Why have a Top 10 when you can have one more? Here are our 11 favourite Christina Aguilera songs, ranked
After 20 years and nine studio albums, Christina Aguilera knows a thing or two about making a hit song. Starting out in the age of pop princesses, Aguilera has reinvented herself many times over the course of her two decades in the charts and has gifted us with some truly great pop music throughout it all.
As she prepares for two final UK shows this week, we rank her top tracks.
11. Pa Mis Muchachas
The lead single from her 2022 self-titled ninth studio album, ‘Pa Mis Muchachas’ featured vocals from Becky G, Nicki Nicole and Nathy Peluso and was Aguilera’s first Spanish-language release since 2000’s Mi Reflejo. ‘Pa Mis Muchachas’ (For My Girls) signaled a new chapter in Aguilera’s career all the while staying true to the message of female empowerment that’s been present in her music for over two decades. It’s an absolute bop to get you moving on a night out, or even beforehand. Add it your getting ready playlist immediately.
10. Your Body
While Aguilera’s seventh studio album Lotus wasn’t her highest charter, lead single ‘Your Body’ was an absolute firecracker and unmistakably Xtina. Its positive reception from critics and fans alike, especially internationally, demonstrated her enduring relevance among shifting tastes and trends. Another one that’s guaranteed to ramp things up for a big night out.
(Back To Basics, 2006)
Aguilera has become the queen of reinvention over the years, seamlessly moving between genres and styles while still smashing out hits. Her 2006 Back To Basics era was certainly a notable shift and ‘Candyman’ played a huge part in that. The swinging pop-jazz earworm highlights Aguilera’s defiance towards those who criticised her Stripped album for being too provocative. Omnipresent on radio, it climbed to No.17 on the UK singles chart that year, even despite its relatively saucy lyrics.
(Back To Basics, 2006)
Aguilera may have burst onto the international stage at a time of highly produced princess pop but it was on the big ballads where she really stood out. On ‘Hurt’ – also from 2006’s Back To Basics, she sings about the pain of losing someone close to her and delivers a vocal performance that guarantees anyone who ever tries to replicate it sounds like rubbish karaoke. While ‘Candyman’ and ‘Ain’t No Other Man’ were the best performing tracks of her Back To Basics era, ‘Hurt’ was absolutely the stand-out moment.
While the message in Christina Aguilera’s 2002 hit might seem clichéd today, the impact this song had in the early 00s can’t be undervalued. The song and its accompanying video were praised by LGBTQ+ groups around the world for their positive message of self-empowerment and self-love. In 2011, the track was voted the most empowering song of the previous decade for LGBTQ+ people by UK organisation Stonewall. Sometimes the broadest messages speak loudest.
6. Come On Over
(Christina Aguilera, 1999)
The fourth and final single from her debut, ‘Come On Over’ was the first track over which Aguilera had significant creative control. It became her third No.1 hit in the US and such was its success, a Spanish-language version of the song was released a year later. ‘Come On Over’ is oftentimes overshadowed by the better-known singles from her debut but absolutely holds up as a pop classic nearly 25 years later.
5. Can’t Hold Us Down
Aguilera’s second collaboration with Lil’ Kim, ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’ was loud and proud in its message – women should not be shamed for the things men are praised for. The pair rejects the idea that “women should be seen and not heard” throughout the song, and there was much speculation at the time that it was in response to Eminem’s ‘Off The Wall’ and ‘The Real Slim Shady’ which both reportedly refer to Aguilera.
4. Lady Marmalade
‘Lady Marmalade’ was a pop culture reset. Aguilera joined forces with Pink, Mya and Lil’ Kim for the 2001 release which appeared as part of a medley on the Moulin Rouge! film soundtrack. Produced by Missy Elliot – who also joined the ladies for the music video – the song still holds the record for the longest reigning No.1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart for an all-female collaboration, topping the charts for nine consecutive weeks.
In 2001, when heading on a family holiday abroad, my mother told me I could only bring one CD with me for the entire two-week trip. Sacrificing the chance to have a 20-track-long album to keep me entertained, I brought my copy of the ‘Lady Marmalade’ single and listened to it on repeat for 14-days straight. As life decisions go, that was a good one.
Another notable musical moment in Aguilera’s back catalogue, ‘Dirrty’ probably wasn’t the most appropriate song for me to be singing along with in the car on my way to school. After years of not being able to control her public image, Aguilera was determined to lead out her 2002 album Stripped with a statement of intent and she certainly managed that. Internationally, it was a smash hit and remains one of the singer’s best-known songs. The music video was equally as impactful and continues to influence fashion trends just as it did in the early 00s.
2. Genie In A Bottle
(Christina Aguilera, 1999)
Aguilera’s debut single might have been her contribution to Disney’s Mulan soundtrack but it’s ‘Genie In A Bottle’ that really introduced her to the world. While wrapped in teen pop sweetness, the suggestive hit was just the right amount of raunch for Aguilera and set her apart from her peer Britney Spears who released ‘Baby One More Time’ that same year. Fun fact: I replicated Xtina’s orange cargo pant and turquoise tassel tank for Halloween… for two years running!
I have vivid memories of buying ‘Fighter’ on CD single one day after school and begging my mam to race home so I could listen to it on my Walkman. Scrolling up and down the music channels for hours, I would wait for the music video to appear on my screen; eventually I’d seen it so much, I could see the video play out in my mind’s eye while listening to the song on the move.
The third single released from Stripped, ‘Fighter’ was the perfect combination of grit from ‘Dirrty’ and the emotive messaging of ‘Beautiful’, and the perfect opportunity for Aguilera to show off her incomparable vocals. It’s the ultimate feminist power anthem and still slaps just as hard as it did nearly 20 years ago.
Christina Aguilera is playing Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on 3 August, and London’s O2 on 5 August. Final tickets for both are available here.