sputnikmusic editor Amanda Murray wrote that it "is an album that is highly representative of the better aspects of the teen pop movement of the late 90s."
A reviewer writing for Q said the album "shows off her pretty, but powerful vocals to surprisingly impressive effect."
Ann Powers on behalf of The New York Times agreed, writing: "Beyond its sleek design, this album hints at a real singer's emergence. She has striking vocal power and range, if not a clue about expressing individuality."
Barry Walters from Rolling Stone criticized the album's theme, calling it "bubble-brained", writing that they "give Aguilera little substance to spin into gold."
Robert Christgau said, "like LeAnn and unlike Britney, Christina already has 'adult' grit and phrasing down pat, and so threatens to join Gloria, Mariah, Celine, and LeAnn herself in the endless parade of Diane Warren-fueled divas-by-fiat hitting high notes and signifying less than nothing."
Julene Snyder of Sonicnet wrote that "Aguilera has an instinctive grasp of the insipid state of the pop/ dance music scene, especially as it relates to her peers."
On behalf of PopMatters, Nikki Tranter said, "there are lots of 'oohs' and plenty of 'ahhs' and just enough 'I wants' and 'you likes' to keep the kids happy."
Partridge deemed the project "quite listenable"; however, he said the lyrics "tell us precious little about the girl on the cover."
Aguilera made many appearances on talk shows in order to promote her self-titled debut album.
She appeared on shows such as The Rosie O'Donnell Show and TRL. She also began traveling to New Zealand while "What a Girl Wants" was topping the charts overseas.
In 1999, Aguilera performed "Genie in a Bottle" at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards. She also attended the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, where she and Fred Durst (of Limp Bizkit) performed together.
Aguilera performed "Come on Over Baby", wearing a tight ruby red outfit with black and red streaks in her hair.
Near the end of the performance, Durst walked onstage and performed part of his band's song "Livin' It Up" with Aguilera. After eliciting charged reactions from his fans, Durst stated: "I already told you guys before, I did it all for the nookie, man."
The feud died weeks later, when Aguilera denied Durst's statement, saying that Durst "got no nookie."
Later on, in 2000, Aguilera performed at the Super Bowl XXXIV as a halftime performer. During late 2000, she traveled to Brazil to promote the album, where she did many interviews and performances on Brazilian television, including Domingão do Faustão, Programa Raul Gil and Planeta Xuxa.
In December of 1999, she issued a full-length home video titled "Genie Gets Her Wish." The video includes interviews with her from backstage, in the studio and on the road. It also features her rendition of Mel Torme's song, "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)."