There’s no shortage of songs about beautiful people – and beautiful women in particular – but in honor of PEOPLE’s “Most Beautiful” issue, we’ve collected a few different songs that have had something interesting to say about physical beauty. From James Blunt to Carole King, we’re offering a playlist of songs that celebrate or skewer perceptions about how pretty ladies should look.
1. "You’re Beautiful" by James Blunt
Might as well start with the most obvious candidate, right? In 2005, Blunt scored a major hit with this strummy ode to a fetching but apparently unavailable woman, and it should only take those initial guitar strings to instantly make you recall that chorus.
Sample lyrics: “You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful / You’re beautiful, it’s true / I saw your face in a crowded place / And I don’t know what to do”
2. "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston
This 2007 reggae-influenced tune was sung by Jamaican-American artist Sean Kingston, and it samples Ben E. King’s classic “Stand by Me.” The song is about a boy who is distraught over the demise of his relationship with a beautiful girl. However, many radio stations edited the lyric “suicidal” to the more family-friendly “in denial.”
Sample lyrics: “You’re way too beautiful girl / That’s why it’ll never work / You’ll have me (in denial, in denial) / When you say it’s over”
3. "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera
Not every song about beauty need be about physical prowess or even a romantic overture. Aguilera’s 2002 ballad proved to be an uplifting ode to inner beauty.
Sample lyrics: “You’re beautiful / No matter what they say / Words can’t bring you down”
4. "Venus" by Shocking Blue
This 1968 hit, which was later turned into an even bigger hit in the ’80s when it was covered by Bananarama, praises a beautiful woman. But it’s all the more interesting because both versions were sung by a woman about a woman.
Sample lyrics: “A Goddess on a mountain top / Was burning like a silver flame / The summit of beauty and love / And Venus was her name”
5. "Beautiful Girl" by INXS
This 1992 track was written by keyboardist and backing vocalist Andrew Farriss of INXS, who was inspired by the birth of his baby daughter. However, the song was also used and widely known for being the theme to an anti-anorexia PSA in the U.S.
Sample lyrics: “Now where did you find her/ Among the neon lights/ That haunt the streets outside/ Stay with me/ Beautiful girl/ Stay with me”
6. "Beautiful" by Carole King
Not only is King’s 1971 song featured on her first award-winning album Tapestry, it also went on to become the titular song of the 2014 musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. The inspiration for the song, according to King, came to her on the N.Y.C. Subway, and was a sort of mantra to fend against how she perceived others reacting to her own visage.
Sample lyrics: “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”
7. "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison
Another classic, this song tells the simple story of a woman walking down the street, looking beautiful but making the narrator wonder if she might be “lonely just like me.” The story gets sweeter, however, when you know that Orbison was inspired to write the song by his own wife.
Sample lyrics: “Pretty woman, walkin’ down the street / Pretty woman, the kind I like to meet / Pretty woman, I don’t believe you, you’re not the truth / No one could look as good as you”
7. "Beautiful Stranger" by Madonna
OK, so she was singing about Austin Powers. To some fans, that was a very beautiful thing back in 1999.
Sample lyrics: “Haven’t we met / You’re some kind of beautiful stranger / You could be good for me / I’ve had the taste for danger”
8. "Beautiful" by Snoop Dogg feat. Uncle Charlie Wilson and Pharrell
This sweet (for Snoop, at least) tune was on heavy radio rotation in the early Aughts. Yes, beautiful people everywhere were getting their dance floor and beach groove on to this jam back in 2003.
Sample lyrics: “Beautiful / I just want you to know (Oh!) / You’re my favorite girl / Oh yeah, there’s something about you”
9. "The Girl From Ipanema" by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto
Adapted into a major hit from the original by Antonio Carlos Jobim (and with lyrics originally in Portuguese), the song was written about Help Pinheiro, a then-17-year-old living in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Sample lyrics: “Tall and tan and young and lovely / The girl from Ipanema goes walking and / When she passes, each one she passes goes ‘ah'”
10. "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey
Not every song about a beautiful person is about yearning for someone else. In the case of Del Rey’s 2013 ballad, the lyrics appear to be about herself? That said, the tune was also the main theme song of The Great Gatsby starring the ever-beautiful Leonardo DiCaprio.
Sample lyrics: “Will you still love me / When I’m no longer young and beautiful? / Will you still love me / When I got nothing but my aching soul?”