Christina Aguilera – Come on Over (All I Want Is You)

First Hit #1: October 14, 2000

While I don’t believe Christina Aguilera grew up in gospel choirs, her voice has a definite gospel quality to it. She sings with a force that feels like a girl who is trying to reach the very heavens, and she also has a voice that’s oddly at odds for the low effort pop that she’s saddled with it. Her voice gives Come on Over a force of will that’s almost inappropriate for a song that’s basically about a starlet wanting to have sexy sex with sexy boys. The frivolity of the lyrics and production – which is kind of low-rent pop, the kind reserved for a second-tier pop musician – contrasts with Aguilera’s determined and forceful vocal. She’s pretty much forcing the song to be more than second tier pop music.

She’s not quite as powerful as Whitney Houston, for example, she can’t make the song essential by sheer force of will. She can, however, make an otherwise pretty dull track somewhat compelling and catchy solely through her vocal power. She’s a voice that is forced by circumstances and time to be saddled to songs much less interesting and vital than it deserves. The trends of 2000, or at least the trends of teen pop at the time, were really at odds with the kind of performance she could give.

She did eventually find the right sound for her voice, on the outright excellent Back to Basics. Then again, that didn’t have any number ones, so what do I know?

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2 Responses to Christina Aguilera – Come on Over (All I Want Is You)

  1. RBerman says:

    The original album version (by the same folks who wrote her previous hits) wasn’t so much about sexy sex, but about that 90210 episode where Brenda hosts a kegger: “All my friends are gonna come/ Now when mom and dad has [sic] gone/ I know, you know, I just want us to go/ The fun we’ll have/ You’ll never be alone/ So boy, won’t you come/ We will party ’til the dawn…”

    This became less a teen hijink and more something decidedly adult: “I’ve got an invitation/
    Don’t you keep me waiting, all night long/ I know you know, so baby, don’t pretend you won’t/ Keep me guessing if you will or you won’t/ Don’t wanna play that game with you, baby…” The original focused on the boy’s “personality” rather than “sexuality,” contained no thoughts of being “one on one” or how to “get tight,” or of how ready the girl was for the big moment. Can you hear (and in the video, see) Team Aguilera scrambling to compete with the hormonally charged work her perennial rival Britney Spears was doing at the same time across town?

    The music is pretty similar in both versions of this song, though the original, almost a minute shorter, lacks the rap section and the interpolation of “What a Girl Wants.” Christina’s gospel second hand influence is thirdhand is channeled through Carey and Houston from Aretha Franklin, on back to Mahalia Jackson and thence to the dawn of recorded music.

  2. Pingback: Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink – Lady Marmalade | We Are Number Ones

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