Beautiful (Christina Aguilera song)

Beautiful (Christina Aguilera song)

Infobox Single
Name = Beautiful


Artist = Christina Aguilera
Album = Stripped
Released = December 24 2002 (U.S.)
March 3 2003 (UK)
Format = 12" single, CD single
Recorded =
Genre = Pop, R&B, soul
Length = 4:05
Label = RCA
Writer = Linda Perry
Producer = Linda Perry
Certification = Platinum (ARIA)
Gold (RIAA)
Last single = "Dirrty"
(2002)
This single = "Beautiful"
(2002)
Next single = "Fighter"
(2003)

"Beautiful" is a pop song written and produced by Linda Perry and recorded by American singer-songwriter Christina Aguilera for her second studio album, "Stripped" (2002). It is a cello-driven, classically-flavored ballad in which its protagonist deals with hurtful statements made against her that cause her to feel insecure and have low self-esteem. She does not let other people's negativity get the best of her. It was released as the album's second single in late 2002 (see 2002 in music) and reached number one in several countries. The song earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Background

Perry had written "Beautiful" long before she let anyone hear it. She considered the song very dear and personal to her and was insecure about sharing it with anyone else. At first she had let Pink hear "Beautiful" before anyone else during their "M!ssundaztood" sessions. Pink was so impressed with the song that she had asked Perry if she could record it for her album, but Perry declined, feeling that she wanted to save it for her own singing career. A few months later, while Aguilera and Perry were recording for the "Stripped" session, Perry also let Aguilera listen to the song. Aguilera so much liked the song that while Perry was playing the piano for it, Aguilera took over the vocals for the song. After that, Aguilera told Perry that she needed this song on her album. Perry was both impressed by Aguilera and confused, because even though she was blown away by her rendition of the song, she still did not want to give it up. After Aguilera continued lobbying for the song, Perry was finally convinced that Aguilera matched the song perfectly and handed it over to her. [ [http://www.ascap.com/playback/2003/fall/perry.html "Linda Perry, High Priestess of Pop"] . American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. 2003. Retrieved June 12, 2007.]

The song was recorded in a single take. Aguilera reportedly expressed concerns that she had hit some notes too flat and some too sharp, but Perry insisted that she leave them in.

Some instruments used in this song include the cello, piano, violin and drums.

Aguilera has re-recorded the song for inclusion on her Keeps Gettin' Better - A Decade of Hits with the name "You Are What You Are (Beautiful)", the album will be out in November 2008.

Music and structure

"Beautiful" is a gentle ballad composed in the key of E♭ major.Sheet music for "Beautiful". Famous Music. 2002.] It moves at a slow 78 beats per minute. Aguilera's vocal range spans over an octave and a half, from B♭3 to G♭5. She uses several melismas in the song, fitting as many as seven notes in one syllable.

Critical reception

"Beautiful" received positive reviews from music critics. "Entertainment Weekly" found it to be a highlight of "Stripped", finding it "more restrained" than the rest of the album. [Browne, David. [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,384149~4~0~stripped,00.html "Stripped (Music - Christina Aguilera)"] . "Entertainment Weekly". October 28, 2002. Retrieved June 12, 2007.] "Stylus Magazine" described the song as "a typical ballad that actually tastefully reins in Aguilera's frequent vocal acrobatics".Burns, Todd. [http://www.stylusmagazine.com/reviews/christina-aguilera/stripped.htm "Christina Aguilera - Stripped - Review"] . "Stylus Magazine". January 9, 2003. Retrieved June 12, 2007.]

Release and success

According to Perry, she and Aguilera's management had recommended "Beautiful" as the lead single from "Stripped" but that Aguilera insisted on releasing "Dirrty" instead.Hiatt, Brian. [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,384172,00.html "Rump Shaken"] . "Entertainment Weekly", issue 680. November 1, 2002. Retrieved June 15, 2007.] RCA Records stated that it had agreed with Aguilera to release "Dirrty" to attract attention; when the song only reached number forty-eight on the "Billboard" Hot 100, "Beautiful" was rush-released as the second single. The song peaked at number two on the U.S. Hot 100 largely because of its strong radio airplay; it was released as a 12" maxi single and at the time sales of this format were much lower than those of regular CD and CD maxi singles. "Beautiful" stayed in the U.S. top forty for twenty-four weeks, and topped many other "Billboard" magazine charts. It was equally successful elsewhere, and reached number one on the charts in the UK (where it was her fourth number-one single), Australia (where it was her first) and Canada (where it was her second). In New Zealand, it peaked at number one too, and with thirteen weeks in the Top 10, it became the sixtieth most successful song of all time there. [ [http://charts.org.nz/bestall.asp charts.org.nz - New Zealand charts portal ] ]

"Beautiful" won a 2004 Grammy Award for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance", and Linda Perry received a 2004 Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year. The song was ranked number two in the "Readers' Top Ten Singles" list at the 2004 Rolling Stone Music Awards, and its video was also placed at number two in the "Best Video, Readers' Pick" category. The video was the recipient of the "Popular Female Video" award at the 2003 Channel [V] Thailand Music Video Awards. A remix of "Beautiful" by Peter Rauhofer won a 2003 HX Award for "Dance Song of the Year". The single sold over 7,026,000 millions copies worldwide.

Music video

The song's music video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund. The video opens with Aguilera speaking the line "Don't look at me", followed by scenes of her singing alone in a room intercut with self image-related sequences of other people, several of which deal with body image. An underweight girl examines herself in a mirror, eventually punching through it; a thin boy stands lifting weights in a room plastered with images of bodybuilders; and a girl rips out pages of women's magazines and throws them into a fire. In one sequence, a girl is bullied by several peers, and in another, a goth sits at the back of a bus while several people get up and move. The video also touches on LGBT issues. One scene features a gay couple, portrayed by Jordan Shannon and Justin Croft, kissing on a bench and ignoring the stares of people who pass them. [http://www.glaad.org/media/release_detail.php?id=3283 "Christina Aguilera to be Honored at 14th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented by Absolut Vodka in Los Angeles"] . Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. February 8, 2003. Retrieved June 12, 2007.] Another scene shows a travesti, played by Robert Sherman, putting on makeup, a wig, and women's clothing.

The music video was successful on video chart programs. It debuted on MTV's "Total Request Live" on December 9, 2002 at number two. [ [http://www.atrl.net/trlarchive/?s=debuts "The TRL Archive - Debuts"] . ATRL. Retrieved June 12, 2007.] It was unable to reach the top of the countdown but remained on it for fifty days and retired at number six on February 25, 2003. [ [http://www.atrl.net/trlarchive/?s=halloffame "The TRL Archive - Hall of Fame"] . ATRL. Retrieved June 12, 2007.] The video topped MuchMusic's "Countdown" for two consecutive weeks and remained on the countdown for fifteen weeks. [http://top40-charts.com/songs/full.php?sid=5617&sort=chartid "Christina Aguilera Beautiful"] . Top40-Charts.com. Retrieved June 12, 2007.] The video received a Special Recognition award, presented by David LaChapelle, from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation at its 14th annual media awards. [http://www.glaad.org/media/release_detail.php?id=3359 "Eric McCormack, Todd Haynes, Christina Aguilera, The Hours, Six Feet Under Honored at 14th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented by Absolut Vodka in Los Angeles"] . Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. April 26, 2003. Retrieved June 12, 2007.] After an a cappella performance of the song, Aguilera stated in her acceptance speech that "this song is definitely a universal message that everybody can relate to - anyone that's been discriminated against or unaccepted, unappreciated or disrespected just because of who you are."

Cover versions

* Elvis Costello covered the song specifically for the "House" episode "Autopsy". [Bundy, Brill and Porter, Rick. [http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,271%7c96656%7c1%7c,00.html "Press Tour Tidbits: Brett Ratner 'Loves' Naked Men"] . Tribune Media Services. July 29, 2005. Retrieved June 12, 2007.]

* In the first Spanish version of X Factor, Angy Fernandez sang it.
* It was also covered by Gloria Gaynor in the British television program, "Hit Me Baby One More Time", where she performed a disco version of the song.

* In addition, guitarists Richard Fortus and Robin Finck of Guns N' Roses covered "Beautiful" instrumentally for the early shows of Guns N' Roses' 2006 tour.

* It was covered by Kenny G and Chaka Khan for Kenny G's "At Last...The Duets Album".

* Clem Snide covered the song as the title track to its 2004 "A Beautiful EP".

*"MADtv" parodied the music video as "Virginal", with Christina Moore portraying Aguilera. In the video, the public "didn't care to see Aguilera's pubic hair" in the "Dirrty" video, so Aguilera becomes "virginal". [Episode 815, "MADtv" (15 February, 2003).]

* Alex Parks winner of BBC TV's "Fame Academy" also recorded a version for her 2003 debut album and appeared as a b-side to her first single "Maybe That's What It Takes".

* "Australian Idol 2006" runner up Jessica Mauboy performed a cover during the Top 10 show #1 Hits, which received much praise from the judges and audience. She then went on to release a cover of "Beautiful" for her "Australian Idol: The Journey" album which was released as a single but never was charted.

* Bob Ricci recorded a parody of the song called "Unhackable" for his 2008 album Bob's Gone Wild.

* In "Believe the Unseen", an episode of "ER" that first aired on 2008-01-10, the song is performed a capella by a young girl with Leber's congenital amaurosis.

* The band Hunchback recorded a cover version for their album "Pray For Scars" which features Michael Gerald from Killdozer.

* The Zutons performed a cover of the song for Radio 1s Live Lounge.

* Daniel Franzese who plays Damian in Mean Girls covered the song in the Christmas talent show scene.

* Israeli punk band "Make It Rain" often play a cover version in their shows.

Formats and track listings

;American 12" vinyl single
# "Beautiful" (Peter Rauhofer remix)
# "Beautiful" (Al B Rich Next Level mix)
# "Beautiful" (Valentin club mix)

;American digital download
# "Beautiful" (Peter Rauhofer radio mix)
# "Beautiful" (Al B Rich radio mix)
# "Beautiful" (Valentin radio mix)
# "Beautiful" (Peter Rauhofer short club)
# "Beautiful" (Brother Brown mixshow)
# "Beautiful" (Brother Brown Divine mix)
# "Beautiful" (Al B Rich Next Level mix)
# "Beautiful" (Peter Rauhofer Beautiful theme)
# "Beautiful" (Valentin club mix)
# "Beautiful" (Peter Rauhofer extended club)
# "Beautiful" (Brother Brown dub);Australian CD single
# "Beautiful"
# "Dame Lo Que Yo Te Doy"
# "Beautiful" (video)

;UK CD-Single
# "Beautiful (album version)"
# "Dirrty (MaUVe Mix)"

;British 12" vinyl single
# "Beautiful" (Shanghai Surprise mix)
# "Beautiful" (Tom Mandolini mix)
# "Beautiful" (Brother Brown mixshow)
# "Beautiful" (Brother Brown Divine mix)

Credits and personnel

* Lead vocals: Christina Aguilera
* Producer: Linda Perry
* Recording engineer: Linda Perry
* Bass guitar: Linda Perry
* Cello: Richard Dodd
* Drums: Brian MacLeod
* Keyboards: Damon Fox
* Piano: Linda Perry
* Violin: Eric Gorfain
* Audio mixer: Dave Pensado

Charts and certifications

References

External links

* [http://www.rcarecords.com/media/christina_aguilera/audio/11_beautiful_32.ram "Beautiful" audio] (RealAudio format)
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNthqC2fsVw "Beautiful" music video]


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