“I don’t know why we hurt ourselves to please someone else’s perception of self. I’m sorry to my own reflection, I’m sorry for putting you down. I’m sorry I struggle accepting the beauty that lies in myself,” Aguilera says at the top of the clip, which debuted Friday on the singer’s YouTube account. “I feel in life when you get to a place where you feel so comfortable and so routine, then you know you have to stop and start from scratch.”
She then delves into her past, notably sharing insight on her familial struggles from an early age. Shortly after she was born in Staten Island, New York, her father joined the military, prompting her mother to quit college to support her partner.
“Maybe in a way what I’m doing is also for her because she gave up everything for him,” Aguilera continues, reflecting on her motivation for creating a new, “vulnerable” image on Liberation as opposed to the “character” she’s played on past releases. “I was very grounded at a very young age to know that I was never going to be weak to a man and that I didn’t want that fairy tale.”
The next scene shows the 37-year-old alone in front of a red backdrop, belting what appears to be a new song from the LP without a backing track: “How was I supposed to know / that it would cost my soul / nothing is free / I want to breathe / How am I supposed to face this lonely life I’ve created,” she croons.
“The inspiration for the album? To me, the purest of reason is to get back to that little girl who just wants to be inspired again by truth and by that sense of passion for music and singing and just feeling free and alive again,” Aguilera says before explaining the reason behind her six-year absence from releasing solo material. “I’ve stepped so far away from that little girl, and if that means going away for a little while and figuring out who you are again and what you need to say, then that’s what you need to do.”
She concludes the short with a message to her younger self: “I’m sorry for covering your freckles, I’m sorry for hiding your scars, I’m sorry that I put you down,” she laments. “But I’m willing to let you be now. But I’m willing to let you free now… F— it, this is who I am, and whoever’s not on board can suck my d—.”