In 1999, Christina Aguilera released her debut album. Led by the single Genie in a Bottle and What a Girl Wants, it established her as a bubble gum pop singer in the vein of other 90s teen acts like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. Three years later, she released Stripped, an album that changed perceptions, garnered controversy, and turned her from teen idol to the “Voice of a Generation” in one fell swoop. Today, she’s considered one of the most influential and successful artists of all time. Here’s how we rank all 8 Christina Aguilera albums from worst to best.
As Spy.com says, after the lukewarm reception received by her previous album, Bionic, Lotus was intended to be Aguilera’s major comeback. As it turned out, it received an even more unfavorable response than its predecessor. There are a few fun songs, and Aguilera’s vocals are as fine as ever, but much of the album feels like the work of an artist on autopilot. The material is largely generic, showing little signs of creativity or artistic evolution. Only two singles were released from the album – Your Body and Just a Fool – neither of which made much of an impression on the charts. The album itself peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 on its release in November 2012.
In June 2010, Aguilera dropped her sixth studio album, Bionic. Inspired by Aguilera’s love for electronic music, the first half consists of electro-pop and future pop, while the second half is devoted to ballads. Thematically, it deals with sex and post-feminism. It received a mixed reception on release, with some calling it her most confident work to date and praising its multi-textured combination of bangers, ballads, and slow jams, and others deriding it for its lack of originality and exhausting hypersexuality. Opinions remain divided even now, and while there are moments that soar (Monday Morning and Birds of Prey are clear highlights), there’s too much filler and not enough cohesion to keep the album afloat.
6. My Kind of Christmas
Holiday albums can be hit or miss, but My Kind of Christmas, Aguilera’s first and so far only Christmas album, is a solid effort. Featuring sympathetic renditions of seasonal standards like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Oh Holy Night together with a peppering of original material, Aguilera infuses plenty of dance-pop energy into proceedings. The original material isn’t groundbreaking, and there’s too much focus on Aguilera’s (admittedly impressive) vocal gymnastics and too little genuine warmth and sincerity to make it an exceptional record. But it’s a decent offering, making up in energy what it lacks in subtlety. Released on October 24, 2000, it peaked at number 28 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was eventually certified platinum.
5. Mi Reflejo
Following hot on the heels of her self-titled debut album came Aguilera’s first Spanish language album, Mi Reflejo. After the success of her debut, expectations were high. By and large, Mi Reflejo met them. Slick, well-produced, and featuring a graceful vocal performance from Aguilera, the album spent 19 weeks at the top of both the Billboard Top Latin Albums and Latin Pop Albums charts to become the best selling Latin pop album of 2000. It was also a huge hit across Latin America, charting at No. 2 in Argentina and Uruguay, as well as No. 5 in Mexico.
After a six-year hiatus, Christina Aguilera returned to the charts in 2018 with her eighth studio album, Liberation. Featuring a plethora of collaborations with artists such as Demi Lovato, Shenseea, GoldLink, Ty Dolla Sign, 2 Chainz, and XNDA, it was hailed as a major return to form, and one of her most cohesive albums to date. Aguilera’s vocals are as heavenly as ever, while the experimental approach to genres is brave enough for the occasional cheesy lyric to be overlooked. Commercially, it was a success, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and reaching the top ten in seven other countries. Both its second and third singles earned Grammy nominations, while the album itself received a nomination for International Album of the Year at the 2018 GAFFA Awards ceremony.
3. Christina Aguilera
On August 24, 1999, Christina Aguilera made a splashy introduction to the world with her self-titled debut album. A mix of dance and pop with a few big soul numbers thrown in for good measure, it veered too much toward teen pop to truly showcase Aguilera’s skills, but it was still plenty enough to put her on the map. After peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, it was eventually certified eight times platinum after selling over 9 million copies in the US alone. It also managed to produce four hit singles, including Genie in a Bottle, which topped the charts in 21 countries, and What a Girl Wants and Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You), both of which reached No.1 on the Billboard 100. The album remains her highest selling record to this day.
2. Back to Basics
By 2006, Aguilera was seven years and four albums into her recording career and clearly in the mood for a change. So she adopted a new alter ego called Baby Jane, refashioned her image in the style of classic Hollywood icons, and released a double album inspired by icons likes Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Otis Redding, and Billy Holiday. Blending old school jazz with urban elements, Back to Basics was a critical hit, with music journalists praising its musical diversity and ambition. It’s a little long, but even so, it still stands as one of her most accomplished and cohesive efforts to date. It fared just as well commercially as it did critically, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and topping the charts in over fifteen countries worldwide. At the 49th Grammy Awards, it received a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy for its lead single, Ain’t No Other Man.
While Aguilera’s debut album showed a huge amount of promise, it was her second album that earned her the title of “Voice of a Generation.” Initially, Stripped received a mixed critical reception, with Rolling Stone saying the album “is as full-on bold and over the top as most of Christina’s outfits … much of this seems to be an exercise in stretching the vocal chords to weak backing tracks.” But despite the negativity, it was a hit, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 100, entering the top ten in countless countries, and winning multiple Grammy Awards nominations. In the years since its release, critics have come to revise their initial judgments, and it’s now considered one of the most influential albums in modern pop history.