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Christina Aguilera: The ten essential tunes

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Before we began grappling with the 23 tracks on her new, produced-by-everyone-from-Linda-Perry-to-Ladytron-to-Le-Tigre album, we took the opportunity to revisit Christina Aguilera's eclectic and poptastic back catalogue with fresh ears. The fruits of our endeavours is this, DS's ten-track mix of the singer's finest pre-Bionic moments. We hate to break it to you, but 'Car Wash' didn't quite make the cut...


Genie In A Bottle
Album: Christina Aguilera (1999)
Writers: David Frank, Steve Kipner & Pamela Sheyne

Hard to believe now, but the teenage Ags makes her debut with a song extolling the virtues of sexual restraint. "You're licking your lips and blowing kisses my way," she teases, "But that don't mean I'm gonna give it away..." Let's face it, these days it probably does, but the decade-old 'Genie' still supplies an almighty pop rush. [NL]


Come On Over (All I Want Is You)
Album: Christina Aguilera (1999)
Writers: Johan Aberg, Paul Rein, Christina Aguilera, Ron Fair, Chaka Blackmon, Ray Cham, Shelly Peiken & Guy Roche

It arrives early on in her recording career, but Christina manages to bag a co-writing credit for 'Come On Over', a slice of unadulterated teen-pop that becomes her third US No.1. The way she guides a dancer's hands "down below" in the video, meanwhile, hints at the "dirrtier" output to... erm... come. [RC]


Dirrty
Album: Stripped (2002)
Writers: Christina Aguilera, Rockwilder, Balewa Muhammad, Redman & Jasper Cameron

OMG she's spreading her legs and flashing her bum and acting like a total skank and she hasn't even bothered to wash her hair and did she just touch her ladybits and bloody hell she's writhing around with a load of hos in a prison shower now... (For the record, the tune's pretty good too.) [NL]


Beautiful
Album: Stripped (2002)
Writer: Linda Perry

With its message about shrugging off insecurities and overcoming prejudice, 'Beautiful' is quintessential Xtina and ultimately defines what Stripped is all about. This Linda Perry-penned power ballad reaches No.1 in an impressive seven countries - and later earns itself a moody electro makeover for her 'Best Of' comp. [RC]


Fighter
Album: Stripped (2002)
Writers: Christina Aguilera & Scott Storch

Stadium-sized drums + c*ck rock guitar work + fist-pumping chorus + empowerment-filled lyrics + vocal to test even the best window panes = ANTHEM. Who knew she'd make such a convincing rock chick? [NL]


Walk Away
Album: Stripped (2002)
Writers: Christina Aguilera, Scott Storch & Matt Morris

"What do you do when you know something's bad for you and you still can't let go?" Christina ponders on this shoulda-been-single. Thanks to its emotive vocals and heartfelt lyrics, 'Walk Away' nevertheless establishes itself as a firm fan favourite - one that stands up against her better-known, X Factor-endorsed ballads. [RC]


Cruz
Album: Stripped (2002)
Writers: Christina Aguilera & Linda Perry

Don't worry, she didn't write a song about the youngest Beckham... this Stripped standout is actually an optimistic, Linda Perry-produced paean to moving on. The chorus is so big and stirring that, when Chrissie sings it live, it practically makes your mobile levitate of its own accord. [NL]


Ain't No Other Man
Album: Back To Basics (2006)
Writers: Christina Aguilera, Charles Roane, DJ Premier, Harold Beatty & Kara DioGuardi

Is that really her? After a bit of a break from the charts, 'Ain't No Other Man' heards a more mature direction for Ags, as she brands her new hubbie "the kinda guy a girl finds in a blue moon" over a funk-pop backing with a hip-hop twist. The result? It scorches like the midday sun in Mexico City. [RC]


Slow Down Baby
Album: Back To Basics (2006)
Writers: Christina Aguilera, Mark Ronson, Kara DioGuardi, Raymond Angry, William Guest, Merald Woodrow Jr. Knight, Edward Patton, Gladys Knight, Marvin Bernard & Michael Harper

On which Miss Aguilera - sorry, Mrs Bratman - politely informs some lusty son-of-a-gun to back the f**k off. "If you knew anything you'd realise I'm wearing a ring," she spits over Mark Ronson's hot'n'horny retropop. Our advice? Take your pint and run mate. NOW. [NL]


Keeps Gettin' Better
Album: Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade Of Hits (2008)
Writers: Christina Aguilera & Linda Perry

"Some days I'm a super-b**ch!" Xtina proclaims here in typically uninhibited fashion. Trading in the jazzy stylings of Back To Basics for stomping electropop, this pulsating, synth-laden tune has more than enough 'tude to stand up next to the seasoned smashes on her 'Best Of' comp. [RC]


Selections and commentary by Robert Copsey and Nick Levine

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