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Music Review

Christina Aguilera: 'Keeps Gettin' Better - A Decade of Hits'

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Christina Aguilera: 'Keeps Gettin' Better - A Decade of Hits'
Released on Monday, Nov 10 2008

"Some days I'm a super bitch," sings Christina Aguilera on this collection's title track. It's a brazen, unapologetic line that says a lot about the singer's attitude. There can't be many 50 million-selling pop divas who aren't capable of being a "super bitch" when they want to be - and probably when they don't - but Aguilera's the one who's gone out and said it.

This spunky attitude is stamped all over Keeps Gettin' Better, a greatest hits set tracing her career from the coquettish teen-pop of 'Genie In A Bottle' to the Goldfrapp stylings of the title track (and recent single). She may have started out with similar material to another Mickey Mouse Club alumnus, but Aguilera moved on to bigger and better things more quickly than Britney, co-writing the lion's share of her second album, Stripped, and making her third, Back To Basics, a 2-CD pop-soul-jazz-blues opus.

During her "decade of hits" she's ricocheted between genres, wrapping her pipes around everything from strutting arena rock ('Fighter)' to tongue-in-cheek retro-pop ('Candyman') to the sluttiest, sweatiest club banger in recent memory ('Dirrty'). Keeps Gettin' Better should probably feel messy and disparate, but actually it hangs together pretty well. There are number of constants running through the collection: sex, self-empowerment and of course Aguilera's singing, which is rarely subtle but never anything less than committed. The way she sings "I never back down" on 'Fighter', only a fool would test her.

The set concludes with four new tracks that signpost the electropop direction of Aguilera's next album. 'Dynamite', on which she sings about "dancing 'til the morning light on a velvet sky", and 'Keeps Gettin Better', her current single, suggest she shouldn't have too much trouble reinventing herself as a robopop diva. Meanwhile, sultry remakes of 'Genie In A Bottle' and 'Beautiful', though hardly essential, work better than they have any right to.

It isn't quite definitive - what happened to 'Can't Hold Us Down?' - and some of the ballads stray into X Factor territory, but Keeps Gettin' Better is a consistently entertaining collection that paints Aguilera as ambitious, adaptable and willing to indulge her taste for the absurd. On this evidence she's probably earned the right to behave like a "super bitch" - every once in a while, at least.

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