The Most Underrated is a meme in which I discuss the most underrated songs by an artist or band. Occasionally I may branch out, but this is the main theme. Today’s artist spotlight is on Christina Aguilera!
I’ve been in love with Christina Aguilera since I was a little girl. I grew up on her and had a crush on her before I even understood what that meant. What it wasn’t just her beautiful face and body I liked— it’s her one in a million talent.
Honestly, I could argue that Christina Aguilera as an artist is underrated. The general public rarely gives her her due. But today I’m just going to praise a few songs that don’t get enough love. From the late nineties to the late 2010s, these are the six Christina Aguilera songs that are criminally underrated.
Featured on Aguilera’s self-titled debut album, this blast of ‘90s pop is refreshingly upbeat on an album of ballads and mid-tempo tracks. The song is an oath to stick together through thick and thin because love is a more powerful force than anything.
Perhaps not the most unique statement, but this song is just so cheerful it’s infectious. My sister and I even created a dance to the song as kids. This song is just so hopeful and fun, it’s impossible to not smile when you hear it.
Even in terms of Old School Aguilera, this song is a novelty. No one ever thinks of it when they think of Aguilera nostalgically. Despite being such a standout track, few people seem to remember it. But I do and I will cherish it forever.
Stripped is widely regarded as Aguilera’s best album. However, that doesn’t mean every song on it is equally as appreciated. Enter “Cruz.” Not quite a ballad but not quite mid-tempo, this song carves its own path in music theory.
The song opens with an a capella chorus of Aguileras, then descends into a lowkey, free-spirited groove. Aguilera’s vocals reflect this, though she occasionally belts cathartically. The lyrical content supports this, as Aguilera leaves her troubled past behind and starts to move on.
“Cruz” has long been one of my favorite songs on this record, the feeling of freedom speaking to something deep within my soul. It makes me want to drive down the countryside with the windows down. It makes me feel fresh and want to start anew. It’s a beautiful song and it’s a shame it doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
Though Back to Basics stands out as a whole, I would honestly say this song is one of the most unique in Aguilera’s entire discography. It’s acoustic and Aguilera stays within a very small vocal range. She doesn’t belt once. In spite of that (or perhaps even because of that), it’s one of Aguilera’s most beautiful songs.
The way the track is produced makes it sound intimate and vulnerable. Aguilera could be right there next to you, singing about how much your love has helped her. She admits her faults to you and it’s so raw and lovely, you simply forgive her without a second thought.
It’s rare to find a song that is somehow both sweet and emotionally devastating. But that’s just the power of Christina Aguilera, man.
While “Army of Me” is the obvious sequel to “Fighter,” “Stronger Than Ever” is the other side of the same coin. The nameless person’s abuses have only served to make Aguilera stronger. But this isn’t a happy message, not entirely. Aguilera first had to be broken badly before she could become who she is now.
The song is a desperate sob, the words of a woman at the end of her rope. Given her history, the lyrics could refer to her estranged abusive father. Perhaps the song isn’t even from her perspective, but from her mother’s. Even if it’s not, the song is still an emotional gut punch.
I’ve long said Bionic is Aguilera’s worst album; however, it’s got some of the best ballads of her career. I could’ve picked any of them, but “Stronger Than Ever” is the one that gets me in my feelings the most. And it didn’t even make the standard version of the record. Absolutely tragic.
Lotus as an entire album is severely underrated, but this song is one in particular is one I think deserves more love. It’s empowering in a way that keeps it from being sappy. Instead, Aguilera admits that cruel words have an effect on her. She’s just not going to let them bring her down.
It’s a somewhat more realistic version of “Beautiful.” Aguilera acknowledges it’s not as easy as simply saying words won’t hurt you. They will hurt you— you just have to learn to rise above them.
The most stunning part is the bridge, which is uplifting and floaty. A drum beat makes it feel like a soldiers’ march, which is really what this song is. Even when it hurts, you have to move on and learn to not let it affect your self-esteem. Make your best parts untouchable and, ultimately, so are you.
You know the phrase “issa vibe”? Well, it’s talking about this song from Liberation. Not only is it a vibe, it’s sexy as hell. In fact, I’d go as far as to say this is Aguilera’s sexiest song to date.
The tones and textures in Aguilera’s voice on this song are soothing and sensual. What’s the song about? Well, it’s basically about setting up what the kids call a “dick appointment,” if you know what I mean. As Aguilera describes it, the song is “both wordplay and foreplay.”
What really puts this song over the edge is the mysterious guest artist. No one knows who XNDA is (though rumor has it it’s Lewis Hamilton). But, despite all the sensuality and mystery, this song gets paid dust. Literally every song on Liberation got played in some capacity on tour except for this one. And that’s a goddamn crime.
What Christina Aguilera songs do you think are underrated? Let me know in the comments!
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