Tags: Christina Aguilera, Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade Of Hits, Lil Kim, Mya, Pink, Redman, Review, Ricky Martin, Xtina
- Genie In A Bottle
- What A Girl Wants
- I Turn To You
- Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)
- Nobody Wants To Be Lonely (with Ricky Martin)
- Lady Marmalade (with Lil’ Kim, Mýa and P!nk)
- Dirrty (feat. Redman)
- Ain’t No Other Man
- Genie 2.0
- Keeps Gettin’ Better
- You Are What You Are (Beautiful)
Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade Of Hits is Christina’s first greatest hits compilation and it contains all of the major songs she has released in her first 10 years in the music business. Not only does the record contain old material but it was a platform to showcase the new direction she was heading for her fourth studio album. The record provides a great look into her past and contains two great collaborations that were never included on her albums. In addition, she has reinvented two of her classic hits and thrown in two completely new songs. Christina’s first decade of music contains a marvelous array of songs that range from delicious dance tracks to heavenly ballads. She’s gone from the bubblegum pop of her debut to the fearless and bold Stripped to the elegant and classy Back To Basics. She constantly evolves with each era and continues to innovate. While many popstars stick to the same formula, Christina does not play it safe. She goes outside of the trends, takes risks, experiments with so many different genres and demonstrates new sides of her voice. She’s one of my favourite singers and this compilation shows exactly why.
Nobody Wants To Be Lonely (with Ricky Martin) is a Latin inspired mid-tempo that starts with some lovely ad-libbing from the duo. The Latin melody is sublime and has a very infectious groove. Ricky gets the first verse and his vocals are smooth and sultry, rising with passion as it nears the hook, “there you are, in a darkened room/and you’re all alone, looking out the window.” Christina’s verse has a lot more passion as she puts more strength into her voice, “can you hear my voice/do you hear my song/it’s a serenade, so your heart can find me, ohh.” In the chorus, they give an emotional performance and their voices melt together beautifully. “Nobody wants to be lonely/nobody wants to cry/my body’s longing to hold you/so bad it hurts inside,” they sing to the melodic arrangement with glorious ad-libs and belts that make it even more wonderful. A tempo change occurs in the bridge, slowing down for the two to let their vocals shine. The final chorus is marvelous because Christina throws out some impressive belts and hits a glorious high note. Lady Marmalade (with Lil’ Kim, Mýa and P!nk) is one of the most amazing and biggest collaborations ever because it brings women from different musical styles together for a spectacular cover. “Where’s all mah soul sistas/lemme hear ya’ll flow sistas,” Lil’ Kim raps to a snapping beat for the introduction as Mýa comes in for the first verse. Although her part is my least favourite, she still gives a great performance but she’s overshadowed by the other stars. P!nk takes over the second verse with her strong vocals while Lil’ Kim spits out a slick rap in the middle of the track. Despite how great everyone sounds, Christina steals the spotlight completely and her performance is the most memorable. The entire song builds up for her moment and when she comes in, she makes a grand entrance. Belting her way into the song, she gives a marvelous performance, “touch of her skin feeling silky smooth/color of cafe au lait alright/made the savage beast inside roar until he cried.” I really like how the choruses gradually progress to include all four singers. It starts off with just one but with each passing chorus, as each starlet gets her turn, they become incorporated into the chorus. The final chorus has all of them belting, ad-libbing and giving their all. It’s sexy, erotic and irresistibly infectious. Missy Elliot gives a shout-out to each singer at the end and they all get their own vocalizing moment before they all scream out “creole lady marmalade.”
The most exciting thing about this compilation are the electronic songs that are included at the end and the first of the four is Genie 2.0. I was dying for a studio version when she performed it at the MTV Video Music Awards. This rework of her classic hit starts with a combination of amazing synths. The intro builds up with a psychedelic riff and a bunch of computerized beeps and glitches in the background. When it explodes, an intoxicating drum and synth beat takes over. In addition to the new arrangement, she offers new vocals which result in the song having a much sexier feel. While the original has an innocent but flirty and provocative sound, the remake is darker, more erotic and mysterious. The instrumentation just oozes sex and her vocals are silky and seductive. I love how the instrumental continuously changes to include a bunch of different electronic beats. The second half of the verses contain a much grittier synth beat. The hook increases the tempo slightly but it still keeps its addicting slow groove. The highlight is the breakdown during the bridge where she sexily whispers “come on, come on, come on and let me out.” She also repeats this during the outro and it’s even more infectious due to the hectic synths that join her. This remake is flawless and I enjoy it much more than the original. Keeps Gettin’ Better is the track that was used to promote the compilation and it’s a playful up-tempo. Similarly, it begins with a bunch of overlapping synth riffs that lead into her vixen-like vocals, “so baby yes I know what I am/and no I don’t give a damn/and you’ll be loving it.” The hard synths give it an edgy feel and the second the chorus hits, the synths, as well as her vocals, get a boost and become electrified with energy. “Some days I’m a super bitch/up to my old tricks/but it won’t last forever/next day I’m your super girl/out to save the world/and it keeps getting better,” she sings ecstatically to a riveting and dance-y electronic melody where she takes on a superheroine persona. She teases in the bridge to a snapping beat with a bit of vocoder which is a very rare thing for Christina. The climatic final chorus is a blast of synths, intense vocals and ad-libs. Finishing the song off is my favourite vocal moment where she sings “hold on” and I just can’t get over how addicting her voice sounds.
Dynamite is my favourite of the new songs and with its drum and synth beat, it’s a slice of futuristic heaven. Featuring an array of screeching, buzzing and static-like synths, the song is bursting with electronic goodness. The use of vocoder gives her voice a really nice effect that goes well with the melody. I love the chorus because of how vibrant and upbeat it sounds, “dynamite, electrify me all night/dynamite, just give it to me, I won’t fight.” She’s sassy, playful and the hook is just a whole lot of fun. She plays around with her voice a lot on this track and it’s amazing to see vocals like this on an electropop song. The bridge foreshadows her next project and its one of my favourite middle eights ever, “I’m feelin’ all around me that a change is ’bout to happen/the energy igniting has become my inspiration/if you take a deeper look you’ll find the information/I’m only just a figment of controlled imagination.” The vocoder on her voice is perfect and everything about it just screams futuristic pop. It’s a really cool moment. Her background vocals in the final chorus are simply stunning and the outro is beyond amazing. Her vocalizing is so catchy and fun, especially when it’s combined with her singing “dancin’ til’ the morning on a velvet sky” because she ad-libs in a higher register. She finishes with some impressive vocal harmonies that are out of this world. This is sexy and fun, all rolled into one crazy banger. The final track is another remake and this time it’s her biggest hit that gets a makeover. You Are What You Are (Beautiful) is a Goldfrapp-esque electronic ballad and it ends up being one of the most unique remakes ever. The original was an emotional anthem that resonated with many and the new version keeps all of that beauty but presents it in a truly amazing way. Gone is the human touch and in its place is a robotic and artificial one that is very dark. The remake is much more depressing and despite being electronic, it’s stripped compared to the other new songs. Her lifeless vocals are led through a buzzing synth line with the occasional kaleidoscope of electronic beats sneaking their way in. The song never strays away from its mellow tempo and the chorus keeps the droning feel of the verses. With just a simple synth beat, the bridge contains her most vocoded vocals yet. As it goes on, the humanistic qualities of her voice start to flourish and in the background, her muffled belting can be heard. It all comes together in a touching way and it’s a lovely conclusion to the record.
Conclusion: Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade Of Hits is a phenomenal collection. It goes through her discography chronologically and having the songs side by side really shows how she reinvents herself with every album. The new tracks were the main reason I decided to check out this album and they do not disappoint. They were such a surprise the first time I heard them because I had no idea that she was heading into an electronic direction and it was such a different style for her. They definitely made me excited for her next project and I started to become a much bigger fan. Her take on electropop is a breath of fresh air. Everything sounds so futuristic and eccentric compared to what other popstars were doing at the time. The songs have their own unique charm and I couldn’t wait to see how far she would take that sound in her fourth album. There aren’t many pop artists out there that take such enormous leaps with their music and it makes Christina stand out amongst her peers. She always brings something new to the table and that’s what I love about her. New and old fans will find a lot to love about this compilation.
Recommended Tracks: Dynamite, Genie 2.0, You Are What You Are (Beautiful) and Keeps Gettin’ Better
Note: The reviews for the rest of the songs from this compilation can be found in my reviews for Christina Aguilera – Christina Aguilera, Christina Aguilera – Stripped and Christina Aguilera – Back To Basics