Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Christina Aguilera: Chrsitina Aguilera [RCA, 1999]
"Genie in a Bottle" was such a dazzlingly clever piece of teen self-exploration cum sexploitation that it seemed the better part of valor to hope it was a fluke. But this was avoidance--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. "What a Girl Wants" is clever, too, but in a far less ingratiating way--like its two-hour promotional video writ small, it raises the question of how this ruthlessly atypical young careerist can presume to advise girls not cursed with her ambition, and the fear that some of them will make her a role model regardless. Give me Left Eye any day. C+