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Beautiful

by

Christina Aguilera



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was written by Linda Perry, who was a member of the group 4 Non Blondes. When Aguilera and Perry first met they didn't get on. Perry told Aguilera: "Everyone knows you can sing, but it's not convincing emotionally." Aguilera was apparently offended by this, but later thought it would be a good idea to work with Perry because of how she helped revive Pink's career.
Before recording the song, Aguilera and Perry talked, and Christina recalled suffering physical abuse at the hands of her father. Apparently, she began to cry and asked for the session to be abandoned, but Perry thought it was the perfect opportunity to record the song. She told Q magazine: "I know it sounds ghoulish, and she didn't think she could do it, but I made her do the song in tears." (thanks, Adam - Dewsbury, England, for above 2)
Linda Perry wrote this with the intention of having it as her comeback single, but when she played it to Christina Aguilera, she hadn't yet recorded it. Perry recalls in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh: "I played it to Christina who immediately fell in love with it, so I gave her the chance to demo it. Her first vocal take, reading the lyrics from a piece of paper in my living room, were so fulfilling that we used that version on the single. It had a very raw feeling, which I liked, but Christina wanted it re-done to technical perfection. I said no and it took me 7 months of arguments until she finally agreed."
The gay community embraced this song. The video shows a cross-dressing man and a homosexual kiss. It was honored by the Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for its positive portrayal of alternative lifestyles. Linda Perry is gay.
The first single from the album was "Dirrty," which featured a lascivious video but not much of a beat. It didn't get much radio play and Aguilera was taking a lot of heat for the video, so this was quickly issued as the second single. The message of self-acceptance went over well and helped put the focus more on Christina's singing and less on her lack of clothes.
This won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal, and Aguilera performed the song on the show. A week before The Grammys, Janet Jackson created lots of controversy when her breast was exposed during the halftime show. CBS, who also broadcast the Super Bowl, ran a 5 minute delay on The Grammy awards to make sure nothing like that happened. They almost had to use the delay when Aguilera accepted her award - she was wearing a very revealing dress and looked like she was in danger of popping out. She made a few comments about it before accepting the award and thanking Perry for writing the song.
Elvis Costello recorded a cover of this song for an episode of the TV program House. (thanks, Louise - Sheffield, England)
During this song a faint rhythm track can be heard in the background. This was caused by headphone bleed, which is sound leaking from her headphone monitor into the microphone. Dave Pensado, who mixed the song claimed: "The song was about being beautiful and honest in every way. That bleed is honest. It was one of the most honest vocal performances I had ever heard. It was actually the scratch vocal."
This song was performed on the sixteenth episode ("Home") of the American TV series Glee by new cheerleader Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley). Music producer Adam Anders told MTV News that her moving rendition almost didn't happen. "Amber Riley didn't want to sing it," he said. "Don't let her tell you otherwise. She really respects Christina Aguilera and wanted to do it justice. Like when she did 'And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going,' she was really nervous about it. But as everyone knows, she killed it."
Stripped was Aguilera's sophomore album, and it found the young songstress reacting against the pop tunes her label got her to record on her debut record. She explained in Chicken Soup For the Soul: The Story Behind The Song: "I called the CD Stripped because I wanted to strip away the pieces of myself from the first record that I felt weren't me. I was searching for truth. We can all look at our pasts, childhoods, home lives and it's easy to be a victim or victimize yourself -- but I didn't want to do that. I was feeling lots of pent up emotions and they all came to a head in 'Fighter.'

I wanted my songs to have positive empowering messages, especially to women so they could feel strong and speak for themselves. My father dominated our household and I didn't want to feel weak."

She added: "I try to write lyrics and music that people can relate to and that help them to find personal strength. I try to communicate universal ideas and thoughts that help them to get through the day or the year a bit better."
This came top of a poll conducted by the UK gay rights organization Stonewall, where they asked their supporters which track recorded in the 21st century they felt had the most empowering message. In second place came Boyzone's "Better," and in third Lady Gaga's "Born This Way."
Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera Artistfacts
More Christina Aguilera songs
More songs performed at The Grammys
More songs that won Grammys
More songs about inner beauty
More songs significant in the gay community
More songs written by Linda Perry
More songs covered by the Glee cast

Comments (27):

whenever im in a s--tty moody, i put this song on and it always makes me smile.
nathan: no not all gay guys wear female clothing, i am gay and i wear mens clothing
- anthony, wagga wagga, Australia
I'm not a big fan of Christina Auguilera but I can tolerate this song. I didn't initially like the cover done by Elvis Costello either but after hearing it a few times I do think he does a good job and does the song justice.
- Hugh, Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
I never thought this song fit Christina. The video is complete garbage.
- Theresa, Murfreesboro, TN
My friend matt played this song for me after a huge breakdown one night when i was f****d up & on the rare occasion that i get f****d up if theres no one around to distract me the whole time i start thinking really hard about things & i saw an old box of those proactive vitamins (that are supposed to make your skin clearer and all that jazz) that my mum bought me cuz (and i quote) "it made her ashamed to be seen in public with me" because i had bad acne when i was younger & she would use my insecurities as something to hurt me when we were arguing... Anyway i cried and when he asked me what was wrong i told him all about it & told him i was going to bed to sleep it off, my boyfriend was asleep in the bed already & i went in & laid down & matt comes in a couple mins later & plays me this song & my boyfriend didnt know wtf was going on but he knew i was upset about something & matt & his girlfriend kristie sat @ the foot of the bed & my boyfriend held me & when the song was over i felt so much better lol anyway now when i hear this song it makes me think of them.
- JENNIFER, LIBERTY, SC
u got to be confident with ur self,love ur self and don't care about what other peaple think of u, and u'll be just beautiful :D
- naanoo, kuwait, Kuwait
This song truly shows off Christina's amazing pipes. I love the message behind it.
- Meredith, Wauwatosa, WI
The song itself is certainly empowering, and Christina Aguilera's singing makes it even more so. Notice that I said "singing": Too often, I believe, female singers are valued only for the prettiness of their voices (I think now of Maria and Whitney) or their sex appeal rather than their ability to use their voices as instruments for portraying or provoking deep emotion or thought. That is the real talent of great singers like Billie Holliday, and Christina Aguilera showed, on this song, that she has that ability. You go, girl!
- MusicMama, New York, NY
This song is just perfect. It will always be one of my favorites. Maybe it's the combo of Linda Perry's lyrics and Christina's vocals that just make it something very special.
- Violet, Santa Barbara , CA
I can't believe this was on the first take either...incredible! I had no idea Linda was originally going to do the song either...ohhhh I'm soooo glad Christina did it!!
- Violet, Santa Barbara , CA
I saw her when she was on Tour with Justin TimberLake and at the end of her set she came out with this shirt that said "God Sees No CoLor" and sang beautifuL...It was...BeautifuL! LoL! She's Amazing!
- Kali, Van Nuys, CA
i luv this song! i sang it 4 my skool talent show and a lot of ppl liked it. it is very inspiring.
- katy, portland, OR
Love this song! Christina is telling everyone that beauty on the inside is more important thaat beauty on the outside! Good for her!
- Caitlin, Upper Township, NJ
GLAAD thought that crossdressing was a positive image of gays? I don't think that the majority of gays wear women's underwear, but I could be wrong about that.
- Nathan, Defiance, OH
This is one of my all time favourite songs. It really makes me feel good when I listen 2 it. Christina definitely deserved the Grammy & the praise she got from this song & her voice is amazing. I give her 150% 4 getting a load off her chest & 4 creating a song that has a very positive message. U go girl!
- Aaron, Mississauga, Canada
This song really gets a grip on me. The name of the song says it all. I believe this was a turning point with Christina Aguilera.
- Paul, London, England
Christina after the whole kiss she totally grew up not like Britney,she continued with the whole slutty girl but more likely Christina still was that sexy girl but they dont look at her that way slutty as in the begginning,she started to still make thoes deep feeling songs,I mean it doesnt matter who ppl are. I was in class the other day and not that i like school but my teacher said were going to hear beautiful of Christina and she told us that it doesnt matter who ppl are because God loves u and he will forgive u and everything happends for a reason. If you make fun of ppl and laugh at them for example if they are dumb then u are laughing at God. Im not religious but this song is really interesting and a really good move of Christina,not like Britney. She is so irresponsable.
- Casie, Denver, CO
Mia,that was so funny. At the talent show and damn! Not that im a lesbi or anything but I didnt know that Lindsay Lohan had like a sexy body,I mean when she was in Mean Girls in the talent show singing the Christmas Jingle Bell rock she was like a total slut. That ovie rocked.
- Casie, Denver, CO
In The Lindsey Lohan Movie...Mean Girls...A Gay Guy Friend Of Cady's (lohan) Sings This Song At A School Talent Show...It Was A Very Funny Part (he gets a show thrown at him)
- mia, wellston, MI
Christina picked well to do this song, her voice is just great for this tune. I think this just shows how she now thinks about herself, even though she got badly bullied when she was young. She is a very strong person!
- Josie, Colchester, England
i really like this song and i agree with Harriet i dont like how she dresses but she has an amazing voice
- stephanie, calgary, Canada
Christina deserves the Grammy more than anyone in her era. Being an singer means knowing how to sing, not acting the part. She is a wonderful artists and all that matters to me is that she sings, sings, and sings. I love her gifted voice.
- Shawna, San Diego, CA
I don't really like Christina Aguilera, as she strikes me as being far too into 'sexiness' rather than music... but I like this song. It *is* beautiful and a good use of her talent.
- Helen, York, England
Very positive, upbeat song with a meaning which is often lacking these days.....
- sue, Danbury, CT
I think this song has a lot of feeling and a lot of meaning. I don't really like the way she dresses, but I love her song BEAUTIFUL. She has a strong voice and I think she uses it well.
- Harriet, Trowbridge, England
film clips are a bit tacky, whats next pornos?,
- pete, nowra, Australia
Christina says it's okay to just be who you are....don't be afraid......
- Shana, Radcliff, KY
This is definitely beautifull. I really don't care what anyone thinks or says about Christina she is by far up there with Mariah Carey and Whitney (before the drugs) maybe better as she goes. Iam a singer not a professional one but I've had a lot of experience in the field and let me tell you the kind of stuff she sings is even hard for me to sing. There is jus something that makes her much more talented to the like of the other pop princesses who rely on looks (breasts etc.) to make records. This ex-genie girl can SANG!
- Audrey, LA, CA
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