Inspired by an article detailing the history of freak shows, “The Most Beautiful,” is Cass Clayton’s simple call to action.
Clayton urges her listeners to find the beauty beyond the surface and recognize that the real freaks are the people who are willfully blind to the kindness of others, which is of course, our true source of beauty as humans.
“That article was a huge gift, because it really bothered me – the idea that people who didn’t fit or had a disability were sold off to the circus. ‘The Most Beautiful’ asks what makes a person beautiful and what makes a person a freak. It’s a simple plea for kindness,” she explains.
While straightforward in sentiment, it’s Clayton’s velvety vocals atop the instrumentation that makes this song so special. The mellow guitar helps sweep listeners up while Clayton’s lyricism paints a vivid picture of a distant past which still affects the way we view our peers today.
She shares how she was able to achieve such a symbiotic relationship between her affecting message and a serene sound.
“I love the instrumentation. It’s so open and gentle, with Taylor Scott playing this moody 1966 Gretch guitar. He composed the song, and it’s so pretty and so right for the lyrics. Tom Amend is playing the Hammond organ with this gospel church feel that weaves everything together. They really got to the heart of the song,” she explains. “We ended up using an old RCA microphone on the full-band version of the song. It has this intimate quality that lends itself to telling the story like you’re sitting face to face with someone.”
In this way, Clayton’s message hits tenfold.
While speaking on one topic, freak shows, Clayton simultaneously points to the wretchedness harbored in every soul. The ability to overlook goodness and kindness in favor of the superficial.
Clayton reminds listeners that in the midst of such twisted thinking, we are likely missing out on getting to know the most beautiful girl in the world.
“We’re sidetracked by what people look like, how charismatic they are, and other stuff that keeps us from seeing each other. In this song, the ‘freaks’ are the people who point and laugh. Their disability is conceit and unkindness. The preacher in the chorus is a metaphor for people of authority we trust, who can lead us to do the wrong thing. The most beautiful people are the kind ones.”
Check out “The Most Beautiful” below.