Recording information: Conway Studios, Hollywood, CA; LP Studios, Sherman Oaks, CA; Mad Dog Studios, Burbank, CA; NRG, North Hollywood, CA; Royal Z Entertainment; The Enterprise Studios, Burbank, CA; the Hit Factory, NY; the Record Plant, Hollywood, CA.
Photographer: Miranda Penn Turin.
Although STRIPPED is supposed to refer to Christina Aguilera's emotional rather than physical state, you couldn't tell based on her topless pose on the album cover, where the only nod to discretion is some strategically placed hair. Like Britney before her, Christina yearned to get away from her wholesome pop image. In the process, she hooked up with a wide range of collaborators including hip-hop producers Rockwilder and Scott Storch along with a myriad of guest musicians including Eve, Linda Perry, and Dave Navarro. Despite all the glitter and glam, there's no getting away from the fact that Aguilera's singing ability puts her head and shoulders above her poppy peers. Her rich, throaty style works well on slower numbers like a soaring Alicia Keys collaboration "Impossible," piano-driven nugget "Soar," and the Mariah-like "The Voice Within."
Other highlights include the snappy, Lil' Kim hip-hop workout "Can't Hold Us Down," sweeping self-empowering rant "Make Over," and the ribald, jeep-beat crazy joint "Dirrty" featuring Redman. Most revealing (on an emotional level) is "I'm OK," an acoustic guitar-heavy autobiographical remembrance of childhood abuse. Britney Spears may not be quite a woman or a girl, but the newly minted Christina is definitely closer to the former.
Rolling Stone (11/28/02, p.88) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...With its lack of gimmickry and a surplus of sweet Seventies soul, STRIPPED is almost an album for grown-ups....Sophisticated fare..."
Spin (12/01/02, pp.137-8) - 6 out of 10 - "...STRIPPED is Aguilera telling us what a girl pop star really wants: to be free with her body, her art, and her heart..."