The hype machine began in earnest around Christina Aguilera with features in Time Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Vibe, and all of the requisite teen magazines. You could chalk it up to a good publicist, but as music critics worth their salt know: hype doesn’t amount to much.
And for Aguilera, there’s no need for a skilled publicist – her amazingly mature voice is one of the rnest pop-soul instruments to come along since the auspicious debuts of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. When she moves into ballad territory the result is not always sterling, occasionally dipping into a pot of over-earnest pop. On the emotive “I Turn to You,” Aguilera channels the early style of Houston through a rose-colored glass, helped along the way by Diane Warren-penned lyrics that spend a little too much time honoring the nameless, faceless “you” of the title.
Yet on “Reflection,” the track recorded two years ago for Disney’s Mulan, Aguilera’s then 15-year-old voice is as strong as someone who’s twice her age and the song is just as memorable.