Beautiful – Carole King

Song: Beautiful
Album: Tapestry
Performer: Carole King
Writer: Carole King
Year: 1971

I have been particularly inspired by the career trajectory and music of Carole King. She worked really hard from a young age writing and playing piano and ended up writing multiple iconic and important songs that will be known for a long time. I’ve been reading her memoir and what has been most inspiring to me is her talking about times that she wrote bad songs or made mistakes. It’s not at all me relishing in the fact that she has had failures in her life, it’s just incredibly reassuring to me anytime a creative and successful person I look up to can point back to times they failed and say “yeah, that happened, but I moved on and just kept going.”

The moving on thing is really hard for me to do, but in every podcast or book or article I’ve read where a successful person is talking about their life, there’s always a moment (usually a lot of moments) where failure has happened and has to be absorbed and learned from.

So it’s a source of relief to know that one of the greatest female songwriters ever has felt failure and felt inadequate before but it didn’t cripple her. And to be able to see a little deeper into why it didn’t permanently cripple her is such a valuable insight.

Anyway, this song is so inspiring to me. It’s a pop song, but a very musical pop song. The song has interesting chord changes, flowing between major and minor keys through the verses and chorus. I’m particularly drawn to the bass playing on this song and through the whole Tapestry album. It’s exceptional. The lines facilitate the song but also find times to shine.

The thesis of the song is overcoming self-doubt, self-consciousness, hate, jealousy… basically a call to be your best self. You know the saying, “if you can’t love yourself, who can love you?”

You’ve got to get up every morning
With a smile in your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes you will
That you’re beautiful, as you feel