The Story of Pop: 1999 (Chapter 41)

It’s Thursday, so that means it’s time once again for this week’s installment of The Story of Pop: 1999, where we revisit all the big chart smashes and the artists that made them hits from twenty years ago. We’re onto our last ten entries of the series now can you believe it – and this week, it’s the launch of the other big new teen pop princess of the year…

There was little disputing that in just a matter of months, Britney Spears had become pop’s hottest property of 1999 where teen female stars were concerned. Not only was ‘…Baby One More Time’ now the global smash it had become, but the success of her debut album, and its follow up hits like ‘Sometimes’ and ‘(You Drive Me) Crazy’ proved she was no one hit wonder either.

It was only a matter of time, therefore, before labels had started pitching around to find some serious contenders, primed to emerge to try and take a slice of the action – and that duly arrived in the shape of one of Britney’s fellow former Mickey Mouse Club graduates. In this case, we swap out a small-town Louisiana girl for a New York city one.

Christina Aguilera first gained attention towards the end of 1998, when she recorded the song ‘Reflection’ for the soundtrack of the Disney film Mulan. Ron Fair, head honcho at RCA Records (who also had a hand in the career of both The Black Eyed Peas and Pussycat Dolls) immediately hooked her up to the demo of a song he was convinced could launch her career.

Written by the then up and coming Aussie born, L.A based songwriter Steve Kipner, who would later go on to provide The Script and Natasha Bedingfield with hits, ‘Genie In A Bottle’ was an instantly captivating pop record much like ‘…Baby One More Time’, showcasing a set of pipes that belied her tender 19 years of age.

When released in the States during the summer of 1999, it immediately rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts for a five week stay, and just as rapidly, the UK soon got wind there was another former Mouseketeer waiting in the wings with a blossoming pop career, hence why ‘Genie In A Bottle’ commanded a sizeable following on import sales for just over a month before its official UK release on 4th October 1999.

Once out the traps on UK shores, ‘Genie In A Bottle’ repeated its Stateside success, giving Christina Aguilera the first of her four UK number one singles to date, staying at the top for two weeks, and thus a whole generation of pop fans was presented with a new debate: were you Team Britney or Team Christina? She arguably of course, gained greater attention and notoriety later her in career, thanks to a series of saucy reinventions of image and sound, but for this week, we raise a glass to ‘Genie In A Bottle’ – the pop smash that let out the illustrious career of Christina Aguilera.

Don’t forget to follow our playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 1999. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments or Tweet us, using the hashtag #StoryofPop1999.

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