Recording information: Chalice Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Conway Studios, Hollywood, CA; Kung Fu Gardens, North Hollywood, CA; Mad Dog Studios, Burbank, CA; The Enterprise Studios, Burbank, CA.
Photographer: Ellen Von Unwerth.
Thsi is a well assembled career-spanning compilation from Christina Aguilera that, as the title implies, charts the golden throated songstress's evolution from her early years as a seemingly effervescent teen pop sensation to her later incarnation as a more mature artist with self-consciously high artistic aspirations.
Though Aguilera seemed uncomfortable with the comparisons to teen icons like Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson that dogged her early career, singles like "Genie in a Bottle" and "You Are Beautiful" are sterling examples of cannily written, dance-floor-oriented pop, and compare favorably with much of Aguilera's later output. Though KEEPS GETTING BETTER places a marked emphasis on newly recorded tracks like "Keeps Getting Better" as well as material from BACK TO BASICS, Aguilera's R&B-inflected 2006 release, it's those infectious early singles that make this compilation truly essential.
Britney Spears proved that the same goldmine that Madonna and Cyndi Lauper mined in the 1980s was again ripe for the picking, and she was immediately followed up the charts by another female teenybop sensation, Christina Aguilera. Closely aligned with Spears's style early on, Aguilera hit the charts in a major way in the late '90s. However, by the dawn of the new millennium, Aguilera had transformed herself from a bubblegum sensation to a raw and raunchy vamp (STRIPPED), and then to a mature, platinum blonde pseudo-traditionalist (BACK TO BASICS), positioning herself as a risk-taker with little connection to her Mousketeer past.
Entertainment Weekly (p.72) - "The singer has banished melisma and belting from these electronic confections, and her chops sound just as hot set on simmer." -- Grade: B