The year 2003 was shaping up to be Christina's most successful year yet by August. Her second album Stripped was spending weeks and weeks atop the charts around the world, and the singles released from it were still in heavy radio rotation. "Dirrty," "Beautiful" and "Fighter" were the first three singles to be released from the album and all did incredibly well world-wide. September 2003 saw the release of the fourth single from the album. It was called "Can't Hold Us Down" and featured rapper Lil' Kim, with whom Christina had previously worked with on the Moulin Rouge No.1 smash "Lady Marmalade" from 2001.
At the end of August Christina joined Madonna and chart-rival Britney Spears on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards for what has gone on to become the most talked-about music performance in decades. Madonna kissed both Britney and Christina on the lips in front of the world as they danced and sung to a medley of Madonna's "Hollywood" and "Like A Virgin." The whole performance was in aid of Madonna's 20 years as the Queen of Pop. The media focused more on Britney than Christina, which has caused the latter to spit venom at Miss Spears recently. Personally, I think Christina is jealous of Britney in this respect, and she should just keep her opinion to herself instead of slagging everyone off.
Anyway, Can't Hold Us Down should have been a huge hit but only managed No.6 in the UK. The song starts off with a trippy beat before Christina starts off the first verse, "So what am I not supposed to have an opinion? Should I keep quiet just because I'm a woman? Call me a b***h cause I speak what's on my mind. Guess it's easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled. When a female fires back, suddenly big talker don't know how to act. So he does what any little boy would do. Makin' up a few false rumours or two. That for sure is not a man to me. Slandering names for popularity. It's sad you only get your fame through controversy, but now its time for me to come and give you more to say."
The strong girl power themes and assertive independence are clear from this first verse, which is carried through into the first chorus, "This is for my girls all around the world. Who have come across a man that don't respect your worth. Thinkin' all women should be seen not heard. So what do we do girls? Shout out loud. Lettin' 'em know we're gonna stand our ground. So lift your hands higher and wave 'em proud. Take a deep breath and say it loud. Never can, never will, can't hold us down." Christina then sings the second verse and the second chorus, before Lil' Kim comes in to do her rap. I think this is the highlight of the song, even though I'm not too keen on Lil' Kim. She seems too stuck-up for my liking, but the rap is still good.
Christina then sings "You're just a little boy. Think you're so cute, so coy. You must talk so big to make up for smaller things. You're just a little boy. All you do is annoy. You must talk so big to make up for smaller things." Christina then sings the chorus a few more times, as her backing singers jump in and sing along with her. The song then totally changes pace, and ends with a bouncy funky beat where Christina goes all "Uh! Oh! Uh! Yeah!" on us, before the song gradually dies down and fades out. The video to Can't Hold Us Down is probably my least favourite from all the songs taken from Stripped. Christina is in a street with Lil' Kim and her 'girlfriends' as they battle with the guys about sexism and all that. Obviously the girls win, as Christina parades around in next to nothing (We know you're outspoken love, you don't have to take your kit off to prove it). All in all, this is a good song from Christina. Not the best, but not the worst.