Genie in a Bottle

Album: Christina Aguilera (1999)
Charted: 1 1
Play Video


  • This was the song that broke Christina Aguilera into the big time. She spent two seasons on The Mickey Mouse Club (1993-1994), which turned out to be quite an incubator for talent: Her co-stars included Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Britney Spears. Her acting and dancing didn't set her apart, but her singing did. She recorded a single in 1998 called "Reflection," which was from the Disney film Mulan, and she got a record deal with RCA a short time after. Spears was already tearing up the charts with her first album, ...Baby One More Time, which Aguilera recorded her debut, so RCA spared no expense, pairing her with top talent and giving her a huge promotional push. "Genie In A Bottle," which shows off her impressive vocal range, was the first single from the album. It rose to the top spot in the US in July 1999, six months after Spears topped the chart with the title track to her album. Aguilera's next single, "What a Girl Wants," also went to #1.
  • This song was written by Pam Sheyne, Steve Kipner and David Frank. UK based and New Zealand-born songwriter Pam Sheyne is a former backing singer for The Pet Shop Boys and Celine Dion, who began writing songs in the mid-'90s. Steve Kipner wrote "Physical" for Olivia Newton-John and "Hard Habit To Break" for Chicago. David Frank wrote "You Are in My System" for Robert Palmer.
  • The genie in a bottle legend has it that if you find a mysterious bottle and rub it, a genie will appear to grant you three wishes. This song uses the tale as a sexually charged metaphor, implying that the girl will respond to the proper touch.
  • This song caused some controversy when it was released, as the 18-year-old Aguilera was quite young to be singing such a racy song, particularly as her music was marketed to young girls. Aguilera explains in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "It is a bit suggestive, but in a positive way. It's all about a girl who's a little sassy and likes to play hard to get, but equally wants sincerity in a relationship." The lyric, "My body's saying let's go, but my heart is saying no" emphasizes her point.
  • This was the biggest selling single in the US in 1999, and also Aguilera's best seller in the UK, selling 608,100 copies.
  • The video was directed by Diane Martel, who had done a lot of rap videos as well as several for Mariah Carey. It's set on the beach, but there is no bottle - just a lot of ridiculously attractive young people who break out into spontaneous dance numbers.

Comments: 2

  • George Pope from Vancouver BcDoesn't it sound like she's teling her lover that she is trapped in a relationship & if this lover wants to be with her, he must first release her to freedom from the bottle(being trapped in a loveless marriage, e.g.?); could be as benign as go tell the guy off, buy him off or bury him in a landfill; I don't think she cares which.
  • John from Nashville, TnOne of the co-writers, David Frank, was one-half of the intergrated duo the System. The duo scored a top-5 pop hit with "Don't Disturb This Groove".
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Steve Morse of Deep Purple

Steve Morse of Deep PurpleSongwriter Interviews

Deep Purple's guitarist since 1994, Steve talks about writing songs with the band and how he puts his own spin on "Smoke On The Water."

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien Songs

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien SongsSong Writing

The trail runs from flying saucer songs in the '50s, through Bowie, blink-182 and Katy Perry.

Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa CarltonSongwriter Interviews

The "A Thousand Miles" singer on what she thinks of her song being used in White Chicks and how she captured a song from a dream.

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the Song

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the SongSong Writing

How a goofy detective movie, a disenchanted director and an unlikely songwriter led to one of the biggest hits in pop history.

Desmond Child

Desmond ChildSongwriter Interviews

One of the most successful songwriters in the business, Desmond co-wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Livin' On A Prayer."

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?Song Writing

Katy Perry mentions McDonald's, Beyoncé calls out Red Lobster, and Supertramp shouts out Taco Bell - we found the 10 restaurants most often mentioned in songs.