How time flies! It’s almost 13 years since Christina Aguilera’s post-bubblegum pop era was introduced. I remember rooting for her follow up to the then eccentric “Lady Marmalade.” My surprise when I saw her dancing almost naked around equally naked men and women. At 13, I was completely unprepared for the transition. It was a time when it’s a taboo for a pop princess to do anything against the norm.
But Christina Aguilera, otherwise known as Xtina, strayed away from tradition. She surprised everyone when she released “Dirrty.” I couldn’t have predicted that it would be her follow up to “Lady Marmalade.” It received lots of attention, but she cared less. All she cared about was expressing an individuality that should not be suppressed. She showed everyone that, indeed, she was a fighter.
Stripped was, at first, misunderstood. Xtina herself was misunderstood. She was criticized for selling sex more than her talent. But to her loyal fans, rightfully labeled Fighters, it was known that Xtina was doing this for all her underdogs because she feels them, if you know what I mean.
Beyond the hypersexualized façade was a vulnerable person. She shared her struggles through her songs. She resonated with everyone trying to overcome something with his or her life. All her runs, adlibs, growl, whistles, falsettos and melismas mean something. Everything she did was necessary. She did not only overcome her burdens but also showed everybody how to overcome his or her own struggles.
Stripped was a bible because it had all the answers to everything an individual could possibly experience. Back at a time and age when it was never easy to assert individuality, Xtina told us that they “Can’t Hold Us Down.” She showed us that being strong in the face of adversity was the least we can do to survive. For everyone struggling with an abusive relationship, she told him or her to “Walk Away.” Then, say thanks to the abuser for making him or her a “Fighter.”
Xtina grew with most of us. She fell in love like most of us do. She made stupid decisions, but that never stopped her from doing her thing. In times of confusion because of our “Primer Amor,” she told us that it was just an “Infatuation.” It was a “Love’s Embrace” that’s only a phase we could overcome. We just had to appreciate the people around us.
“Loving Me 4 Me” taught us that happiness with the one we love was not an external variable but a mutual agreement of emotions. There were “Impossible” things we had to go through that could make us feel “Underappreciated” but we should carry on because we are “Beautiful” no matter what they say.
We should never feel insecure. People may bring us down, but fret not. Words can’t bring us down, she reassured us. We are the songs inside her tune. Save all bad things for another day, we had to “Make Over” not to please anyone but to be content with ourselves. Avert insecurities because we are beautiful in every single way. By finding our inner peace, we could definitely “Soar.” We should not be scared to fly alone and find a path that is our own. Xtina proved that love will open every door and it’s in our hands. The world is ours. We should not wait for anything else, only the time when we could spread our wings and soar.
Xtina’s Stripped was not only a bible, but also a philosophy. She told us to find “The Voice Within” because she will be there when our worlds start to fall. She’s doing well with her life, and we must also never stop until we can wholeheartedly say “I’m OK.”
Fighters will understand that the Stripped era taught an entire generation how to overcome all barriers to success. It taught us that no one should feel unconfident at any level. At any rate, we should all be convinced that we have the capacity to be strong to “Keep on Singing My Song.”
Stripped may be the deciding factor for Xtina’s career direction. However, more than a career move, Xtina proved that the important matter is the way her music transcended to her listeners. Nothing is more fundamental than a song saving individuals and transforming lives. I am sure that many people survived the toughest times of their lives because of this record. So it lives on as a constant reminder to everyone never to give up. Therefore, onward to the next generation of Stripped records!