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Album Review

Heritage Aside, Aguilera Doesn't Translate


September 16, 2000|ERNESTO LECHNER

There's something unintentionally hilarious about the way the teen dynamo sighs her way through a south-of-the-border version of her hit "Genie in a Bottle." Although she has every right to claim her Latino heritage (she's half Ecuadorean), Aguilera knows zilch about translating sensuality from one language to another. In English, her breathy little moans are pretty convincing. In Spanish, they sound ridiculous.

Five of the songs on this collection are translations of cuts from the singer's smash debut album, while the remaining six are new. Under the guidance of slick songwriter-producer Rudy Perez, Aguilera showcases the recipe of the moment for a slice of Latin pop: Pick a catchy hook from the Anglo repertoire, add a salsa piano line and presto, it's Latin music.

How simple is that?

Desecrating the classics is also becoming something of a tradition with bilingual pop stars. By loading the timeless "Contigo en la Distancia" with overly dramatic, R&B-style vocal gymnastics, Aguilera turns a gem of understatement into bloated confection.

Seamlessly produced, "Mi Reflejo" is a probable chart buster. Now that anything in Spanish is interesting and alluring just because, there's no reason why mainstream artists shouldn't switch languages in their effort to gain wider demographics. We didn't really expect young Aguilera to explore the folklore from the Ecuadorean side of the Andes, did we?


Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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