Readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.
So, as our retrospective features ‘From the Vault’ and ‘TGJ Replay’ allow us the chance to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday of one artist, our newest feature Chart Rewind – a variation of our current Retro Rewind assay – accedes salutes to an entire era of music history.
This week we’re taking it back to basics with Christina Aguilera‘s ‘Beautiful,’ the second single from her magnum opus, ‘Stripped.’ Join us inside:
Christina Aguilera‘s debut era (circa 1999) was peppered with hits but also plagued with endless comparisons to the day’s leading female performer Britney Spears – an association that quickly became a bane for the burgeoning diva.
Undoubtedly a driving force behind the artistic and visual concepts found during her sophomore run, anchored by her second album, ‘Stripped’ (click here to read our ode to the project), the ‘Genie in a Bottle’ beauty popped the top on the era in late 2002 with the LP’s jaw-dropping lead release ‘Dirrty.’ The Dana Stinson-produced bop was a complete undoing of the (somewhat) bubblegum Pop image she’d built in the years leading up to its unveiling.
While seemingly successful on the surface, the drastic effort to distance herself from Spears not only failed as she was still badgered with Britney questions in subsequent interviews but the tune’s accompanying music video was so polarizing it led to backlash due to its racy imagery. Stalling at #48 on the Hot 100 (her lowest charting single at the time), an attempt to quickly mop up the ‘Dirrty’ mess came with its follow-up, ‘Beautiful.’
Penned and produced by famed singer-songwriter Linda Perry, the track was lauded by critics for its emotional depth as it tackled topics of self-esteem and self-identity. A message reiterated by its accompanying music video (which featured supportive images of equality among people of color, different body types, LGBT, women, and more), the public response to ‘Beautiful’ not only undid the damage of ‘Dirrty’ but also landed Aguilera right back atop the Pop charts.
Hitting #2 on the Hot 100 this week in 2003, the song was kept at bay by Urban boy band B2K and their first chart-topper, ‘Bump Bump Bump.’
Unlike ‘Bump,’ ‘Beautiful’ played the long game. Eventually becoming an anthem for the LGBT community, it was eventually certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), earned Aguilera a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2004 ceremony (as seen in the clip above), and has stood the test of time as one of her signature songs.
As we celebrate one of the century’s most critically acclaimed Pop offerings, look below to see who joined Xtina in the top 25 of the Hot 100 this week 17 years ago:
Hot 100 This Week in 2003
Hot 100 This Week
Click here to read this week’s full Hot 100 chart check.