Over three seasons and dozens of songs, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has covered nearly every topic and musical genre imaginable, fearlessly mocking everything from hip-hop to punk-pop, on subjects both highbrow (the stigma of mental illness) and low (period sex). As the Vulture’s CXG recapper, I’ve been astonished at what the songwriting team of Rachel Bloom, Adam Schlesinger, and Jack Dolgen has been able to achieve on a tight budget. Even the very worst entries would still be the envy of the YouTube parody culture from which Bloom emerged.
Nonetheless, here’s my attempt to rank every song Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has done, from worst to first. A few ground rules: Because they would inherently rank low, songs under 30 seconds don’t count (which knocks out most of the reprises and a few mini-tunes like “George’s Turn”); the three theme songs do count; and in a few places, I’ve combined song cycles or duos into one entry for easier ranking. I’m also taking into account the visual component of each song and the quality of the performances — if you’ve listened to the show’s soundtracks, you’ve surely noticed that a few of these tunes are sonic dead air without seeing what’s onscreen.
But even if I ranked your favorite tune a bit lower than expected, this list is intended to be a testament to the quality and care that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend puts into every last song, many of which I suspect will continue to resonate with viewers long after it’s off the air.
85. “Duh!” (season 2, episode 8)
Josh Chan is a charming character, but his songs are consistently the show’s worst. As “love realization” tunes go, this one’s as bland as the mainstream techno-pop songs it parodies. The video isn’t much better, depending mostly on flashback montages for its emotional heft.
Best line: Honestly, it doesn’t really have one.
84. “Clean Up on Aisle Four” (season 1, episode 16)
The season-one subplot about Greg overseeing romantic intrigue at the grocery store was a bit of a space filler as it is, and though it’s only about 45 seconds, this grocery-themed acoustic tune still feels agonizingly long. I agree with the rest of the clientele that Grocery Clerk With Half an Eyelid’s cartwheels are more enjoyable.
Best line: “I’m the pimiento to your olive / I wanna be inside of you”
83. “I Feel Like This Isn’t About Me” (season 3, episode 5)
Cornelia Wigfield is right: This show isn’t about her, and this bossa nova tune is basically meant to provide a brief, relaxing interlude in a very emotional episode. It’s cute, but nothing more — though at least they got their money’s worth on that swim-up bar.
Best line: “This reminds me to try the Brazilian place with the meat on the stick that they carve / Right at the table”
82. “Feeling Kinda Naughty” (season 1, episode 2)
This stalkery overintensification of “I Kissed a Girl” is impressively baroque — I’d never previously given thought to snorting up lines of dried sweat — but it’s so disgusting that it’s hard to listen to again. Still, I love the super-stealth shout-out to the similar themes of Behind the Candelabra, complete with Bloom in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Liberace costume.
Best line: “I wanna cut the silky hair right off your head / And slurp it up like spaghetti”
81. “Group Hang” (season 1, episode 12)
The perils of getting one-on-one time with someone you like in a “group hang” is a strong premise, but this song spends too much time bogged down in making fun of bad Mexican-fusion cuisine. Is this a bigger issue in Southern California?
Best line: “And now the greatest peril of the group hang … EL CHEQUE”
80. “Greg’s Drinking Song” (season 2, episode 2)
I’ve never liked this song, largely because it offers a pretty major contrast with the show’s conviction that alcoholism isn’t always obvious. (After all, Greg was able to keep his drinking problem under the radar — well, from everyone but Paula — for quite some time.) Santino Fontana does his best to make it funny, but I just don’t buy Greg as the kind of drunk who tries to fly commercial airplanes or have sex with bushes. Nonetheless …
Best line: “That’s where that scar came from! / From sexing a bush!”
79. “One Indescribable Instant” (season 1, episode 18)
A gentle parody of the over-the-top “love themes” in sappy movies, the subtle joke of this wedding song is how hyperbolic it is. It’s sweet, and Lea Salonga sings it well, but it’s meant to underscore a key romantic moment for Josh and Rebecca, not say anything much on its own.
Best line: Josh telling Rebecca, “I feel you with me,” then pulling out her old letter from camp. Awww!
78. “Angry Mad” (season 1, episode 17)
Vincent Rodriguez III is unquestionably the show’s best dancer, but Josh songs tend to be the show’s weakest. This Karate Kid–meets–Footloose bit is a prime example: no lyrical content, but killer moves.
Best line: Not really applicable, though those nunchucks and backflips are pretty cool.
77. “Period Sex” (first appearance in season 2, episode 3)
Although the full version didn’t appear on the show (blame network censors), the buildup to “Period Sex” did get more than 30 seconds of combined airplay, so I’ll let it compete. Unfortunately, the complete song is a letdown after the enjoyable running joke — it’s mostly a clip compilation of various characters saying the words period and sex. It could have been so much more, but I can’t blame the songwriters for not wanting to waste more time on a YouTube-only number.
Best line: “Are those sheets expensive? / I’ll Venmo you back for your sheeeeeets”
76. “Where’s Rebecca Bunch?” (season 3, episode 1)
The season-three opener suffers from a few issues: It clearly cost a ton, yet still looks way more low-budget than its season-one and season-two counterparts “West Covina” and “Love Kernels”; the premise of recasting every character as medieval villagers is cute, but it doesn’t really go beyond a Beauty and the Beast–esque gossipiness; and Rebecca’s portion of the song, while nicely delivered by Bloom, doesn’t tie into the medieval theme at all. Season three has a high hit ratio for songs so far, but this one needed some more work to fix lame rhyme schemes: “Is she out to brunch?” is a prime offender.
Best line: “There’s gossip going on from Riverside to Encino / Of the Jewish chick who got dumped by the ripped Filipino”
75. “Triceratops Ballet” (season 2, episode 5)
Calling this drug-trip ballet a “song” is probably generous — it’s really more of an orchestral montage of other songs from the show — but it’s definitely a full-length music video, so I’m counting it. Sure, it’s a silly and unmemorable one with some clunky metaphors, but Gabrielle Ruiz and Vincent Rodriguez do get to show off their impressive dancing skills. I’d have preferred a real drug-trip song with some actual lyrics and jokes.
Best line: “Did we just drink … drugs?”
74. “Makey Makeover” (season 2, episode 4)
This parody of Toni Basil’s “Mickey” is cute, but it’s pretty short and doesn’t have a whole lot of substance. Of course, neither do most makeover montages, so maybe that’s the point.
Best line: “Old you in the garbage / New you in display case / Old you was a diaper / New you is a diamond”
73. “This Is My Movement” (season 3, episode 6)
Scatological humor doesn’t connect with me at all, so it’s possible you’ll rank this higher if you love a good poop joke. But the brief interlude with Valencia and the teen-suicide hotline worker also hints at a more memorable version of this song, one that’s less about bathroom double entendres and more about mocking Instagram culture’s facile takes on “issues.”
Best line: “I’ve really gotta sh … ine a light on this issue!”
72. “Sex With a Stranger” (season 1, episode 4)
Given its early place in the show’s run, this dual parody of Ciara’s “Love Sex Magic” and Beyoncé’s “Partition” has more in common with Bloom’s days creating sex-tinged internet comedy videos than it does with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s vibe, and the running gag about Rebecca’s fear of getting murdered is a little tired. If we’re picking CXG songs about the challenges of casual sex, “Oh My God I Think I Like You” and “I Gave You a UTI” are clearly superior.
Best line: “Have you been tested for STDs? / And then waited for a three-month window / And got tested again / Most people don’t know about the window”
71. “Thought Bubbles” (season 2, episode 5)
All of the solo Josh songs that aren’t Rebecca fantasies are about what he’s thinking, which strikes me as an odd choice for the show’s dumbest character. This is one of the most dead-on sound-alikes the show has done; change a few lyrics, and it could easily pass muster on a Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson album. But content-wise, it’s fairly lightweight, mostly coasting on Rodriguez’s charm.
Best line: “And now the thought and I are fighting in a bar / And I can’t beat the thought ’cause he’s super swole”
70. “My Friend’s Dad” (season 3, episode 7)
Daddy issues are Rebecca Bunch’s stock-in-trade, so it’s no surprise that her blooming bromance with Paula’s pop (played by the great Eddie Pepitone) ended in a Shirley Temple–esque musical number. Unfortunately, the result doesn’t really interrogate Bob’s bad behavior, though it does poke at an interesting kernel of an idea about the appeal of other kids’ parents if you come from a difficult home.
Best line: “She has spunk / And he’s a literal drunk”
69. “Scary Scary Sexy Lady” (season 3, episode 4)
The song itself is basically a nonentity, but the video is such a dead-on parody of prestige-cable credits sequences (specifically True Detective) that it’s hard not to rank it higher just on the basis of the visuals. There are also some great callbacks for longtime fans, including Joshy Bear getting stabbed and poison being poured into a drink from Cup of Boba.
Best line: “Wearin’ high heels and a short skirt made of murder”
68. “Women Gotta Stick Together” (season 1, episode 9)
One of the CXG songwriting team’s great talents is teasing out the hidden sexism in anthems of female empowerment, but this entry from Valencia could have been a touch more subtle in the way it considers how women tear each other down. It coasts on fun reaction shots from a diverse group of actresses — including D’Arcy Carden (The Good Place’s Janet), who’s told to go pluck her eyebrows.
Best line: “We can climb every mountain / If the rope can support Hailey’s weight”
67. “The Moment Is Me” (season 3, episode 3)
Heather is arguably the show’s funniest character, but while her sarcastic worldview makes for lots of killer one-liners, it’s hard to stretch that across the premise of a whole song. Watching her fight against an array of inspirational tropes is funny at first, but eventually, this song’s inherent lack of enthusiasm carries over to the viewer as well. (With that said, shout-out to whoever cast those ridiculously peppy backup dancers, who really help sell it.)
Best line: Heather and her older self concluding by saying, “That was a living nightmare. [Pause.] You get me.”
66. “Having a Few People Over” (season 1, episode 10)
This EDM interlude isn’t much of a song, but even as the weakest of Darryl’s tunes, it’s still pretty entertaining thanks to Pete Gardner’s willingness to do anything for the joke. All hail the King of the Spread.
Best line: There’s only one spoken line in this song, so I’ll give it to the FROMAGE superimposed over Darryl’s cheese plate.
65. “Face Your Fears” (season 1, episode 3)
Paula’s “The Greatest Love of All”–esque ode to facing your fears — even if that equates to turning toward a bear, a burning building, or bees — is a one-note joke. It does, however, have Donna Lynne Champlin’s remarkable pipes and a chorus of cute kids running with scissors.
Best line: “Reach for the stars / (Literally touch the stars)”
64. “Man Nap” (season 2, episode 12)
This 60-second jab at toxic masculinity treads the same ’80s-hair-metal territory as “Textmergency/Where Is the Rock?” but it’s not nearly as musically inventive or as funny. With that said, Pete Gardner can sell just about anything, and his wig here is incredible.
Best line: “Drooly drooly dreamy smile / Nappy nap land”
63. “After Everything You Made Me Do (That You Didn’t Ask For)” (season 3, episode 2)
Rachel Bloom has proven herself to be a wildly talented singer across nearly every genre, but she’s not quite brassy enough to sell a reprise of this Paula classic from season one. Her vocal range isn’t as powerful as Donna Lynne Champlin’s, and she noticeably stumbles on a few of those tricky phrasings between horn blasts. It’s a fun song to bring back, but it doesn’t come close to matching the original.
Best line: “You pay me back with rejection, pain, and loss / I’m the one who should be up there on that cross!”
62. “So Maternal” (season 2, episode 8)
As an “Uptown Funk” parody, this song is unbeatable — Bloom does a killer Bruno Mars impression — but as a parody of the mores of modern mothering, it misses the mark. Talking about mom stuff isn’t intended to be this show’s strong suit, but if it was really going to lay into judgy supermom types, more specificity would have taken this from good to great.
Best line: “The only hard part of it is / How hard I’ll hit this / When I knock it out of the park”
61. “Maybe This Dream” (season 2, episode 2)
They weren’t kidding about “Love Kernels” eating up the production budget: This Sleeping Beauty–inspired Paula tune from the subsequent episode deserves much better than its low-rent “woodland Whitefeather office” set decoration. Donna Lynne Champlin gives it her all, but this one is ultimately too vulgar to be affecting. That bit about period cramps and dump cramps is indelible, and not in a good way.
Best line: “Maybe this dream won’t be like my wedding / The organ played ‘There Goes the Bride’ / (I came back)”
60. “Sexy French Depression” (season 1, episode 7)
The contrast of Bloom’s alluring French New Wave look and her gross behavior (“My bed smells like a tampon”) is funny, but there’s not much larger meaning here — which is especially surprising because this is the songwriting team’s only take on depression, despite Rebecca dealing with it in all three seasons. There are better songs on CXG about mental illness.
Best line: “I black out with dessert wine / Oui, je suis garbage / This grout needs to be redone”
59. “His Status Is Preferred” (season 1, episode 7)
Donna Lynne Champlin can sell pretty much anything that gets sent her way, and she’s remarkably sultry in this jazz-club number. But while it gets to some poignancy at the heart of Paula and all the things she’s resigned herself to, there aren’t really any key laugh lines here. It’s more standard economy character development than silver elite comedy.
Best line: “He’s filet mignon / Not just some piece of meat”
58. “Stuck in the Bathroom” (season 2, episode 6)
This “Trapped in the Closet” parody is definitely the better of Vella Lovell’s two solo songs, but while it does its best to mock R. Kelly’s singular style, it’s a little too short and too low-budget to get in any exceptionally good jabs.
Best line: “My second sophomore year I took a kinesiology class / That’s college for gym”
57. “Dear Joshua Felix Chan” (season 1, episode 10)
Rebecca’s sung reading of her overly dramatic teenage letter to Josh is a sweet riff on the “Dear Friend” letters in She Loves Me. The twist? While the letter is actually beautiful and poetic, Josh only sees it as a Mortified-esque reminder of Rebecca’s “overly dramatic” teen years. Since Rebecca’s letter comes into play again later in the show, I’d have liked to see this song in a reprise or in the score, but because it’s confined to this episode, it doesn’t have quite as much dramatic power.
Best line: “I feel like I could die of happiness when I’m nestled in your hairless arms”
56. “Friendtopia” (season 2, episode 6)
The premise of this Spice Girls parody — in which “girl power” extends to staging a coup, hanging Congress, and diverting all the agriculture to make rosé — is utter genius, but it’s marred by some unfortunate attempts at British accents and a lagging second half. I’ve never understood the verse about not getting into the sushi place, which has nothing to do with the rest of the song.
Best line: “Squad goals! / Take control of the banks”
55. “Heavy Boobs” (season 1, episode 16)
For unsurprising reasons, this is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s most-watched YouTube video, and Rachel Bloom and her heroic squad of braless backup dancers deserve credit for their sacrifice. But as a fellow busty woman, I’ve always been a bit disappointed with “Heavy Boobs” — it doesn’t really have the hilarious specificity of the show’s best “single-issue” songs (nothing about back pain? Or the difficulty of buying bras and clothes?), and the motormouthed explanation of the white-dwarf joke really kills the momentum.
Best line: “Stuff falls into my bra / It’s a little bit of a drag / But when I go to bed at night / It’s like opening a Mary Poppins bag”
54. “We Should Definitely Not Have Sex Right Now” (season 2, episode 1)
This is another one-joke song, but for anyone who’s ever slept with someone they shouldn’t, it nails all the levels of justification and denial. It’s also genuinely seductive: The Sade-esque smooth jazz groove is a nice change from some of the more bombastic songs in early season two.
Best line: “It’s like when robbers in movies do one last heist / So tonight will be our last sex heist / But then again, those movies always get a sequel …”
53. “What a Rush to Be a Bride” (season 2, episode 13)
Count me among the people who never expected Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to parody nu-metal, but this System of a Down–esque wedding ode is dead-on. The joke is fairly basic (“What if metal was about girly stuff?”), but it doesn’t overstay its welcome. With that said, a higher visual quotient would have been nice; it’s basically just a lens filter and some strobe lights on the set of Rebecca’s apartment.
Best line: “What quote are you going with? / LOVE IS PATIENT, LOVE IS KIND!!”
52. “Who’s the New Guy?” (season 2, episode 9)
The show’s writers knew that adding Scott Michael Foster’s Nathaniel to the cast wouldn’t be well-received, and the result is a bit of meta-comedy on par with Arrested Development’s “Save Our Bluths” episode and Rick & Morty’s occasional fourth-wall breaks. Its musical and visual choices are nothing special, but at a minute and change, it’s well-constructed, well-choreographed, and the perfect length for the joke.
Best line: “Is this some sort of desperate move to help our ratings? / You mean our terrible ratings on legalscores.com?”
51. “Cold Showers” (season 1, episode 12)
Midway through its first season, CXG got a bit too reliant on existing musicals, but Rebecca Bunch doing her best Harold Hill is still tough to resist. The only downside is that the first half is a bit visually bland — had the budget allowed for more Music Man spectacle, it would have ranked higher. (Blame West Covina for cutting their school band.)
Best line: “Gasp is right! / That’s Gasp with an uppercase G, which rhymes with P, the first letter in pool!”
50. “Maybe She’s Not Such a Heinous Bitch After All” (season 3, episode 5)
This Ronettes-esque number is fun, and I like the visual choice of interweaving the colorful Juicy-tracksuit present with the cutesy ’60s black-and-white past. But something about it comes off a little bland, like punches are being pulled (which is strange for a song in which a daughter fantasizes about her mom getting a cancerous mole). It’s not quite fully realized as a bizarro love song or a takedown, and it would have been better off choosing a side.
Best line: “I don’t wanna bash her head in with this cup / That may sound harsh / But it’s a huge step up”
49. “I Have Friends” (season 1, episode 3)
Early episodes were smart to focus on the difficulties of making friends in a new town, and this peppy little number manages to capture a lot of laugh lines and some quiet pathos between its handclaps. (The delivery of “janitor who lives in an RV behind the school” alone suggests a heartbreaking tale.) It’s pretty short, but it’s also one of the songs most commonly sprinkled into the show’s score, and for good reason — it’s absurdly catchy.
Best line: “Lady who hit your car! / Friend of friend from law school? / Grocery clerk with half an eyelid!”
48. “West Covina” (season 1, episode 1)
The show’s very first song certainly has memorability going for it; the poor citizens of real-life West Covina, Californiaaaaa, will be hearing that hook long after we’re all dead. But as the only CXG song that non-fans might have heard — the show still uses the giant pretzel in its advertising, three seasons in — its old-school Broadway, cast-of-thousands vibe is probably also responsible for turning off a lot of folks who would have enjoyed the show’s much wider musical palette, had they given it a chance.
Best line: “Do you get those things are different? / (No hablo ingles.) / ¿Entiendes que son diferentes?”
47. “You Go First” (season 2, episode 7)
Many of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s songs deal with tiny nuances of human emotion, and this tribute to the non-apology apology is one of the best. It’s also got the dynamite but underused pairing of Champlin and Bloom as a duo, and the super-’80s Heart aesthetic, down to the ever-growing mullets and billowing curtains, is a nice match for the material. It ends kind of abruptly, though — I actually think it would be better if it were a little bit longer.
Best line: “So, go ahead and say you’re kinda sorry / So I can say, ‘Oh, no, no, please’ / Just like I rehearsed”
46. “(Tell Me I’m Okay) Patrick” (season 2, episode 12)
This Sondheim-esque number is one of Rachel Bloom’s best vocal performances, though it would have been even more powerful if her big breakdown in the middle (“It just feels like everyone is in this cabal of normal people, and they’re all laughing at me, like I’m the jester in my own Truman Show”) was sung instead of spoken. With that said, the FedEx box playing the piano is one of the hardest pause-the-DVR laughs this show has ever produced.
Best line: “I’m sorry that I yelled, Patrick.”
45. “Flooded With Justice” (season 1, episode 13)
A musical parody show generally gets one shot at its Les Mis moment, and this songwriting team did not throw away theirs. (They also didn’t throw away their second, but we’ll get to that later.) The jokes in this song aren’t necessarily the greatest, but hearing them sung by a massive, marching chorus makes them much funnier. The throwaway gag about B.J. Novak’s ecstasy factory is a personal favorite.
Best line: “We’ve had enough of / Hollywood stealing our water / They’re probably using it / To make party drugs and Oscars”
44. “Rebecca’s Reprise” (season 2, episode 13)
This song can’t rank too high, given that it’s just a medley of other, better songs in the show: “You Stupid Bitch,” “The Villain in My Own Story,” and “I Love My Daughter,” specifically. But it’s worth noting the nuance of Bloom’s performance, and how perfectly it ties up with the one little thread of “We’ll Never Have Problems Again.” It’s a real tearjerker despite only being a minute long.
Best line: “In an unexpected twist / It turns out magic exists / I’ll feel it in my dress and in my veil”
43. “You Do/You Don’t Wanna Be Crazy” (season 3 theme)
The third season’s theme song hasn’t gotten quite the response that the first two did, perhaps because it’s even more ambitious. Attempting to skewer four different musical genres while also making an interesting cultural argument and incorporating a slice of the actual main character is, well, a lot to do in under a minute. Its key flaw is the show’s as well: It tries to do so much in a limited time that it can sometimes lose track of connecting with the audience.
Best line: That perfect “What?” at the end, held just long enough to show that Rebecca is watching on the toilet.
42. “The Villain in My Own Story” (season 1, episode 14)
This “ridiculously sinister” Disney-esque tune is the first time that the show played with Rebecca’s realization that maybe she’s not the star of the movie after all. It’s a bit more goofy and unrefined than “The End of the Movie,” and some of the long stretches of dialogue might have been better off sung. But it still has some great lines, especially Valencia’s “But I am just a humble yoga instructeur!”
Best line: “I’m the who in the whodunit / When I go to hell I’ll run it / As Satan’s CFO! / (Actually, I shouldn’t do that, I’m terrible with money)”
41. “Where’s the Bathroom?” (season 1, episode 8)
Tovah Feldshuh is a gift as Rebecca’s mom, Naomi, and she elevates what could be a standard “nagging Jewish mom” number to new heights with the quality of her inflections. Anyone with an overbearing parent will see themselves in Rebecca’s reactions, and though it maybe could have used a bit more visual flair, the relentless pace of Feldshuh’s performance is spectacular enough on its own.
Best line: “By the way / You’re looking healthy / And by healthy, I mean chunky / I don’t mean that as an insult / I’m just stating it as fact”
40. “I’m So Good at Yoga” (season 1, episode 2)
If you’ve ever been the inept Rebecca doing child’s pose (“But I’m an adult!”) in a yoga studio full of hypertoned Valencias, you’ll relate to this song. While it’s definitely a parody of obsessive yoginis and their inscrutable Sanskrit tattoos, it also delivers added nuance about the daily doses of insecurity women face in a culture that expects perfection, compliance, and pretending that butt stuff doesn’t hurt.
Best line: “Greet each day / Namaste / Screw you, you’re fat”
39. “Research Me Obsessively” (season 2, episode 7)
This song takes its DNA from Selena Gomez’s “Good for You,” but its topic is one that only Crazy Ex-Girlfriend could handle with such aplomb: being seduced by digitally stalking an ex’s new squeeze. Guest star Brittany Snow does a nice job nailing Gomez’s breathy, slightly vacant tone and 1,000-yard stare, though the effect would be a bit better if the middle third was sung instead of spoken.
Best line: “Check out every guy I used to date / And deduce who broke up with who / Based on the hesitation in our smiles”
38. “Santa Ana Winds” (season 2, episode 11)
This is more a loose collection of song snippets than a song, so it’s hard to rank it too highly, but externalizing the wind as a ’60s crooner (and casting Jersey Boy Michael Eric Roy in the role) is all kinds of clever. It’s insanely catchy while also delivering a fair bit of information about a natural phenomenon to a national audience that might not be familiar with it. And it has some pretty impressive pun couplets, like the one below.
Best line: “A little bit about me, I’m a hot, hot breeze / That originates from high-pressure air masses / Technically I’m known as a katabatic wind / That’s science for a pain in your asses”
37. “California Christmastime” (season 1, episode 8)
Rachel Bloom is a Southern California native, and this cheery song is chock-full of loving and hilarious observational details about Christmas in the land of eternal sunshine, from white reggae bands to eggnog fro-yo. Some of the jabs are a little excessive (the stuff about porn and gonorrhea is overkill), but it’s as sunnily infectious as its namesake.
Best line: “Carol is 50, but no judgment, she’s still finding herself / We’re all finding ourselves!”
36. “A Boy Band Made Up of Four Joshes” (season 1, episode 3)
Songs in which Josh performs Rebecca’s fantasies tend to be my preference over songs about his own mental state, and this hilarious Backstreet Boys parody (with note-perfect choreography) is particularly captivating as it’s the first glimpse of the show’s take on mental-health issues. Lots of shows might mention seeing a shrink, but I can’t think of another that calls out cognitive-behavioral therapy as the sexy pitch of an all-mental-health-professional boy band.
Best line: “Baby, you can kiss all your unexplained symptoms good-bye / You’re never gonna miss all those nightmares in which you tend to die”
35. “Remember That We Suffered” (season 2, episode 10)
The theater-geek-heaven combo Patti LuPone and Tovah Feldshuh is reason enough to rank this tune highly, but it also digs deep into the roots of Jewish guilt, establishing it as a key undertone of why Rebecca thinks she doesn’t deserve to be happy. The main problem is that it could stand to be a bit longer; the episode as a whole gets a lot deeper with these issues than the song does.
Best line: “The sweet and the bitter / Streisand and Hitler!”
34. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (season 1 theme)
When Crazy Ex-Girlfriend launched, its creators were surely aware that it was a tough sell. So this ultracatchy summary of the pilot is all about catching up latecomers on the basics, which it does with aplomb. Though it doesn’t try as hard to get across an underlying point as the later theme songs, it still has some barbs hinting that this is no pat fish-out-of-water sitcom about a crazy woman. (“That’s a sexist term!”)
Best line: “The situation’s a lot more nuanced than that!”
33. “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” (season 1, episode 1)
The pilot’s juxtaposition of a steamy getting-hot tune and the gross reality of female primping was the first moment that completely won over viewers, and it’ll remain a lasting entry in the feminist humor canon. But it feels more like one of Bloom’s pre-show viral videos than something connected to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s world and characters, and the song can’t stand on its own without the hilarious visuals. It’s impressive for a first outing, but not top-tier material.
Best line: “I am forever changed by what I’ve seen today. I need to go apologize to some bitches”
32. “I’ve Got My Head in the Clouds” (season 3, episode 2)
It’s a shame that Vincent Rodriguez was deputized to do contemporary solo songs for two whole seasons, because his immense personal charm and superlative dancing skills are better suited to this old-school Gene Kelly–esque bit. The songwriting performs an equally delicate soft shoe, mocking people who use religion as a crutch to defer dealing with problems they’ve created without actually mocking religion itself.
Best line: “I’m Turin off my shroud!”
31. “The First Penis I Saw” (season 3, episode 7)
Paula’s ABBA-esque ode to her first love JEFF! (and his family of products) deserves points for its rhyme schemes alone, which manage to match penis with everything from ingenious to keenest. But it’s Donna Lynne Champlin’s delivery that takes it from good to great: her expressions, dance moves, and hilarious exhortation to “hide the turntable!” add an earnest appeal to what could otherwise be a standard bit of raunch. (Also, that “Suggestive Vegetables 50% Off” sign gave me one of my biggest laughs of the season.)
Best line: “A few times before, I felt it through his pants / And just generally kinda rubbed it / But that night I decided to take a chance / I took it out and he really seemed to love it”
30. “Dream Ghosts” (season 1, episode 15)
This song has a lot going on: It’s an (excellent) parody of Dreamgirls, and also one of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s very favorite things, a takedown of a storytelling cliché. But what makes it extra-great is its sneaky commentary on how much society devalues women who do care work, and how thankless and underpaid that work can be. The little visual touches, like the mic dropping from the air-mask box on the plane, are pretty great, too.
Best line: “We wish our union health plan had dental / We pay out of pocket for cleanings”
29. “Love Kernels” (season 2, episode 1)
The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend take on Lemonade is far and away the most visually impressive and expensive sequence the show has ever done, with fabulous costumes (that “sexy fashion cactus” ensemble is out of this world) and imagery (the popcorn rain!). It’s also quite funny. But as an emotional statement about mismatched relationships, the song itself isn’t up to the level of the visuals. As funny as the show’s commitment to transparency (and Broom Darryl) is, it’s a little sad to puncture this beautiful illusion by breaking the fourth wall to talk about how much it cost.
Best line: “I’ll be patient / Until the kernels rain down like candy on Shaquille O’Neal in the movie Kazaam”
28. “I’m a Good Person” (season 1, episode 5)
While I’m consistently impressed by the quips Bloom, Dolgen, and Schlesinger can pull off while keeping their songs appropriate for network TV, this song is a rare exception. I didn’t think much of it when it aired live on the CW, but the explicit YouTube version (as seen above) is much, much funnier. It’s also one of the great Bloom performances; the set is just Home Base, but she’s so funny and kinetic that she outshines the lack of budget.
Best line: “Newsflash, fuckwads, I’m a good person!”
27. “Textmergency/Where Is the Rock?” (season 1, episode 11)
I’m counting these as a pair, both because “Where Is the Rock?” isn’t much of a song on its own and because Briga Heelan and Jeff Hiller are so delightful as the dueling ’80s hair-metal singers fighting over what to coin a texting emergency and/or catastrophe. (I get the sense that this may have been an actual debate in the songwriting bullpen, and building it into the song itself is genius.) You know a show is smart when it expands from describing the societal phenomenon of sending an unintentional text to taking dead aim at the companies responsible, complete with the ghost of Steve Jobs cackling about how “technology is alienating everyone from their loved ones!”
Best line: “Get out of here, Steve Jobs!”
26. “Oh My God I Think I Like You” (season 1, episode 17)
This love song is vintage Rachel Bloom: very sweet and very raunchy, and super-specific on both angles — from getting banged over the kitchen sink to getting married “on a hillside, surrounded by ducks … and then we get in a rowboat …” It also deserves major points for getting its point across while still conforming to network standards and practices — it comes off as a lot dirtier than it actually is.
Best line: “It’s D-Day in my lady parts”
25. “I Go to the Zoo” (season 3, episode 3)
“Was this song a Lonely Island parody?” a friend texted me after it aired. I’m pretty sure that it’s actually a riff on “Hotline Bling,” but the fact that it could easily be classified alongside Andy Samberg’s sad-player anthems is inherently high praise. As with “Let’s Have Intercourse,” Scott Michael Foster has an agility with the material that imparts some real pathos to a song that’s otherwise unrepentantly silly. But mainly, “I Go to the Zoo” is just stupid catchy: I had to “go to a zoo in San Diego” for a wedding in November, and could not stop singing it all day.
Best line: ”My favorite’s the cheetahs / But I ain’t fuckin’ with no zebras”
24. “Strip Away My Conscience” (season 3, episode 2)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has a lot of songs about sex, and quite a few with Rebecca in revealing ensembles, but this Bob Fosse number is the only one that feels genuinely erotic from start to finish, even as it rips jokes about Harry Potter and the discomfort of thongs. Fans of the Nathaniel-Rebecca romantic pairing had to wait a long time to see them finally sleep together, and this sultry tune does a nice job of turning up the heat without compromising the laughs.
Best line: “So tell me about your sins / And shock me with their luridness / Let me be your pupil / Let me choke on your cocksuredness / (Innuendo!)”
23. “You’re My Best Friend (And I Know I’m Not Yours)” (season 2, episode 11)
This song is as simple as it gets: Pete Gardner, Darryl’s standard office set, and a ukulele. Yet it’s one of the most charming and sad little tunes the show has put out, proof that its songwriting stands out even when all of the trappings are stripped away. It’s sweet and vulnerable and very, very relatable — you could see an 8-year-old or an 80-year-old singing it — and if you don’t want Darryl to be your best friend at the end of it, there’s a smoking crater where your heart should be.
Best line: “That’s why I love you like a sister / And you love me like a second cousin”
22. “I Give Good Parent” (season 1, episode 6)
Written with Epic Rap Battles of History’s Zach Sherwin, “I Give Good Parent” is the lesser of the show’s two raps, which is to say that it is still very, very good. Like “I’m a Good Person,” the juxtaposition of sweet and dark is best enjoyed in the explicit version — if only because one of the all-time best CXG lyrics was too hot for network TV. (It’s listed below, of course.) But even the censored version is a killer satire of the near-pathological way in which well-raised kids are encouraged to ingratiate themselves with other kids’ parents. And after decades of yeoman work playing maids and moms, Amy Hill’s joy at getting to sing a hip-hop hook in a fur, chains, and grills is palpable.
Best line: “Like my pussy, you two have wonderful taste!”
21. “What’ll It Be?” (season 1, episode 6)
This poignant counterpart to “West Covina” is one of the most pure songs the show’s ever done — even with its little jokes and asides, it could easily fit as an “I want/I wish” song in a straight-faced Broadway show. It’s peppered with little details that indicate the writers thought hard about what being down and out in the Inland Empire might actually feel like, from endless “chain stores and outlets and banks” to “sunburned MILF” barflies sucking up vodka-crans. If you felt good for Greg when he finally broke out of his stifling hometown, it’s because of the thoughtful groundwork this song laid a whole season before.
Best line: “I’ve never played piano before! (Hmmm, not bad!)”
20. “Put Yourself First” (season 1, episode 10)
Bloom already took a buzzsaw to female-empowerment anthems in her pre-CXG song “We Don’t Need a Man,” but this Pussycat Dolls parody is an even more impressive refinement of those themes, all in under 90 seconds. It thoroughly fillets the conflicting advice that bombards single women: Worry about yourself, but also do everything in your power to make yourself sexy so men notice, but not so they actually see you’re trying. Also, how can you not love a song that invents the trend of fake eyelids? That literally renders the male gaze as Terry Richardson? Or that has a line like the one below?
Best line: “So when a dude sees you put yourself first / He’ll be like, ‘Damn, you’re hot! Let’s buy a house in Portland!’”
19. “I Could If I Wanted To” (season 1, episode 16)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s fan base tilts heavily female. But of the handful of men I know who watch it, several have mentioned to me that Greg’s alt-rock tune is their favorite song. With a crunchy sound inspired by Schlesinger’s years in Fountains of Wayne, it’s a delightfully angsty Gen-X moment in an otherwise aggressively Gen-Y show. It’s also a masterclass in performance from Santino Fontana: The entire two-plus minutes are a single tracking shot with one take and quite a few extras, and he nails every nuance and interaction.
Best line: “This song sucks! / I could make it good if I wanted to”
18. “The Math of Love Triangles” (season 2, episode 3)
Of the more than 100 comedy videos Bloom has done, this is the one pinned to the top of her YouTube page, and for good reason. It scores high marks on every level, from production to choreography to performance, and its geometry double entendres and puns are as well-drawn as a perfect right angle. But while the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes parody is perfection, something about “Math” feels a little hollow: It doesn’t have much to say about Rebecca’s character, aside from the obvious fact that she’s delusional. It’s gorgeous and funny, but not a song that you return to for its emotional content.
Best line: “We’re tired of all your tangents / That’s also a triangle pun”
17. “A Diagnosis” (season 3, episode 6)
Making Rebecca’s life seem hopeful after her suicide attempt was a challenging task, but CXG once again proved itself equal to its ambitions with this bright yet honest tune. It taps into the very real hope and sense of fellowship that a good diagnosis provides, while also gently skewering the assumption that there’s an easy fix to any kind of mental-health issue. It may be less resonant for those who haven’t gone through this particular wringer, but it will be very personally meaningful to those who have.
Best line: “What could be right? / Schizophrenic or bipolar-lite? / I’ve never heard voices but maybe it’s time to start / (You’re super cool, Rebecca!) / Thanks!”
16. “I Love My Daughter (But Not in a Creepy Way)” (season 1, episode 5)
Comedians love to parody the trucks ‘n’ tractors strain of country music, but rarely take aim at an equally common variety: the “inspirational,” Christianity-tinged tunes that are meant to codify rigid gender roles, the worst of which are the daddy-daughter variety. (“Butterfly Kisses” and its ilk are really just the softer side of those crappy T-shirts listing the firearms that fathers are prepared to wield against potential suitors.) This song accomplishes a tricky task of ripping into purity-pledge notions of fatherhood while simultaneously egging on the Darryls of the world — a.k.a. normal guys who just love their daughters a lot — to feel comfortable expressing that.
Best line: “One day she’ll fall in love and I’ll give her away / Not that I ever had her / What a weird thing to say”
15. “Settle for Me” (season 1, episode 4)
For anyone who wasn’t already onboard with Santino Fontana by this point in the show, it’d be hard to not root for him after this all-out charm offensive. Taking a page from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, it’s beautifully choreographed and graciously paced, but with a surprising amount of underlying sexual tension — the perfect setup for a love triangle. It’s the song that launched a thousand ships. (The Tumblr kind, that is.)
Best line: “If he’s a broken condom / I’m Plan B!”
14. “The Buzzing From the Bathroom” (season 3, episode 2)
One of the great things about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is that, given the right circumstances, anyone can have their number — even Tim, one of the many background players at Whitefeather & Associates. This tragicomic aria about having never given his wife an orgasm is brilliantly sung by Michael McMillian, who plays it just straight-faced enough to offer a real gut punch, despite crooning hilarious lines like “Oh, the buzzing! Curséd buzzing!” at a vibrator. It’s so good that you can forgive the writers for going back to the Les Mis well.
Best line: “Yet I’m haunted by the buzzing from the bathroom / Like tinnitus of the loins”
13. “I Gave You a UTI” (season 1, episode 17)
CXG’s honesty about female bodily functions is a refreshing change of pace, with yeast infections and period cramps getting discussed on TV with the same nonchalance that penises do. It also gives the show a chance to plant its flag in completely new territory — I’m pretty sure this is the only song about UTIs that’s ever been made, and it’s an added treat that it’s sung with such charm by Santino Fontana. As if that weren’t enough, it’s also a subtle dig at how some men self-aggrandize everything they do in bed, even when they’re causing women pain.
Best line: “If it hurts to take a leak / Well, that’s just part of my technique!”
12. “Let’s Have Intercourse” (season 2, episode 11)
It’s understandable if you were initially tepid on Scott Michael Foster joining the show (see “Who’s the New Guy?” for why), but it was hard not to be won over at the end of this Ed Sheeran–esque number, which clearly showcases how he has the comic and musical-theater chops to roll with the CXG crew. (That thrown-off acoustic guitar and the intonation of “Mah busy life” both get me every time.) It’s also the show’s best work of choreography, and a real testament to all the work Bloom undertook between seasons to improve her dancing skills.
Best line: “I won’t be back to normal till I see what your nipples look like / They’re probably straightforward nipples”
11. “After Everything I’ve Done for You (That You Didn’t Ask For)” (season 1, episode 17)
Donna Lynne Champlin is the show’s best individual singer, and though she doesn’t always get material equal to her talents, when she does, it’s magical. This take on “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy reveals a number of then-surprising aspects of Paula’s character: She’s been pulling endless strings behind the scenes that not even Rebecca knows about; she has some weird boundaries with considering Rebecca to be her daughter; and she might ultimately be more invested in Rebecca getting with Josh than Rebecca is. It’s the song every rom-com sidekick wishes they could deliver, and Champlin lands every intonation and nuance. Her delivery is so interesting to watch, you almost don’t want to see Rachel Bloom’s reaction shots.
Best line: “You think love is spotless and pure / But beneath all the fantasy / There’s filth and there’s gore”
10. “We Tapped That Ass” (season 2, episode 4)
One of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s great gifts is depicting the way that women talk to themselves, up to and including slut-shaming themselves. Some people have told me they think this fantasy Greg-and-Josh tap number (a riff on Singin’ in the Rain’s “Moses Supposes”) is too mean, but that’s precisely the point: Rebecca sees her relationships as crushing tragedies that befall her, instead of choices that she makes. But it’s rare for this level of haunted self-loathing to turn into such an infectiously joyful tune, the apotheosis of the songwriting team’s double-entendre capabilities, and a damn fine dance number as well. It’s funny and heartbreaking, an entirely new take on the post-breakup doldrums.
Best line: “On the table, you were willing and able / On the ottoman you took a lotta man / And on the safe in the closet, I made a deposit”
9. “The End of the Movie” (season 3, episode 4)
How do you put a nervous breakdown into song? If you’re Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, you do the thing you love the most: by ripping apart storytelling tropes, or in this case, straight-up tearing into the concept of narrative. That sounds pretty comp-lit seminar for a comedy song, but “The End of the Movie” offers a compelling argument to pop-culture nerds: Seeing your life in the context of a narratively coherent story not only isn’t healthy, it misses the real joys and difficulties of how life is lived. The fact that this piece of wisdom comes from Josh Groban, of all people, is just icing on the cake. It’s one of the wisest songs you’ll ever hear that also contains the lines “It’s pretty messed up / That you banged your ex-boyfriend’s dad.”
Best line: “It’s not some carefully crafted story / It’s a mess and we’re all gonna die”
8. “Let’s Generalize About Men” (season 3, episode 1)
Bloom, Dolgen, and Schlesinger may not have intended to write the theme song of the #MeToo era, but this faux–Pointer Sisters number has gone viral for good reason: It’s a right hook aimed at both MRAs who generalize about women and feminists who make blanket statements about men. It doesn’t let men off the hook for what they do to women, but it also doesn’t spare women for some of our less sensible or charitable conclusions on the subject (especially the tendency to let gay men slide, or infantilize them). It also just sounds like a hit: Were it not for the lyrical content, I could easily buy this as a classic ’80s tune.
Best line: Tough, but I have to go with the hilarious ending: “Your sons are gonna be rapists!”
7. “It Was a Shit Show” (season 2, episode 4)
Santino Fontana’s decision to leave the show was a blow to Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna’s carefully crafted plan, but you’d never know it after watching him deliver his final number, which perfectly threads the needle between a romantic farewell and a screw-you kiss-off. All the arguments in favor of Greg and Rebecca’s relationship are captured here — the sexual tension, the humor, the sweetness — but it carefully navigates viewers into realizing Greg is right, and it’s time for him to go. The only downside is that standards and practices didn’t allow the songwriters a third use of “shit show,” so the song ends on a weird fill-it-in-yourself blank note. Still, it’ll remain deeply relatable for anyone saying good-bye to a relationship that’s more “Jerry Springer than Casablanca.”
Best line: “But after sex / What happens next? / I mean, in the long run, not just fatigue and hunger”
6. “I’m Just a Girl in Love” (season 2 theme)
Unquestionably the best of the show’s theme songs, this Busby Berkeley number is endlessly rewatchable, with such an on-point Bloom performance that it seems like she’s been possessed by a ’30s screwball comedy heroine. That held-two-seconds-too-long “BLAM!” says more about Rebecca than some entire songs do.
Best line: “I have no underlying issues to address / I’m certifiably cute and adorably obsessed”
5. “Ping Pong Girl” (season 2, episode 2)
Its tune is simple, but this pop-punk parody is fascinatingly complex. On the one hand, we know that Rebecca’s delusions of being loved as an amazingly aloof, sexy but non-threatening, hot-but-doesn’t-know-it ping-pong whiz are just that. On the other, these are the myths that men sell about what leads to marriage and a shared Costco card, so how is she to know any better? The lyrics are witty, Rodriguez’s Blink 182–esque vocals and inflections are pitch-perfect, and Bloom’s reaction shots are hilarious. It gets even better the more you watch it.
Best line: “She’s so hot but she doesn’t know it / She probably just found that outfit lying around / (Like, in the trash!)”
4. “Gettin’ Bi” (season 1, episode 14)
Having a bisexual character on your show is amazing; having a bisexual character who’s a man, a parent, and coming out in midlife is laudable; writing a hilarious, catchy song that busts every myth of bi erasure in under two minutes is an out-and-out achievement. Everything about this song is perfect: the lively Huey Lewis/Robert Palmer vibe, Pete Gardner’s infectious performance, and the fun sax nod to Springsteen (“Big man!”). It’s a song that makes coming out sound uncomplicated and fun, a welcome party in a box for a new chapter of life.
Best line: “It’s not a phase / I’m not confused / Or indecisive / I don’t have the gotta-choose blues”
3. “JAP Battle” (season 1, episode 13)
“JAP Battle,” also written with Epic Rap Battles of History’s Zach Sherwin, is pound-for-pound the funniest song the show has ever done, a pitch-perfect satire of upper-middle-class Jewish mores. Bloom and Rachel Grate (as Rebecca’s lifelong nemesis and fellow ACLU member Audra Levine) display impressive flow, the burns in the censored version are every bit as good as in the explicit one, and it’s the rare white-person rap that takes a few jabs at white privilege. Even if I hadn’t watched it so many times that I have the whole thing memorized, I might still have to put it in the top three just for Pete Gardner’s background reactions.
Best line: Impossible to choose, but “I put the O.G. in 5.0 GPA” is up there. Or maybe “I’m street smart / What, ’cause you minored in urban planning?”
2. “We’ll Never Have Problems Again” (season 2, episode 10)
They say love makes you crazy, and this song takes dead aim at the layers and layers of denial that allow a new relationship to bloom. Every element of this Soul Train tribute is beautifully crafted: the set and costumes, Bloom and Rodriguez’s line deliveries, the references to real psychological research about attraction, and of course, Heather dropping in to bust the Rebecca-Josh love bubble with a few perfectly timed quips. (There’s even a brilliantly timed reference to the season-one theme song.) Plus, it has the funniest ending of any Crazy Ex-Girlfriend song: that misbegotten “fade out” is hilarious every time.
Best line: “We’ll never worry about paying the bills / The only money we need is sunset / If we feel like we’ve run out of thrills / Hey, look, another sunset!”
1. “You Stupid Bitch” (season 1, episode 11)
I gasped with recognition the first time I heard this song, and even now, its ability to channel the simultaneous pain and tediousness of self-loathing is truly breathtaking. It’s astute about all of the topics that this show does best — the desire to be loved, the emptiness of mental illness, the uselessness of trying to fit life into a comfortable narrative — but it has its own haunting power thanks to Bloom’s magnetic, ripping-open-the-wound performance. Even if you’ve never heard this song before, you might feel as if you somehow already know the words, and yet, it somehow manages to get just enough distance from its palpable heartache to allow you to laugh at it, too. It’s a deeply human masterpiece.
Best line: “I deserve this!”
*Due to an editing error, a previous version of this list misidentified the status of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The CW has not yet announced if the show will return for a fourth season.