“Beautiful” is a song recorded by American singer Christina Aguilera for her fourth studio album, Stripped (2002). It was released as the album’s second single on November 16, 2002. A pop ballad, “Beautiful” was written and produced by Linda Perry. Lyrically, it discusses inner beauty, as well as self-esteem and insecurity issues. Aguilera commented that she put “her heart and her soul” into the track, which she felt represented the theme of Stripped. The song was later re-recorded in an electronic style for her first greatest hits album Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade of Hits (2008).
Upon its release, “Beautiful” received universal acclaim from music critics, who have ranked it among Aguilera’s strongest material. It won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and was also nominated for Song of the Year at the 2004 ceremony. “Beautiful” was also a commercial success, topping the charts in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, where it was certified gold for 500,000 units shipped.
“Beautiful” has been widely embraced as an anthem by the LGBT community for its message of self-empowerment and inner beauty. An accompanying music video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, and earned Aguilera a GLAAD Media Award for its positive portrayal of gay and transgender people. In 2011, UK LGBT rights organization Stonewall named “Beautiful” the most empowering song of the previous decade for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. In 2009, Rolling Stone and VH1 listed it as one of the best songs of the 2000s (decade). The song is widely recognized as one of Aguilera’s signature songs and has been covered on numerous occasions and featured on several television shows.