KEEPS GETTIN' BETTER cd/dvd by Christina Aguilera

It's hard to believe, but a decade after Christina Aguilera entered the fray of Britney Spears clones (blonde, hot, female, very young, and overtly sexual) she's still going strong. Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits is a Target-exclusive cd/dvd combo that shows how after ten years, not much has changed in her ten years of making music or making music videos.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I work for Target. Not that anyone particularly cares -- I just like disclosing.)

Keeps Gettin' Better is Aguilera's first greatest hits collection, and it goes from her first hit single "Genie in a Bottle" to her just-released tune "Keeps Gettin' Better." For the most part, the music can be divided into upbeat, risque pop songs and slow, emotional ballads ("I Turn to You," "Beautiful," "Hurt"). There are no rare tracks, four new songs (two new ones and two remixes of older ones), and no live performances, Spanish-language tunes, or "Lady Marmalade" performance.

What boosts Aguilera above the average forgettable one-hit wonder is that she has a great singing voice -- what a set of lungs! -- and the songs from her Back to Basics album ("Ain't No Ohter Man," "Candyman") had her mixing her contemporary pop with a 1940's-style mix of soul and jazz that works pretty well. Ironically, her new song "Keeps Gettin' Better" declares "some days I'm a super bitch/up to my old tricks/but it won't last forever" while the two new songs do sound like her old synth-driven songs.

As for the videos, well, my opening paragraph mentioned Aguilera being blonde, hot, and female -- and they certainly don't downplay any of that in the videos. There's no shortage of skin or movin' and shakin' in the songs (except for the aforementioned slow ballads), and "Dirrrty" is quite shamelessly self-exploitative (though hard to watch without thinking of the great parody of it done by Sarah Michelle Gellar on Saturday Night Live). I was disappointed that the video for "Keeps Gettin' Better" didn't make it on the disc; and Aguilera's weird butterfly-goth persona in "Fighter" still creeps me out.

If you like Christina Aguilera but don't have any of her music, Keeps Gettin' Better is a nice way to pick up just about all of her hit singles. Folks who have her other albums should only get this if they want the videos -- very little new here musically -- and if you don't like what you've heard from her popular music this album certainly won't change your mind.

Overall grade: B- (music), B (videos)
Reviewed by James Lynch
(who resists predictability by not posting the "Dirrrty" video here)

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