Ahhh, love. There's nothing better. When it's good, it's perfection! No one knows this like Mariah Carey. (Nick Cannon, who?) Alongside Joe and 98°—the nineties were a good time to be alive—Mariah breaks that butterflies-in-the-stomach sensation down for us, joining a group harmony of, "Thank God I found you / I was lost without you / My every wish and every dream / Somehow became reality / When you brought the sunlight." Too sweet!
Fall Out Boy's ode to an ex-lover "Thnks Fr the Mmrs" is perfect for those times when you want to tell someone, "Thanks for the memories." But not use any vowels.
Some of the best ballads feel personal, touching and yet still far enough removed that they work in a myriad of situations. Ashanti's "Thank You" is loving, sure, but we never learn if it's a romantic love, a friendly love, a familial love, a platonic love or some other kind of love. "I just wanna say that I'm thankful for having you in my life / I wanna say thank you," she begins the song. And she wraps things up with lines like, "I don't know what I would do if I didn't have you in my life / I wanna say thank you / I love you and I miss you." We've all felt that way about a few different people, right?
Mary J. Blige's track opens with the question, "How can I say thanks to you?" Through a gorgeous R&B ballad, of course!
Otis Redding wants to thank you so badly, he wrote a song—which is a huge gesture—about wanting to make a huge gesture.
When Christina Aguilera isn't belting her heart out, making you feel "Beautiful" or getting down and "Dirrty," she's broadcasting her appreciation for you and the rest of her fans. "So thank you for standing right by me (I will always love you)," she starts the bridge, "So thank you for being behind me (You are just so amazing.)"
Jay Z is taking a page out of Christina's book, huh? There's an important distinction: Being the legendary rapper that he is, Jay is less than modest in his "Thank You" tune, rapping lines like, "Black luxe / Stop it I shouldn't be so popular / Name keep poppin' up, face keep poppin' up / On the tube I'm just watchin' Pacquaio box 'em up." In the end, though, it's all about you: "Thank you, Thank you, thank you / You're far too kind / Hold your applause / This is your song not mines."
Bon Jovi has a special skill at arena-sized love jams. And "Thank You For Loving Me" is exactly that. "Thank you for loving me / For being my eyes when I couldn't see / For parting my lips when I couldn't breathe / Thank you for loving me." It's so sweet it almost induces diabetes.
Kelly Clarkson has a lot to be thankful for. In her sentimental song "Thankful," she extends that gratitude to family members, who she thanks for everything.
This Keyshia Cole jam features her mother Dr. Yvonne Cole. It's something of a gospel tune, praising God and each other.
The Calling's pop-rock anthem "Thank You" is about the moment you realize you've been in the wrong, and a friend or family member has been guiding you in the right direction the entire time. It's open enough to be interpreted in many different ways, and that's why it's beautiful.
Some of the best thank you messages come in surprising forms. Expressing your appreciation for someone who doesn't expect it, or better yet, doesn't know it's their warmth that made you who you are today...those are the best moments. Gavin DeGraw's "I Have You To Thank" plays with these themes. The country icon belts, "The difference I'm feeling in my heart / Is the difference of loving or not / And under the stars and moon and sun / Is the perfect becoming of one."
R&B goddess Estelle gives us a lovelorn lament that's heartbreaking, but at the end of the day, still appreciative. "These tears I cry sure won’t be the last / They will not be the last, no / This pain inside never seems to pass / It never seems to pass me by," she sings. "So I thank you / Said I thank you / Yes I thank you / For making me a woman."
Carrie Underwood was raised in a world where no matter how big you get or where you go, your hometown is always there for you. So be thankful for where you come from, and know that it will always be a part of you. "Thank God For Hometowns" is an ode to that feeling. It'll leave you feeling blessed and with the desire to call your mom. Call your mom!
Céline Dion is the Canadian chanteuse to end all Canadian chanteuses. "Thank You" is no different from the rest of her repertoire; it's all about love lost, found and infatuated. This song is so over the top with gratitude, it almost feels religious. "Thank You / For the real sacrifice and the truth / Behind your giving heart," she sings.
Many of the songs on this list look to God or a lover with gratitude. New Edition's "Thank You" is an open letter to dad, thanking the man of the house for making them who they are today.
India.Aire isn't thanking a family member, a lover or even a friend. "Thank You" is dedicated to our brothers in arms, the military. "Somewhere there's a boy who's in a danger zone, fighting to ensure his mother's safe at home / And oh say can you see, that oh freedom isn't free / Thank you, for doing what you do / To make sure we have the right to live the way we choose." Beautiful!
Swedish pop group Abba wrote some of the cheesiest disco tunes the English-speaking world will ever hear. (Come on, "Dancing Queen"?) But "Thank You For The Music" is an exception. It's high energy, catchy as hell and celebrates celebrating.
Led Zeppelin's "Thank You" puts their guitar slaying to good use. A solo and a good message, what more could you ask for?
When Boyz ll Men express gratitude, they bring women to their knees. "Cause even though when times got rough / You never turned away / You were right there / And I thank you." Swoon.
The impossibly-bearded, guitar shredding rock gods ZZ Top aren't always in badass mode. They can get sensitive like the rest of us. "You didn't have to love me like you did / But you did, but you did / And I thank you," they sing.
Another religious anthem! Faith Evans sings her anything-but-somber song to her Lord, "Just wanna thank you for what you've done / Just wanna show you that you're the one / I thank you Lord."
Third Eye Blind give us a self-deprecating and passive aggressive tune about love lost. "I woke you up / And I slit the throat of your confidence / And we laughed in the night / And I felt all right / Thanks a lot / Thanks a lot / Thanks a lot I'm the one for you." Ouch?
When all else fails, sing The Golden Girls theme.
Fun fact: The song was originally recorded by singer Andrew Gold (hear his version below) in 1978 where the song was hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It was famously re-recorded by Fee for the theme song to Golden Girls.