Miley Cyrus may have spent the better part of a year twerking nails into the coffin of her Hannah Montana alter ego, but it was Christina Aguilera who really set the standard for controverting the Disney origin story. On her 2002 album Stripped, with freshly weaponized sexuality, she blew the mouse ears off her past and came as close as any Disney alum has come to raging against the machine, but she was never as fun as her self-titled 1999 debut.
20 years ago Christina Aguilera joined The All-New Mickey Mouse Club cast alongside future obsessions Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling. Later Disney would trot the power balladeer out again for the featured single “Reflection” from the animated movie Mulan in 1998, but by the time her first album was released Britney had already established the template for coy pop ingenue with to-catch-a-predator allure. Aguilera had feuds with Eminem and Fred Durst to get to, not to mention a pretty audacious Patti LaBelle impression in the works, but those would all have to wait.
Aguilera didn’t really assert herself until the fourth and final single from her first album. Remixed, re-recorded and re-titled from the album version,”Come on Over Baby (All I Want Is You)” features a rap verse (co-authored by Aguilera herself ) and lyrics so steamy that the song was banned from airplay on Radio Disney. And the video, directed by Paul Hunter, is the best JC Penney Back to School Sale commercial you’ve ever seen featuring a racier Aguilera with tighter clothes and red streaks in her hair; a flash of changes to come.
Both the song and the video are so cheerfully teenaged with all the insistance of adulthood hoop earrings and hip popping can get you and it’s pretty hard to resist. If “Dirrty” is Christina Aguilera’s Declaration of Independence, then “Come on Over Baby (All I Want Is You)” is its preamble and it’s a piece of history you should reacquaint yourself with.