Many pop stars rely on being almost naked on the cover of Rolling Stone to sell albums. Sadly, Christina Aguilera is one of them. However, with such moving ballads as Beautiful, the skin mags (Stuff, Rolling Stone) are unneeded.
Starting with the whispered “Don’t look at me” and the opening verse, Aguilera has set the tone with her sorrowful voice. This is perhaps most felt at “I’m so ashamed” and as she tries to reassure herself in the chorus that she “is beautiful no matter what they say…So don’t you bring me down today.” Aguilera interpreted Linda Perry’s lyrics perfectly. Aguilera’s voice is naturally confident, which Perry works with. By the bridge, Aguilera is self-assured, as is the music, which equals the lyric: “We’re the song inside the tune/Made of beautiful mistakes.”
While many pop songs address insecurities, it’s usually of the “I’m a celebrity! Will people ever like me for who I am!” variety. Perry does an excellent job writing it in a general way, which everyone can relate.