The Enduring Impact Of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Stripped’
In 2002, Christina Aguilera broke the mold of the stereotypical Y2K pop star — establishing herself as a sexually-liberated woman on sophomore album, Stripped. The album spawned signature songs like “Dirrty” and “Beautiful.” From its raunchy lyrics to the outrageous video, the former shocked America. The latter, on the other hand, inspired an entire generation to be themselves. Both remain stone-cold classics. Other memorable cuts include enduring bop “Fighter,” power ballad “The Voice Within” and Lil’ Kim collaboration, “Can’t Hold Us Down.”
Since its release, the album has become the blueprint for divas making the transition from teen idol to adult pop star and has inspired the likes of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus. Selena listed Xtina’s opus as a driving inspiration behind 2015’s Revival. Although widely compared to Britney Spears for most of her career, the diva’s last album had more of a confessional, raw quality that evoked Stripped.
“Christina Aguilera’s Stripped was one of my favorites,” Selena told Entertainment Weekly ahead of her release, revealing that the LP inspired her to tell a cohesive story of her own. “It’s okay to let down my walls with my music, to feel sexy and good,” she said of her experience with crafting her own career-defining album. Christina also had a huge impact on Demi. Her power ballad “Skyscraper” drew parallels to “Beautiful,” while dramatic kiss-off anthems like “Really Don’t Care” were inspired by “Fighter.” However, her latest album, Tell Me You Love Me, is her first full-length release to evoke Stripped in terms of quality and subject matter.
It is over her most-experimental productions that the “Sorry Not Sorry” artist finally came into her own. “[Christina] did a lot of growing up on that album,” Demi told iHeartRadio this year. “I feel like she really made herself, like, an icon with that album. That’s what I hope to do someday,” she added. Miley perhaps came the closest to replicating the shocking image overhaul of the Stripped era with the release of Bangerz in 2013.
After declaring that she couldn’t be tamed on her 2010 album, proved it on Bangerz — rebelling over slick, urban-pop productions. The “We Can’t Stop” singer even went as far as to rock Xtina’s iconic ass-less chaps onstage during promotional performances at the time. (Kylie Jenner replicated the iconic look for Halloween last year). Miley also tweeted her love for Stripped in 2014.
Fifteen years after its initial release, Stripped remains a cohesive and forward-thinking collection of songs. It continues to be a major influence new artists and is the measuring stick for empowered pop. Hopefully, Christina is inspired by the 15-year anniversary of her seminal album as she puts the finishing touches on the much-anticipated follow-up to 2012’s Lotus. After a five-year hiatus, Xtina needs to bring it.