Aguilera’s sexy, soulful ”Genie in a Bottle” has already granted her hit-single status. But the powers that be aren’t taking any chances with this 18-year-old, preternaturally piped ex-Mouseketeer (yes, another one). They’ve corralled a magic carpet full of writers and producers for Christina Aguilera, a cannily made pop debut that’s meant to reel in both kids and the grown-ups driving them to those ‘N Sync and Brandy concerts.
When Aguilera straddles the crossover-appeal fault line (”So Emotional”) she delivers giddily delicious radio pop. But more often, she plays intergenerational Ping-Pong, zinging from lightweight, hormonal anthems (”When Mum and Dad has gone…the fun we’ll have”) and who-am-I musings (Mulan’s ”Reflection”) to maudlin ballads best suited to thirtysomething divas (with ”I Turn to You,” hit-meister Diane Warren has penned a near-identical rip-off of her own Celine Dion smash, ”Because You Loved Me”).
A frustratingly erratic album — She’s Tiffany! She’s Whitney! — Christina still makes a credible bid to be the late-summer soundtrack to romantic rebound.