Once a viewer reaches a certain benchmark of familiarity, a sitcom starts to have a pleasantly narcotizing effect. On the zillionth rewatch of a Bob’s Burgers, for example, it can be comforting to settle in for the expected punch lines and premises, or just to hang out with a family we feel like we know as well as our own. In other words, even the most devoted viewers can start to take their favorite TV programs for granted and lose sight of the herculean amount of effort that goes into a long-running series.
While Bob’s Burgers began as a spiritual descendant of The Simpsons, it has evolved into its own magnificent creature over the past decade, its 183 (and counting!) episodes a feat of longevity unto itself. More impressive still is the vast backlog of original songs penned for the series, largely the work of series creator Loren Bouchard, composer John Dylan Keith, and musical duo the Elegant Too. The sheer volume of output is no less staggering than the breadth of their style; over the course of 150-plus tracks, they cover everything from show tunes to shoegaze to reggae to surf rock, the best of them capable of standing independent of the show as music to listen to in everyday life. When a parody of a garage-rock song is so detailed in conception and skillful in execution, it simply turns back into regular music.
While the Bob’s writers have sounded off in the past about their proudest handiwork, it’s been a few years, and a more thorough and comprehensive assessment is needed. Vulture has collected every last scrap of music (with the exception of some sonic doodles lasting no more than a few seconds) and ranked the lot of it in ascending order, to settle once and for all the title of the recording team’s magnum opus. From the queer Christmas bangers to PG-rated punk, from curiously faithful Doobie Brothers emulation to a musical-theater fusion of ’80s movie hits, here’s the full playlist, from filler to killer.
180. “Pirates of Panache”
First is the worst, as it would seem; the show’s earliest tentative stab at original music was a Gilbert and Sullivan takeoff perhaps deliberate in its air of half-baked-ness. It’s supposed to be second-rate dinner theater, so in that case, mission accomplished. But Penzance this ain’t.
Gene’s always finding music in the everyday, integrating commonplace objects into his art like a fellow Gene of the Kelly variety as he starts his day in An American in Paris. Gene (Belcher, that is) finds that smacking the oars of his kayak against the water makes a pleasing hollow slap, and immediately sets about drumming out a clattering beat. More so than any other, this clip toes the line between music and cacophonous noise.
178. “Two Butted Goat”
The two-butted goat in Bob’s Burgers represents the possibility of mystery in the world, the idea that life can only be limited by one’s imagination. Unfortunately, the song “Two-Butted Goat” features the series at its least imaginative. The braying, repetitive lyrics bring the worst out of Gene and Zeke, even as they’re enjoying each other’s friendship.
177. “Milkin’ the Cow”
Bob’s Burgers usually walks the fine line between “catchy” and “annoying” with their original songs, but “Milkin’ the Cow” falls into the latter with gusto. The song’s lightweight substance eventually devolves into animal noises and noisy scatting, which tends to be the default move when there’s a flimsy central idea.
176. “Shimmy Tap”
Linda teaches Tina how to give an effective book-report presentation when you haven’t read the book, which mostly amounts to performing a song-and-dance show as a razzle-dazzle distraction. “Shimmy Tap” is purposefully insubstantial, designed to have something to sing while tap dancing away an education. It’s not A-level work, but it deserves a healthy B-.
Linda’s Mother’s Day–themed tribute to moms is undoubtedly sweet, but a little too simplistic for it to reach the heights of Bob’s Burgers’ other mother-related songs. Mommies might be the best, but shouting “Moms!” over and over again can quickly wear out one’s patience.
174. “Winthorpe Manor Theme”
Bob and Linda get into a parody of Downton Abbey one week, and sing along to the opening title music in the car by repeating the name of the show as lyrics. Their singing grows showier and more exaggerated, until they transition into a hip-hop breakdown complete with borderline serviceable beatboxing and freestyle rapping. Most likely a step up from the genuine article.
When the kids lose Bob’s anniversary ring in a water park, Nat the Limo Driver hires the Puff Divers, an all-female scuba and cannabis enthusiast group, to help them find it. Unfortunately, the fast-paced search-and-rescue song has little to say beyond “gotta get that ring,” but it might be effective pump-up music for anyone who’s hunting for a small item in a large place.
172. “Weasel, Weasel”
Andy Daly’s chipper turn as Ranger Carl includes him leading a school group in Outdoor Education’s famous “weasel” song. Apparently there’s a weasel knocking on someone’s hole and the song basically writes itself from there. Though it’s nice when the electric guitar and the background singer briefly come in for the second verse, it’s just a tad too repetitive by design.
171. “Wood Chucks Makin’ Bucks”
The first of two montage songs in “Tweentrepreneurs,” the up-tempo pop track about the pet-rock-style creation of Wagstaff School’s small-business club soundtracks the good times for the tween start-up. Much like the song, it doesn’t last very long.
170. “His Name Is Lenny”
Gene’s birthday tribute to Lenny DeStefano, Wagstaff’s coolest sixth-grade student, has all the lyrical makings of a party anthem — swallowing pennies, not being named Jenny, things of that nature. All he needed was the high-pitched warble of Darryl (Aziz Ansari) to elevate the writing, but possibly at the expense of Gene’s place in the Itty Bitty Ditty Committee.
169. “Lipstick on His Pickup”
In an extensive country-western fantasy sequence, Linda’s sister Gayle (voice of Megan Mullally) whimpers a few bars while sweeping up and trips backward into a life onstage. A break can come from anywhere, and in the annals of entertainment lore, nothing’s quite so classic as the lowly service girl hitting the big time after a bigwig notices her talent from under its bushel.
168. “Da Ding Ding”
Hopeful musical superstar Gene’s first big public gig comes at Jimmy Pesto’s restaurant, where the fledgling triangle virtuoso debuts his calling-card single … which is really him just tapping said triangle while verbalizing the rhythm of his playing. It’s not the most auspicious start, but greater acts have risen from such humble beginnings.
167. “Fart Stools (For the Gifted)”
Flatulence humor requires a delicate balance between harmlessly juvenile and scatological for its own sake. “Fart Stools (For the Gifted),” being a song comprised entirely of fart noises, unfortunately falls ass first into the latter category.
166. “Mom-bo / I Sure Would Like to Have Someone Like a Mom”
After Bob flubs the recording of the kids’ talent show for the absent Linda, Gene cooks up an improvement on what actually happened when getting his mother up to speed. He comes up with an adventure play featuring a mythical land without moms, a tragedy articulated in this pair of brief conversational songs spelling out everything wonderful about the materfamilias. Gene’s always been a mama’s boy, after all.
165. “Water Park”
Bob’s Burgers’ tribute to water parks hits all the major attributes: fun rides, lounging (either in the sun until you turn into a leather couch mom, or in the water until your bones dissolve), and many wet butts. Sweet and simple, with plenty of “Ooh’s” to go around, “Water Park” finds joy in public pools, even if it’s also where expensive anniversary rings get lost forever.
Perhaps in the spirit of this song about putting in the minimum acceptable amount of effort to complete a given task, the production and lyricism both sound like they could’ve been whipped up in about fifteen minutes’ time. Everyone’s entitled to phone it in every now and then, and the part-time slackers need their day just like anyone else.
163. “Dad-chelor Party”
Bob’s belated bachelor party, a “dad-chelor” party if you will, proceeds as expected: interrupted speeches, Teddy doing shots of apple juice, and dance-kicking the stereo. At least it produced a fun, if slight, dance track, complete with techno vocals, ready for anyone to boogie off a sugar high.
162. “Puppet Battle”
For another dance number, “Puppet Battle” is a bit flimsy, much like the song’s corresponding episode, which follows Louise’s troubles at a marionette theater. There’s too much going on musically — that fast-sung chorus, a zippy disco beat, Vocoder-processed vocals clashing against soul-style crooning — and not much substance to support it.
161. “Wharf of Wonder”
John Roberts does his best Shirley Bassey for this prima donna belter, making the most out of the slides up into the wheelhouse of his range. He stretches the words wonder wharf up an entire octave at a time with Goldfingerian elasticity, nary the slightest waver or crack. It’s an impressive vocal performance twice over.
160. “Witchy Witchy”
While Tina spends her Halloween trying to become a witch, Mr. Fischoeder assumes his turn as a fun devil, stealing all the pumpkins in the neighborhood for his very own Jack-O-Land, a pretty, spooky outdoor extravaganza. “Witchy Witchy” scores his nightly thieving with hard-rock riffs and metal vocals. Fischoeder may be a pumpkin snatcher, but he does it for the good of the community … and a decent profit to boot.
159. “Hot Ham and Cheese Day”
A funk number that ties the prospect of a hot ham-and-cheese sandwich from the cafeteria with the burning passions of preteen love, “Hot Ham and Cheese Day” celebrates Gene and Courtney’s fleeting romance that ends, like many relationships, because Courtney wants them to focus on their careers, i.e., reading the morning announcements. “It’s Valentine’s Day” captures the melancholy, but “Hot Ham and Cheese Day” remembers the fun.
158. “Sea Shanty Song”
The geography of Bob’s Burgers has always been left vague, but they seem to be somewhere along the Eastern Seaboard. (Obsessives have used context clues and logical deduction to triangulate the position in New Jersey.) A couple centuries ago, crusty seamen would’ve been regularly circulating in and out of the port, bellowing chanteys to make the day’s work go by faster or liven up a night’s drinking. Just one round will put hair on a young man’s chest.
An early Bob’s Burgers track, “Dreamatorium” is the impromptu musical number that a robber sings after busting into the restaurant during Linda’s hamburger dinner theater. It turns out that the guy not only wanted to steal everything in the register, but the audience’s hearts as well.
156. “It’s Halloween!”
It ain’t “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah,” but as novelty Halloween party songs go, this one cuts the spooky mustard. In a minor key suggesting haunted houses and cobwebs, Linda sings about being a fun mom and looking young while trick-or-treating with her children (the eldest of which just so happens to have dressed as a doddering zombie mom by wearing Linda’s clothes). She may be aging, but she doesn’t want to feel like one of the undead just yet.
155. “Love Mission”
Blame it on Hallmark, but Valentine’s Day makes people go to great lengths to communicate the strength of their love to their partners. Bob spends all day trying to track down Dr. Love’s Love Testometer, even though he was on a date with another girl when they played with the corny bar paraphernalia. Nevertheless, his “love mission,” as the song croons, is a success when Linda is bowled over by his effort.
154. “The Sheriff Had a Piggy”
In a fantasy sequence dressing up Gene and Linda as a country-western duo, this is their signature song used to reel in interested talent agents. The gag ends up being that Linda’s a pitchy singer in this universe, but fame only comes a-knockin’ for her, and she leaves Gene behind the first chance she gets. Nasty game, showbiz.
153. “I’m Falling for Helen”
A generous sweetheart for the ages, Teddy nurses a crush on the widow Helen while tending to her beach house. Though she may or may not have killed her husband for the life-insurance money, Teddy only sees the “sure-footed, strong-armed, wild-eyed” woman in the most perfect light. Bob’s Burgers commemorates such passion with a tuba-backed waltz number that Teddy would almost certainly perform with gusto in front of the largest crowd imaginable.
152. “It’s Not Magic, It’s Tragic”
A blast of Buddy Rich–style drum-set pummeling calls in a whole big-band party, complete with wailing trumpeters, a blazing-hot pianist, and a whole chorus of dancehall singers to provide shoop-shoops. Pour a glass of hooch and enjoy the noise of the speakeasies of decades past; if only they’d paired this song with the actual speakeasy episode, instead of the magic-themed episode. Congruity is the only field in which it’s lacking, however.
151. “Snowballs and Sledding”
“Santa, cover your delicate eyes!” warns this refreshingly gnarly take on Christmas music, which applies crunched-up garage-rock guitar to the holly-jolliest time of the year. For the kids, Christmas means only two things — sledding and snowballs — and the ad nauseam repetition in the chorus really drives that much home. Simple kids, of simple tastes.
150. “No No Kissing”
This brief preview of the Hormone-iums’ mononucleosis propaganda musical lands Tina persona non grata among her classmates, who believe that she’s against kissing instead of being forced to sing Mr. Frond’s germaphobic lies. Tina eventually proves to everyone that they don’t need to stop kissing to avoid mono … by swearing to kiss everyone in the front row of the auditorium. (Cue Zeke’s “Do what?”)
149. “Best Couple Friends”
A lot of couples crave the company of other couples, but it’s difficult to make new friends even under the kindest of circumstances. “Best Couple Friends” captures the overeager feeling of possibly meeting with a couple that you click with, people with whom you could see operating a handcar together. It’s for anyone who has always wanted to meet the tonic to their gin.
148. “You Got Beefsquatched”
The tremulous violin note maintained through this nugget of a blaxploitation throwback (ignore all the talk about beef, close your eyes, and picture Sweet Sweetback running around L.A.) contrasts a stillness with the kineticism of the finger-workout bass line. Except that the figure in question is just Gene wearing a Bigfoot mask and his burger costume, about one percent of one percent of Youngblood Priest and his ilk’s coolness quotient.
147. “Slumber Party Fashion Show”
Louise’s idea of fun is picking locks, breaking bottles, general hoodlum behavior. It’s certainly not a Linda-conceived slumber party, especially one that includes an impromptu fashion show. Bob’s Burgers comes up with a fun number for the dreaded event anyway, perfect for a runway walk or even a groovy pillow fight.
146. “Jiggle Song”
Tina, Gene, and Louise spend most of their days finding ways to amuse themselves, such as poking their father’s love handles to delight in his instinctive yelp of response. It is annoying, he wants them to stop, they will not — such is the way of the world when you’re raising kids. This song connects to the content of the episode only insofar as the word jiggle gets repeated to percussive effect, as bouncy as the spare cellulite hugging Bob’s waistline. Not the most flattering paean to his silhouette, but flattery was never what Poke Dad’s Flab was about.
145. “Ga Ga”
Ga Ga Ball is the new fad sweeping Wagstaff, a game invented by guidance counselor Mr. Frond in which players slap a bouncing ball in an attempt to hit each other’s legs — last one standing wins. This song detailing the thrills of a close game of Ga Ga doesn’t quite crystallize all the ecstasy of victory and agony of defeat, but it’s still fit to be aired over the loudspeakers during pro play.
144. “I’m With the PTA”
PTA member Linda joins the organization’s president in collecting the spoils of a donation drive, and as she starts to get a taste for the ethically dubious perks of the position, a lustrous pop groove (I’d clock it as late ’80s/early ’90s) externalizes the internal power trip she’s on. It might just be a few bottles of free wine, but graft comes with a rush, no matter the scale.
Every fraternity prank war needs a soundtrack, even if it’s repetitive and jolly. When the Betas threaten to take down the Alpha House after Dr. Yap tricked them into thinking they stole Beta, Bob joins in on the fun, because he enjoys being a part of a brotherhood.
142. “Bruce the Goose”
Feeling neglected by Jimmy Jr., Tina finds male attention in the most unexpected of places — with a goose, with whom she starts seriously vibing. This prime specimen of ladies’-man waterfowl needs a walk-up tune befitting his seductive powers, and with this disco-floor-filler, he can have the masculine magnetism of a Saturday Night Fever–era John Travolta. (Most geese can scarcely muster Hairspray Travolta.)
141. “I Hate Sleepovers”
It’s a treacherous proposition for a child, having their first night away from the secure bosom of home and the parents that tuck them in every night. But that’s precisely what Gene must do in this episode, and the end-credits song tells the story of how things go from the worse-case scenario (eating another family’s weird food, having to help with the dishes, toothpaste that tastes wrong) to a pretty all right time. He survives; the song meanders.
140. “Muse Dance”
As Linda, the voice of John Roberts qualifies as a unique instrument unto itself, its indeterminate accent work and delivery through the nose possessing a sound all its own. Something about the phonetic punch of the words muse dance, paired with his schoolyard-taunt mimicking of the bass lick, could inspire the greatest of artists.
139. “Keyboard, My Keyboard”
The short sequel to “I Don’t Need Music,” “Keyboard, My Keyboard” operates on a simpler register, but gets by on high-key nostalgia. As Gene stares as a pile of ash his sisters have convinced him are the remnants of his beloved instrument, he remembers the formative years he spent with the keyboard, sampling fart sounds and trying to be a star.
138. “We’re Coming for Ya”
It’s not the most popular opinion, but the Jew’s harp really should be featured in more mainstream music. The boing of this seldom-used instrument imbues this hiking tune with an ineffable bounciness that keeps everyone moving through a draining trudge, much in the same manner as the whistling from Bridge on the River Kwai. Sometimes, just to sally onward, the only thing to do is sing.
137. “He’s Dating Her!”
A montage track that simultaneously celebrates a new relationship, albeit one built on zero romantic attraction, and implicitly asks the gender-reversed Arrested Development staple: “Him?” Tina and Henry Haber were not meant to be, but their song still might endure.
136. “Racing With the Road”
Aside from the urgent, hushed interjections of “race!” and “fast!” there isn’t much to associate this unadorned snippet with the subject matter of the episode it wraps up. (The kids join a junior go-karting league and stick it to the snooty richie-riches from the next town over.) It’s the closest thing to a B-side that we’ll get from the Bob’s musical team, not quite substantive enough to make it as a single.
135. “The Kids Run the Restaurant”
When the parental cats are away, the kid mice will play, but home-alone mischief doesn’t usually pivot into starting an underground casino and racking up five-figure debt. Linda sums up the calamities of the evening in this credits tune, recapping the house getting in deep with the generously pocketed Mr. Fischoeder with a stage performer’s brassy alto. It’s all in the slide on the word want.
134. “Two People”
It’s an unsexy reality of adult relationships that they’re not all built on a foundation of undying dedication; more often than not, we settle for someone who’s dependable and learn to love them over time. Linda gets at the pragmatic side of romance with this song, admitting with the lyrics “two people, together forever / security in life and someone to love ya / instead of being all alone!” that sometimes, it’s better to have someone than no one regardless of who that someone is.
133. “You Can’t Spell Christmas Without Us”
Despite the fundamental inaccuracy of this yuletide faux-classic’s premise, it’s still a lively corrective to the stodginess of the average Christmas carol. It wouldn’t be out of place on the unimpeachable Phil Spector album of seasonal classics, which reimagined peace on earth and goodwill toward men as a swinging holiday party. It’s the musical equivalent of sharpening up your eggnog with a splash of sherry.
132. “Tuscaloosa Twister”
Teddy’s not a great dancer, but the one move he’s got down is this mid-century dance craze in the genus of “Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas.” Just wildly flail your arms like you’re a human tornado, spin all around with a reckless abandon for the people in your proximity, and let the good times roll. (“So violent!” effuses Linda.)
131. “Hot Fudge Car Wash”
The Rose Royce–inspired “Hot Fudge Car Wash” might not make the Billboard charts like a certain other hit single, but it’s definitely a fun earworm about a chocolaty object of desire. Gene couldn’t believe it when he laid eyes on the imaginative fudge-delivery system, but he sacrifices his own happiness to help his father place second in a food competition. Still, there’s nothing like being cleansed with fudge.
130. “It’s Called Fate (and It’s Great)”
After arguing over whether their parents still would’ve gotten together even if Bob didn’t have his trademark mustache, the kids explain their dueling philosophies on determinism versus free will with a pair of simple mnemonic devices: “It’s fate, and it’s great” contrasts with “Shave Dad’s face, Belcher kids are erased.” Who’d have pegged Tina for a Newtonian?
129. “We Won the Talent Show”
Sarah and Laura Silverman do their best hard-edged rocker impressions on “We Won the Talent Show,” a Joan Jett–style jam from Bad Hair Day, who won the Cardinal Gennaro High talent show when Linda attended. Bad Hair Day went on to bigger and better things, while Linda’s band, the Ta-Ta’s, flamed out. The Ta-Ta’s bounced back from the humiliation, but “We Won the Talent Show” demonstrates how far sheer confidence can take some people.
128. “Meet Me on the Road”
The country-style ditty scores Bob’s nascent success at the food-truck game, all while Linda is stuck alone back in the restaurant, but the lyrics to “Meet Me on the Road” suggest a dark trucker fantasy. Drugs, rest-stop tug-jobs, hit-and-runs — this is the life that the Belchers aspire to for a brief moment when they decided to chase a fad.
127. “Meat Man”
Styled after classic superhero theme songs, “Meat Man” sings the praises of Louise and Gene’s impromptu Meat-mation creation for their film debut. Bob loves the idea, mostly because he sees himself in the film’s “proud, independent hamburger man,” even if he isn’t evading rogue CIA agents on the streets of Moscow. He’s still a survivor!
126. “The Diarrhea Song”
Aided by gassy beatboxing and sampled fart sounds from Gene’s keyboard, “The Diarrhea Song” epitomizes Roberts’s improvisation skills and his character’s inability to keep any secrets, e.g., blurting out to a crowded party that she was late because Bob had diarrhea. Though it’s more wet and runny than funny, that doesn’t stop Linda from laughing, much to Bob’s chagrin. That’s love right there.
125. “Butts, Butts, Butts”
One of Bob’s Burgers’ earliest songs, “Butts, Butts, Butts” isn’t much more complicated than its title, but with the added benefit of a plodding circus vibe to provide the illusion of being at a perverted Ringling Bros. event. It actually fits well with Gayle’s ass motif that dominates her paintings. The anus follows you around the room and terrorizes your dreams. “Butts, Butts, Butts” soundtracks your nightmares, whether they’re dominated by derrières or not.
124. “Yat Dat Da”
Paul Rudd isn’t required to do much singing at all on this track, but he sure scats the hell out of it. Rudd plays Tina’s imaginary horse Jericho, whom she plans to abandon when she goes to horse camp. But when she finds out her real horse, Plops, is stubborn and difficult, she returns to the comforting hooves of Jericho. All Plops did was poop and turn away from Tina, but Jericho loves her in only the way an imaginary friend can. Plus, again, he scats!
123. “I’m Jimmy Jr. Pesto”
Any campaign ad worth its salt accomplishes dual purposes, first implanting the name of the candidate into the consciousness of the viewer and then convincing them that the political hopeful is worth voting for. That’s the tack that Louise takes while backing J-Ju for class president, with a jingle that ensures nobody will forget just who’s up for election. She forgets about that second half, however, and the promo backfires on her. The same cracked-smile enthusiasm designed to make a candidate relatable can easily spin out and alienate the very people it was supposed to endear itself to.
122. “Wet Toilet Paper”
The kids’ do-or-die mission to break into the school, erase all evidence of a spitball prank left by an impulsive Zeke, and escape unnoticed turns into professional espionage when paired with this outro song adopting the sleek stylization of a James Bond theme sequence. Like the opening titles of Archer, this homage nicks the pitter-pattering bongos and Saul Bass minimalism, bridging the gap between sneaking around hallways and international spy games. They get away scot-free, and as Zeke sighs with relief at living to attend school another day and the song kicks in, we realize that for him, the stakes were as high as anything in 007’s catalogue.
121. “I Love Charades”
Chris Parnell assumes vocal duties on “I Love Charades,” a relaxing song with a heavy Tiki vibe, befitting his character’s design plan to improve Bob’s restaurant. Bongos, a soothing ukulele, some keyboards, and a gentle chorus all set the tone for a song that should be played while sipping a rum-based cocktail as you’re gazing at Polynesian tchotchkes in a faux-fun establishment. Not Bob’s Burgers, mind you, but somewhere else.
120. “I’m a Little Tiger”
Gene Belcher’s hyperactive exclamations run the risk of being just white noise, but with the help of a rockin’ beat, they can become a fun song. In the Bob’s Burgers fan-art episode, Bob asks Gene to drum up business in his burger costume and Beefsquatch match, to which Gene responds, affirmatively, that he’s a “sexy little tiger.” With a few backup singers and a small horn section, the song essentially writes itself from there.
119. “It’s Thanksgiving for Everybody”
Everywhere but America, the fourth Thursday in November is just another workday, though of course they’re all welcome to join us in our tryptophan-rich banquets. That’s the guiding principle behind the refrain of “It’s Thanksgiving! / Thanksgiving for everybody / except for Europeans,” Linda’s improvised carol for Turkey Day. It begins with a sample of Bob’s fatigued scatting (used to coax Gayle’s cat down from its perch), then comes in strong with the whole family in unison. They sound merry and hungry, ready to dig in and feel grateful to be in the U.S. of A., where every significant national holiday involves engorging yourself.
118. “The Fortress Is the Worstest / Nobody’s Getting In / Flu-ouise”
Consider these songs a multipart suite expounding on the theme of Louise’s self-imposed lonerism, as she and an imaginary version of her prized Kuchi Kopi doll traverse a landscape dotted with other anime beasties. They all warn her that erecting walls around herself can only lead to a cold, lonely lot (“Fortress”), but Kuchi acts as the bad influence on her conscience that encourages her isolationist tendencies (“Nobody’s Getting In”). She ultimately sees the light, and the end-credits song (“Flu-ouise”) congratulates her on becoming a fuller person with glimmering dream-pop synths. Kids grow up so fast.
117. “Parakeet in Your Hat”
To cover the sound of his pickaxing a tunnel into the nearby bank from the restaurant’s basement, stickup artist turned jailbird turned free man turned employee Mickey (voice of Bill Hader) plays a tape of calypso music at high decibels. He sings along while painting a picture of verdant tropicalia, where parakeets and alligators happily bop to the rhythm. Beyond masking the sound of his busting through the wall, the cheery island vibe must make all the backbreaking work a bit easier. Still, between the maracas and congas, it would all pair much better with a mai tai than manual labor.
116. “Attention, Humans of America”
The overture to Zentipede’s General Inzanity features the eponymous character’s announcement to the humans of America: He has seized control, control, control! Tim Dacey and the Elegant Too’s impressive “rock-sperience” amps up the prog riffs later on, but in the beginning, it’s just a rolling drumbeat, moody keyboards, threatening guitar, and an ominous ascending chorus. The perfect tone-setter for an epic rock-and-roll narrative.
115. “We Forgot About Your Birthday”
“Happy Birthday” is so been-there-done-that, not to mention pricey to license. What about those of us who mean well but suffer from the perfectly human flaw of forgetfulness, where’s the song for us? It’s right here, as Linda makes having completely blanked on Bob’s 40-something-th sound as good as some effects pedals and two-part harmonies can manage. It rocks considerably harder than the current birthday standard, in no small part due to the humility that comes with admitting that a special day slipped through the cracks.
114. “Cat Trainin’”
While not every cat owner tries to enter their pet into show business, they can probably sympathize with Bob’s struggle to train Gayle’s precious Mr. Business to do, well, just about anything. This montage song finds purr-chase in the knowledge that the inordinate time and energy expended to get a cat to knock over a spice jar can never possibly match the results. You’re still putting in a lot of work and getting a little bit back.
113. “Makin’ It by Hand”
The Bob’s music team locks into a Nile Rodgers–style jam, a crisply picked guitar line buttressed by boisterous brass and sax. Such are the powers of its funk — and the stuttered repetition of “m-m-m-m-makin’ it by hand for gram and gramps” — that the song plunges the kids into a music-video realm of abstract psychedelia. Surrounded by the deformed pottery projects they present as annual gifts to their grandparents, they cut a rug as colors swirl in tandem with the rolling groove.
112. “Beach Drama”
Not since Azealia Banks sang about sippin’ Coca-Cola on “Nude Beach A-Go-Go” has a modern composition so vividly channeled the sound of sun and sand in the ’60s. As Tina flounders in her training for the junior lifeguard post, sunblock-doodling on CPR dummy Can’t-Breathie Stevie, a shimmy-shaking choir of oohs in the background connote tanned skin and boogie boards (with an emphasis on the boogie). It may not be the hippest reproduction of the timeless surf-music genre — that would be No. 54 — but it’s still pretty far-out.
111. “Hey! Yogurt!”
This episode’s A-plot involves a mock trial at school to determine who purloined someone’s yogurt cup; the B-plot concerns the grown-ups’ effort to get even with a Borat impersonator who ripped them off. Logically, the end-credits song splits the difference with a traditional Kazakh standard set to the words “Ay! Yogurt!” (Though they’d more likely use the original Turkish spelling yoghurt.) As a brief taste of the klezmer-adjacent genres that came from the Balkan area, with their double harmonic scales tantalizingly unfamiliar to our Western ears, it’s a complete feast — as long as you’re not lactose intolerant.
110. “The Snake Song”
Gene Belcher has the courage to ask tough questions, such as this one regarding snakes: “Where are their arms and legs?” A plodding, goofy song about ophidiophobia, Mirman’s childlike delivery really sells Gene’s distress, which he eventually overcomes to save his siblings after they get lost in the Florida woods. The poor kid isn’t afraid of ghosts, sharks, or cancer, just snakes. It’s not okay!
109. “Saving the Bird”
The cooking connection in Bob’s Burgers’ premise makes it a prime candidate for Thanksgiving episodes, which inevitably means Thanksgiving songs. “Saving the Bird” takes a typical disco approach to the subject of turkey pardoning; after all, a promise to a turkey should be kept, especially since it can’t object when it stares down a grisly fate. The drumbeat might be generic, but the song’s background singers elevate Roberts’s vocal stylings, giving the dance track some moral magnitude.
108. “Business Monster”
Bob’s Burgers acutely understands that the blood, sweat, and tears of undervalued, underpaid laborers stains the corporate ladder. Tina’s rise to the top of the Tweentrepreneurs club turns her into a low-stakes version of a pantsuit-wearing, buzzword-spouting CEO, one who cuts corners and sells out their customers for greater profits. “Business Monster” takes the “Monster Mash” route and provides a spooky vibe to Tina’s new ugly personality; she’s a monster in the figurative and Halloween sense. Only a business monster would “circle back” and “walk around like her crap don’t stink.”
107. “Rescue Nine-One-Buns”
Every strip club has an everyone-to-the-stage song, a trademark dance cut that acts as a beacon summoning everybody on shift to the floor, generally raising the energy level of the room, and in turn loosening up the pockets of the clients. At Pickles, the all-male, adults-only establishment servicing the Wharf area, that would be this. Their dancers dazzle bachelorette parties and gay stag outings with skimpy-professional getups — sexy pilot, sexy policeman, sexy paramedic. They’ll answer the emergency call all right, just with well-toned gluteal muscles instead of occupational skills.
106. “Hey Ange (Remix)”
Turntabling is an underappreciated art form, requiring as much finesse and technical prowess as any other musical instrument. Luckily for us, some Bob’s session musician recognized the potential of the equipment and went to work on a simple audio clip of Linda hollering “Hey, Ange!” to Gene’s response of “That is fun!” Chopping up the sound highlights the elasticity of record scratching and the unique voice it creates through distortion. The fleet-fingered vinyl-spinning can stand comparison to the legendary parrot-voice remixing in the Avalanches’ “Frontier Psychiatrist.”
105. “I’ll Trade You These Tears”
Aside from the lyrics in step with the rough-and-tumble country-western scene (“I’ll trade you these tears / for a couple of beers / and a snot for a shot of whiskey”) and its fluency in the dialect of macho feelings, there’s not much to this brief number from Linda’s alter ego “Lindette.” The fantasy sequence that produces this song will yield superior selections — see No. 59 — but this introduces the milieu and sets the scene for her grudge against “Jogene” (Gene, Oklahoma-fied). Altogether, it’s nuttier than a slice of hot pecan pie.
When Tina became the female soloist for the Hormone-iums troupe, she never expected that she would become the poster child for the dangers of kissing. It’s a worst-case scenario for a hyperhormonal girl itching to go to her first boy-girl party with spin the bottle. Mr. Frond’s assembly on the dangers of mononucleosis ends with Tina on her deathbed wishing she had never kissed anyone, a grotesquely melodramatic ending with little educational value. Tina’s impromptu edit to the show might have ended her soloist career, but began a lifetime of safe kissing.
103. “Jingle in the Jungle”
Gene Belcher understands that holiday songs are an American tradition like any other. Hence, his persistence in requesting the radio station to play “Jingle in the Jungle” on a particularly harrowing winter night when the family is stuck in a Duel-like feud with the mysterious driver of a candy-cane truck. He eventually gets his wish, and after hearing a few seconds of the song, Bob comments, “I wasn’t expecting so much bongo.” But for a song about Christmas for all the animals in the jungle, the bongos are appropriate.
102. “Fracas Foam”
Another funky montage jam, “Fracas Foam” kicks off with a sizzling bass line and then proceeds to narrate the humiliating, Double Dare–esque shenanigans the Belchers must endure in order to fix their car. The show’s gooey, orange foam replaces Nickelodeon’s signature green slime, and the Belchers receive plenty of it because of Louise’s inability to game the prize wheel. Like the Belchers, the song’s beat doesn’t quit; unlike the Belchers, however, the song doesn’t lose a rigged game or a rigged court-show lawsuit.
101. “The Equestranauts Theme Song”
The opening-title music for Tina’s favorite cartoon program doesn’t attain the rock–candy–dipped–in–Pixy Stix glucose levels of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic theme, its clear progenitor. All the same, they share the guiding principle that nothing can stop a group of besties as long as they believe in themselves and each other. The can-do foursome of Headhorn, Chariot, Mini, and Peggy-sis keep the horse-people denizens of their horse-world safe, presumably by doing horse things. The theme song says it all without really saying anything that makes sense, and in this respect, the song honestly captures the spirit of a kids’ show.
100. “Jumping on the Bed”
Bob’s Burgers’ brief foray into Hugh Grant-starring British rom-com fantasy world (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, etc.) ends with an upbeat, horn-backed number about the joys of treating a mattress like a trampoline. It’s a reference to the Belcher kids’ jumping-based destruction of Gene’s bed, bad news they try to softly break to their fighting parents on Valentine’s Day. But with a fun number like this, which includes the sage advice not to fall and hit your head like a certain Humpty Dumpty, it’s easy to forgive such a juvenile transgression.
99. “Darryl’s Slow Jam”
Ah, nerd love, the purest love of all. Wagstaff’s resident geekazoid Darryl (voiced with the pre-adolescent yelp of Aziz Ansari) regales Tina with an R&B slow-burner, specially catered to the niche appeal of their dynamic in specific. “Girl, I wish I was in all your classes / and when we kiss, we hit our glasses,” he mewls, and a stricken Tina instantly forgets that they’re only pretending to be a couple to get his real crush’s attention. With Darryl resplendent in his white suit, drifting across the high notes, a viewer can see what Tina sees in him.
98. “Christmas Magic”
Another one of John Roberts’s seemingly improvised ditties, “Christmas Magic” has the melody of a classic holiday staple, at least before the lyrics take a hard-left turn into urban despair: “And all the cold hungry people / They’re dying in the streets.” Usually Christmas songs mask their depressing core in metaphor, but Roberts-as-Linda smartly places it front and center. The end-credits version adds enough vigor to the proceedings for it to safely fit in any Christmas playlist.
97. “Quicky Kiss It”
Quippiquisset Island is a small, uninhabited landmass off the coast of the larger (and equally fictitious) Chipcaw Island. But it’s better known to frisky couples in the area as Quicky Kiss-it Island, a secluded and romantic hideaway ideal for discreet nighttime smooching. Tina pictures herself blasting off to the oasis and strafing a line of pucker-lipped boys, the percussive squeak of each kiss incorporated into the rhythm section. For Tina, this is the closest she’ll get to the “kid in a candy shop” feeling that most kids get from actual candy shops.
96. “Gravy Boat”
All happy families have their weird little rituals, inside jokes that can’t leave the bloodline in part because they’d look nuts to anyone not born into the bit. One such example would be Linda and Gayle’s annual prelude to Thanksgiving dinner (featuring Gene on his trusty keyboard), a living room paean to that glorious re-hydrater of meats, O mighty gravy. Pour it over your mashed potatoes, douse your dried-out turkey, there’s no plate that the “meat sailors” on the gravy boat can’t improve.
95. “Linda’s Investigation Song”
The general public will soon see Adam Driver’s substantial musical talent in theaters (or, most likely, on Netflix) in Noah Baumbach’s new film Marriage Story, but for now, his turn as Art the Artist from the series’ “Bleakening” musical episode will have to do. While posing nude for a life drawing class, he sings his alibi, with help from the class acting as back-up chorus. (One guy was just there to see some boobs, but it turns out he loves drawing! “He loves drawing / But he’s still pretty creepy / Definitely creepy,” the class concludes.) Even filtered through animation, Driver’s voice proves he could lead a glitzy stage show if he was ever so inclined.
94. “Wing Man”
This one’s for the team players out there, the guys nobly taking the hit just to help their buddies get a little action. Bob gives health inspector Hugo an assist in his efforts to put the moves on the notoriously man-friendly Gretchen — sliding Hugo’s hands down to her waist, teaching him what boobs are — leading Hugo’s associate Ron to sing Bob’s praises. The wing men of the world raise one another up, making us all into the best versions of ourselves, even if it’s just for prurient purposes.
93. “Why Can’t I Be Like Other Turkeys”
Tina’s solo song in her “Quirky Turkey” musical transparently conveys her insecurities. After being teased by her peers, she’s afraid she might be too weird for friends, and especially, Jimmy Jr., who plays an attractive pig in this Thanksgiving-themed, Ugly Duckling-inspired show. Her scrawny frame, glasses, and smallish buns might keep her from having fun with the others, but Tina saves the day after Louise’s botched, bloody finale. Sometimes quirk is just the ingredient people need.
92. “Jeff (Il Est Mort)”
The writing team pays tribute to the greats of French pop with a fizzy montage selection, imposing the sensual murmurings of a Serge Gainsbourg doppelganger over a slightly scaled-back arrangement (the lush instrumentation has been restrained to whistling and guitar) reminiscent of Michel LeGrand’s compositions for the ravishing romance films of Jacques Demy. So what if Tina’s in love with a shoebox that she believes contains the ghost of a teenage boy? In the international language of love, every new honeymoon period feels like it could fill a panoramic widescreen.
91. “Breaking Out”
Tina may just be a background chorus girl for the Hormone-iums, Wagstaff’s resident “puberty-positive players,” but she can still dream about taking the lead in a glitzy number about accepting the acne that comes with the teen years. With her sequined gams-baring leotard and top hat, she’s a bona fide star — never mind that she’s singing about “pimples, the inside-out dimples.” An exploding whitehead can still shoot confetti in her imagination, where the zero-stakes performances in the cafeteria or school auditorium can at least feel like the debut of her Las Vegas residency.
90. “Gayle’s Poetry Song”
Some poets get hung up on rhyme scheme at the expense of everything else, under the apparent impression that as long as the end of each line matches up, the content of the stanzas doesn’t matter. Case in point is Gayle, who passes off a list of things we should send into space as a creative work by choosing “a jar of mayo,” “magazine clippings of Scott Baio,” and “the song that starts with day-oh.” At which point this strange, sad woman confesses that she follows her cat’s example by going outside and squatting while urinating. A mysterious, wondrous thing, poetry!
89. “Date Night”
Date night means radically different things for young people embarking on a new relationship and those who’ve been in the trenches for a while. John Roberts gets in the proper spirit to belt out a romantic tune rooted in the practical realities of a long-term marriage. It’s not necessarily fireworks and moonlit strolls. Sometimes it’s just food, drinks, and the brief pleasure of ignoring responsibilities waiting back home, i.e. the children. But Linda doesn’t even get that. Instead, she endures bar trivia. Louise has it right: “Sounds like you cheated Mom out of a date.”
88. “Cease and Desist”
The writing staff can seemingly spin a memorable musical line out of any concept or combination of words. (See: “BM in the PM.”) In this instance, it’s the threat of legal action, as a squabble between Bob and Jairo the capoeira instructor next door turns into the courtroom come-on “cease and desist / cause you know I can’t resist you, baby.” Getting served with costly settlement papers has never sounded so seductive, like a sandalwood candle placed in a law office’s conference room.
87. “Fun Fun Fun Fun!”
Another montage song, this time in the vein of riot grrrl, soundtracking the Belcher kids’ decidedly un-fun day in the sun as the newly unemployed. Obvious irony aside, it’s amusing how painfully inept Louise, Tina, and Gene are at having fun when it’s not sandwiched in between working at the restaurant. Bikes are run over, water balloons burst before being thrown, and a trip to the beach ends with Gene being covered in diapers. Fun indeed.
86. “Whisper In Your Eyes”
Max Greenfield’s slick-voiced, smooth-talking tenure as Boyz 4 Now’s Boo Boo reaches its cringe-inducing pinnacle with “Whisper In Your Eyes,” a song whose faulty logical premise quickly transitions into nonsense R&B sing-speak. “I want your lips and your eyes to come together as one / So that your eyes can see your lips / And that your lips can kiss your eyes and vice versa / And when lip-eyes come together in that type of direction and place…” he babbles. Who can improve on such romantic verbiage?
85. “Lift Me”
You know how Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” is the single greatest roller disco song ever recorded? No? Well, the writers probably do, judging by the similarities to this effervescent muzak fed into the town roller rink. The soaring melody complements the pleading to be lifted up, both while gliding on skates and in love, Wain stretching not to crack as he hits the high notes. Get your powder-blue one-piece suit/unitard out of mothballs and lace up the rentals, it’s time for couples’ skate.
84. “They’re Called Pants, Not Can’ts”
Because buying pants forces a person to confront the size of their waist, thighs, butt, and ankles, it can be a nerve-wracking, self-esteem-annihilating experience for body-conscious shoppers. Bob happens to be one such consumer, and this positivity jam ushers him towards self-acceptance of his lower half as he looks for some new slacks at the local mall. The song might be a little too persuasive, in the end; Bob overcompensates about his pants anxiety and starts trying on anything that catches his eye. One minute, you’re checking out some sensible chinos, and one well-placed musical cue later, you’re eyeing the purple corduroy and wondering if pulling wilder couture off really is just a matter of confidence.
83. “Funky Finger”
Bob’s Burgers plays well in the ’70s sandbox, relying on the decade’s groove-forward pop music to soundtrack various hijinks. Case in point: Loren Bouchard and John Dylan Keith’s “Funky Finger” operates in a traditional funk mode, befitting the song’s title, recalling the work of the Bar-Kays or Kool and the Gang. It sets the mood for Tina’s Cinderella-esque search for her mystery crush, who she met while behind a milk fridge, retaining only a Band-Aid off his finger from the encounter. If the Band-Aid fits, love follows.
82. “Silent Love/Silent Muffler”
How to write a love song to someone you don’t love or want to be around or even hear speak? Gene attempts to thread that tricky needle with this musical gift to the profoundly irritating Courtney (voiced with nasal wheezing by David Wain), in which he makes the smooth suggestion that their love is so innate that it doesn’t require either of them to make a sound. Of course she’s incapable of keeping her mouth shut, and therein lies the joke, as Gene loses his patience with the girlfriend he never really wanted in the first place. To paraphrase Carmela Soprano, that was not a relationship made in heaven.
81. “Sandwich Song”
In the spirit of this call-and-response tune in which guest star Tiffany Haddish rattles off sandwich recipes by number, let us count the ways in which this is wonderful. One: the way she tacks terms of affection like “queen” or “boo” onto the end of some, the well-honed professional affection of the service-line worker. Two: the stuttering electric cowbell that splits up the verses, giving the listener a few spare seconds to bust a move. Three: that a joke about responding to 69 with “nice” made it onto network television. The list goes on, easily encompassing enough entries to match one to each of the seventy-two sandwiches.
80. “Do the Dirty Pigeon”
Short, simple, and sweet: Those are the three elements of a good Bob’s Burgers song. “Do The Dirty Pigeon” fits the bill, musically (upbeat tempo, rousing back-up singers, Jon Benjamin fronting the track in a high-pitched tone) and lyrically. Bob takes it upon himself to clean a pigeon covered in olive oil, ridding himself of his aviophobia and assisting a new flying friend at the same time, essentially doing the dirty pigeon. If Bob’s Burgers had devised a corresponding “Dirty Pigeon” dance, they might have had a summer craze on their hands.
79. “Not Bad for Havin’ Three Kids”
This jam by the Ta-Ta’s should be dedicated to every mother who’s still got it even after birthing (and raising) their kids. Sure, it’s about sexy parts (with three out of five in some semblance of disrepair), but by God, it’s also about having the courage to rock out like the youth, whether that means reuniting with your high school band or hooking up with an old crush. Three kids shouldn’t stop anyone from rediscovering their groove.
Jimmy Jr. might have a butt that won’t quit, but he’s also a snake who unfairly strings Tina along like a jerk. But when Josh (Ben Schwartz) comes on the scene to ensnare Tina’s heart, Jimmy Jr. does everything in his power to win back Tina’s affection. With the help of Louise and Tina, he sings “T-I-N-A” in a horse costume, and though it’s cute, the acrostic could use some work. (He’s really stuck on the “take my breath away” part!) Nevertheless, his ineptitude is our comedic gain.
77. “Taffy Butt”
Cyndi Lauper never liked her 1985 single “The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough,” released alongside the popular family adventure film The Goonies, on which she served as musical director. Thankfully, her son insisted she record a parody version, “Taffy Butt,” for the Goonies episode of Bob’s Burgers. Sung in exactly the same key and cadence as the original top 10 hit, “Taffy Butt” closes out the episode in appropriate summer-fun fashion, and includes the reveal that the gold the kids were searching for was inside Taff, a figure molded out of taffy. They forgot to search the…well, you know.
76. “The Briefest of Glances”
Here’s one for the music theory geeks: one could play this song in the 4/4 time signature standard to the glut of popular releases, but the odd off-beats restructure the melodic line into a trickier 8/8, subdivided up into a one-two-three one-two-three one-two rhythm of emphasis. To the untrained ear, that means the song hustles along trippingly to replicate the feeling of falling in love without abandon, letting your feelings get ahead of you. It’s a clever structural trick that produces a subtle effect, the very essence of good songwriting.
75. “Sneaky Pete”
One of the show’s dirtier tracks, albeit obscured by a clever euphemism, “Sneaky Pete” salutes the vibrator in a groovy dance track. When Linda moonlights as a “Lady Goods” saleswoman alongside Gretchen, she briefly finds her calling targeting the lonely woman demographic. But when Bob and his dorky frat boy friends mix with some cougars at a Lady Goods party, “Sneaky Pete” soundtracks the awkward union. High-pitched vocals and a drumbeat won’t quit will put you in the mood to light some candles and draw a bath, if you catch Pete’s drift.
74. “Dirty Ducks”
The free love of the ‘60s ossified into something more overtly horny as America swung into the decadent ‘70s, with key parties and other forms of swinging cropping up in the most seemingly innocent corners of suburbia. The decade delivered a fitting soundtrack to the sweaty hedonism, awash in heavenly flutes and celestial harp glissandos of the sort found on this accompaniment to the pansexual frolics at Linda’s parents’ retirement community. “Quack, quack,” moans the sultry voice of an Isaac Hayes soundalike, entreating a gaggle of seniors to join in a group makeout sesh. Anything goes in Florida, folks!
73. “Space Cowbell”
Gene’s well-documented music gear fetishism leads him to frequent his town’s pawn shop, where he’s free to tinker with the wide array of analog and digital synthesizers to his heart’s content. (Or, at least until the cashier gets annoyed and kicks him out.) Like Moog before him, he takes the most pleasure in experimenting with the various bleeps and bloops, his favorite of which sounds to him like a “space cowbell.” That’s the sample around which he builds his improvised composition in the episode’s climactic synth duel, replicating his chosen sound effect with his mouth as he plays it. A future acid house maestro is born.
72. “Pesto in My Pants”
Sure, why not style a song about fine Italian undergarments with the sunny upbeats of reggae? Bob contrives a shall-we-say unique fix (donning the pilfered briefs of his nemesis across the way, pizza proprietor Jimmy Pesto) to cure his lapsed burger-flipping skills, and rejoices by swinging his posterior around while crowing about his intimate new support system. Instead of mandolin apropos of the red-white-and-green flag on the aforementioned drawers, the episode sends them out with a Jamaican-influenced groove ready for your backyard cookout or chilled-out beach weekend. Pop a Red Stripe and enjoy.
71. “Pig Trouble”
Sure, Bob’s Burgers tipped its hand in this Halloween episode when Gina dressed up as Fiona Applesauce (Fiona Apple’s saucy aunt, of course), but it was still a mild surprise to hear the real Fiona Apple sing the closing credits song of “Pig Trouble in Little China.” It’s obviously Tina who’s in “pig trouble” after she stirs up the rage of a dead fetal pig’s ghost after mocking it in science class to impress the cool kids. Apple’s signature voice captures the angst of staying true to your values even as peer pressure creeps closer and closer. Also, pig kissing.
70. “BFOT on the Kiss Spot”
Tina and Tammy join forces for a Cyrano de Bergerac-type scheme to win over a cute BFOT (that’s a Boy From Other Town) by pairing Tina’s wit with Tammy’s popular-girl magnetism, then sing about it in the form of a classic Vaudeville double act right out of Chicago. They toss the vocal line about being a perfect team back and forth, then Tammy plays ventriloquist dummy while Tina pops off a scat solo, all of it a Charleston away from the music halls of yore. They maintain their schoolyard enmity, too, trailing off with a series of mocking mouth-farts.
69. “The Nice-Capades”
The closest we’ll get to Bob’s Burgers On Ice! is this frosty revue recounting instances of the kids’ good behavior from the past year, for the targeted audience of a list-making Santa. The simple melodies about helping an overturned horseshoe crab or letting a classmate have the last taco exist to adorn an ice-skating routine that splits the difference between high production values (that’s a pretty good horseshoe crab costume…) and DIY resources (…for being made three hours prior to showtime). The kids deserve to make the good list for their double axels alone.
68. “If You Love Something”
Bob’s Burgers musical parodies are admirably specific, but who knew they would pull off a Pixies-inspired ode to couch burning, complete with an angular guitar riff and a yelping chorus? Like many enterprising teen bands, the Couch Burners have gone through a couple name changes (Melon Smashes, Vase Breakers), but their destructive impulses, and inability to keep their eyes open during impromptu promotional photo shoots, belies their musical capabilities. These kids could go far.
67. “It’s Valentine’s Day”
Gene demonstrates an emotional maturity far beyond his years as he lets girlfriend Courtney down gently by warbling this tune about the noble pain of a breakup: “But still be glad / even if you’re sad / take comfort just in knowing / you’ll be okay / it’s Valentine’s Day / your heart’s not broken, it’s only growing.” He assumes the lofty upper ground of perspective, accepting the hurt their split may cause as an essential part of growing up and living a whole life. It’s a comforting idea, made all the more affecting by the song’s honesty that it can’t alleviate the soreness between them, only encourage acceptance.
66. “The Spirits of Christmas”
Christmas is a great time for family and presents, but it’s also perfect for drinking copious amounts of booze. Bob’s Burgers acutely understands this, thus the legendary Kevin Kline sings a lovely paean to liquor at Christmastime. The preference of poison hardly matters, just as long as you get more lit than a tree. In “Nice-Capades,” Fischoeder sings the song to help Louise out of a jam, but the context couldn’t matter less in this case. With a soothing, melancholic piano melody and Kline’s impeccable voice, “The Spirits of Christmas” will fit nicely in any holiday mix. Hey, bourbon, take me home. (Fun Fact: the Bob’s Burgers team released a music video featuring an extended cut of the track.)
65. “I Wanna Hear Your Secrets”
Boys 4 Now’s sensitive-boy anthem features Max Greenfield at his most performatively attuned to the needs of the group’s teen girl demographic. They don’t want a boy who only has one thing on his mind. They want someone interested in the secrets and the details of their lives, like what they had for lunch or their dad’s name. It’s the subtext of many boy band songs, but Bob’s Burgers pushes it up to text for maximum absurdity. More pop music should follow their lead.
64. “This Is Working”
Bob’s failure to appreciate his wife’s substantial contributions to the restaurants sends her running into the (professional) arms of Fresh Feed, a Trader Joe’s-esque grocery store. “This Is Working” captures Linda’s palpable joy with wrangling carts and working register contrasted with Bob’s loneliness back in the restaurant. The double meaning of “working,” both in terms of labor and the denial-driven belief that their arrangement is a success, definitely proves that Bob needs Linda by his side. By the end of the episode, Linda comes to the same conclusion.
63. “Getting Out of P.E.”
A cute montage song, “Getting Out of P.E.” turns the Belcher children’s gym class fraud into a fun, female-fronted indie rock song. Composer Chris Maxwell, collaborating with Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith, and Holly Schlesinger, craft a fun anthem to playing hooky, complete with literal Ferris Bueller-esque lyrics. Except the Belchers go to the arcade, play in the street, chase and then evade a pack of raccoons, and try to dupe a nail salon.
When Mr. Frond persuades the Belcher kids to star in his awful music video of “The Empathize Glide” for Counsel-Con (yeah, that Counsel-Con), he promises them that no one in school will ever see them rap in ill-fitting D.A.I.S.Y-inspired outfits. Unfortunately, an ill-timed bathroom break and a failure to log out of a computer led the entire school to see the video, humiliating the children. While Frond’s version of “The Empathize Glide” is a rank embarrassment, the Bob’s Burgers version in the end credits turns a corny track into a groovy banger. Inspired by Discovery-era Daft Punk, “Empathize” employs vocoders and disco string arrangements to give Frond’s positive message some genuine power, one that might actually get kids to “swap eyes” so they can understand their fellow peers better.
61. “I Won’t Go Solo on You”
In a protracted story-within-the-story, Gene imagines himself as Grand Ole Opry star Jogene, setting Deep South stages ablaze with singer/mom Lindette. After she ditches him to pursue fame on her own, Jogene teams with a country-fied Gayle and cranks out this chicken-fried subtweet of a ditty. The duo meshes with help from little more than acoustic strumming, a tinny drum machine, and sublimely silly couplets like “I like to eat spaghetti / but you like vindaloo / I’ll leave in a hurry to go get curry / cause I won’t go solo on you.” But a rattlesnake stashed in the guitar body provides the X-factor, shaking its tail like a maraca right on cue to add the perfect button. The writing evinces a subtly detailed familiarity with Nashville-era country, in all its off-kilter humor and conversational lyricism and compact catchiness.
60. “Let Me Hear You Grunt”
This is the show’s interpretation of a jock jam in the vein of 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready For This,” with the burrowing earworm of a synth hook and the pump-up mantra repeated ad nauseam. In this case, the magic words are “Whalers in the front / let me hear you grunt!” Scene-stealer Zeke delivers them in his country-road twang while dressed up in a pint-size seaman mascot getup, entertaining his elderly and feeble-minded grandmother at her nursing home. True to the song’s instructions, Zeke leans all the way into the glottal stop when singing along with the repeating pump-up loop, his emphatic “uh”s as charmingly regional as his aspirated catchphrase of “do h-what?”
59. “I Can Fix It”
Teddy, a kind soul with an eternal optimist’s spirit living a lonely life, has some trouble navigating certain aspects of adult life, such as preparing his home for his family’s arrival on Thanksgiving. When the Belchers come over to help him out, they discover he’s a hoarder, collecting broken objects that he’ll one day fix. Bob and co. try to help him de-clutter his house, but they eventually learn that fixing things brings Teddy purpose and stability. “I Can Fix It” applauds Teddy’s borderline-obsessive fixation with fixing completely useless junk, like two-legged chairs and a receiver-less phone. Roberts’s fast-speaking lyrics backed by “Woo hoo!”’s are fun enough, but it ends with a glorious call-and response about Teddy being the waffle to his parents’ waffle maker. A giant amongst men, Teddy fixes relationships with the same skill he uses to fix aquarium pumps.
58. “Wheelie Mammoth”
Three-part harmony can make just about anything sound good, even a song celebrating the top prize at the Wonder Wharf carnival. The trophy in question takes the form of a gigantic woolly mammoth on roller skates, used by owner Mr. Fischoeder as more of a symbol than anything else — it allegedly can’t be won, acting only as a glittering lure to inspire hope in the children playing the rigged ball-throwing game. There’s some noodling around on a synth and electric keyboard combo as the song builds with “whoa!”s and “look at him go!”s, but the song fades out just as it comes back in for a second go at the chorus; perhaps a metaphor for the mammoth’s Gatsbian green light, forever just beyond our reach, borne back ceaselessly etc. etc.
57. “Chunky, Chunky Blast-Offs”
A successful commercial jingle serves two purposes, simultaneously promoting the product in question and ensuring that the audience won’t forget the catchphrase any time soon. The ads for Gene’s favorite chocolate bar cover both bases, exhorting listeners to take a bite of the deviously slant-rhymed “chocolate rocket” with a falsetto line as sticky as caramels fresh from the oven. And there’s no shortage of funk in that chunk, featuring a tasty bass line you can hear slide right up the neck of the guitar. The most felicitous touch of all? Backing vocals mixed to maximum treble and zero bass, to imitate a crackly intercom warning “Houston, we have a problem.” A confection with such a toe-tapper of a slogan must surely be out of this world.
56. “Sugar Cookies”
Surf music survives today primarily as a novelty, something that oddball guys like Steve Buscemi’s character in Ghost World might be into on a semi-ironic basis. Which makes it perfect fodder for another slavishly faithful homage from the music team, who evoke Beach Blanket Bingo with slinky minor chords from a soundalike to the signature Farfisa organ that defined the ‘60s sound. The accompanying animation of Tina doing the mashed potato helps. She tries out for lifeguard duty in this half-hour, and the lyrics nimbly pun on her vocation-of-the-week: “Jump in the water / they’re getting tangled / time to check in / on my love triangle!” The chorus, a tight groove about twisting until you can feel the sand in between your toes, makes a person want to do exactly that.
55. “Not the Forgiving Type”
The prologue to the “Flu-oise” musical suite features Louise rejecting her family’s sincere apologies for drowning and then, in a fit of desperation, melting her beloved Kuchi Kopi nightlight while she’s bedridden with the flu. As the family harmonizes excuses and regrets, Louise goes off on a tear, essentially declaring herself a loner following a breach of trust and a broken heart. Over the years, Kristen Schaal has become a major force on Bob’s Burgers, with Louise acting as a vehicle for the show’s exploration of adolescence, morality, and compassion. Though Louise eventually forgives everyone by the end of the episode, she first has to throw them out into the cold before she can see that they’re on her side. Thankfully, a trippy fever dream brings her to her senses.
54. “Your Best Friend”
John Roberts’s improvisational songs have a pretty strong hit-to-miss ratio, but his off-the-dome tunes are even better with professional musicians backing it up. Here, Linda’s earnest tribute to best friendship—dedicated to Bob and Teddy, who have a strained love-hate relationship at best, one primarily defined by the exchange of money for burgers—becomes an up-tempo jam, with Roberts and Larry Murphy taking turns on vocal duties. It’s appropriately absurd that Linda’s conception of friendship involves someone putting themselves in harm’s way and being at their beck and call in case of grave injury. Then again, Teddy is the type of guy who would feed Bob soup if he broke his jaw or help him pee when he that thing. He’s that kind of best friend. Bob, on the other hand…
53. “The Fart Song”
Fart jokes are generally lowest-common-denominator humor, an easy way to punctuate a moment when a screenwriter’s too hung over to come up with a real punch line. The Bob’s Burgers writers clearly pride themselves on contriving situations in which flatulence can be deployed with novelty and ingenuity, a self-imposed challenge to elevate the lowly fart above its station. This pro-windbreaking anthem, triumphantly howled by Gene as the grand finale to a fantasy in the mold of The Ramones’ silver-screen vehicle Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, sends a valentine to the fart joke itself. It’s a salute to toots that vaunts passing gas as the secret to a long and liberated life; its rousing chorus feels as good as letting a big one rip yourself. You feel lighter after hearing it.
52. “Lettuce Meat You”
During a brainstorming session for the Belcher family’s big Super Bowl ad buy, Louise floats the idea of wordplay along the lines of “come meet our family, and lettuce meat you!” Bob likes the homophony, but what’s really clever about her suggestion is how it foregrounds the restaurant’s main selling point of being a literal mom-and-pop operation. It’s a simple eatery with a simple menu — burgers, fries, coffee, beer — and the song representing them shares that earnest simplicity. When you go to Bob’s Burgers, you’re not just selecting food from a menu; you’re making a connection to a group of people with names and faces, an increasingly rare commodity as small-town areas like Bob and Co.’s unnamed coastal town get overrun by chains.
51. “I Don’t Need Music”
Eugene Mirman receives a true showcase with “I Don’t Need Music,” Gene Belcher’s rejection of his bone-deep musical passion, ironically communicated through song. After confirming that he lacks technical talent and doesn’t have the patience to put in years of training, a despondent Gene swears off his keyboard for good and ponders other professions: baker, candlestick maker, potter, a teacher (like Welcome Back, Kotter.) Of course, Gene could never quit his first love. “I Don’t Need Music” finds the joy in pursuing a hobby, even if you’re an amateur. It’s an especially nice touch that Gene imagines himself dancing atop a Walking Piano, a la Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia in Big.
50. “If You See Something, Sing Something”
TSA: The Musical is one of those brilliant throwaway Bob’s Burgers jokes that only expands in the imagination because of how little the series explores the fictional musical, i.e. an episode dedicated to the production might run out of steam early, but Teddy listing off songs from the show (“Female Pat Down,” “Whose Bag Is This?”, etc.) gets the job done. Of course, Bob’s Burgers also can’t resist throwing in a number from the show in the end credits, and lo and behold, “If You See Something, See Something” makes you wish that the TSA themselves would put on a production if only to improve PR. Interestingly enough, the fast-paced romp about not leaving your bags unattended would hits its stride when it briefly moves into a minor key: “I see something / Suspicious / Oh you know I wish I didn’t…” Just make sure you don’t belt it in the airport.
49. “Can’t Get Enough (of Your Woman Stuff)”
Feeling unappreciated around the restaurant, Linda decides to pursue supplementary employment at a boutique grocery store called Fresh Feed. It’s a pretty clear analog to Trader Joe’s, a cooler alternative to retail for grown-ups looking to pick up some extra cash. The job will prove too much for Linda, but at first, she’s taken with the casual workplace culture and their custom of an hourly “Disco Minute,” during which employees may take a sixty-second break to boogie. Management pipes in this upbeat Bee Gees homage over the loudspeakers, a dancefloor-filler draped in the decadent strings native to disco. But what is the “woman stuff” referred to in the song’s title? Herein lies the element of mystery, and indeed, the song’s brilliance. (Unless, you know, they’re just talking about private parts.)
48. “I Can’t Believe You’re Really Mine”
Bob goes all out for Thanksgiving, and for his outest out of all, he purchases a Riverbrook Lake Farms Heritage Turkey — pretty much the Lamborghini of seasonal poultry. He spends the entire holiday frantically jerry-rigging a system to cook the bird without using the on-the-fritz gas, finally accepting that it’s just not gonna happen. Until, that is, he peels back the outermost layer of burnt skin to get the succulent, flavorful meat hiding beneath. His combination of total exhaustion and euphoria slide right into the outro song, in which Bob duets with the farmer mascot printed on the turkey’s packaging. Bob articulates his worshipful regard for this choice cut, exalting it as “a true gift from heaven.” Love makes people do crazy things, but love mixed with hunger mixed with a need to prove one’s skill as a back-to-basics cook can drive a man to madness.
47. “The Bleaken Is Coming”
Peace on Earth, goodwill towards man — who needs it? Christmas music can be so namby-pamby, necessitating a tooth-gnashing corrective such as this. The Belcher kids suspect that their mysteriously absent Christmas tree has been snatched up by the mythical nightmare-beast that villagers once called the Bleaken (a clear analog to holiday hellion Krampus), and head off in hot pursuit. The animation does a lot to juice up the song, outfitting Gene, Louise, and Tina in all-black armor befitting a gritty Excalibur reboot and arming them with a Conan the Barbarian sword, a labrys, and a pair of sai knives. Their quest to vanquish the Bleaken gets a boost from the high-octane fretwork that the rest of the Yuletide musical canon has been so sorely missing. Forget about the dusty old Nativity, because December 25th has a new story, and this one features a red-eyed, antlered cryptid beast.
46. “Play Dates”
“Play dates, play dates / havin’ lots of play dates / I want to play with you ‘til we die-ie-ie.” In any other situation, this would be a love song. But because Louise and her nemesis Millie are still in elementary school, the lyrics refer instead to playing Dance Dance Revolution and making macaroni art. Millie has a monomaniacal drive to be Louise’s BFF despite Louise wanting nothing to do with her, the sort of hopeless infatuation not alien to the ‘60s radio pop hits nodded to by the bratty whine of the chorus. Obsession has a place in the high of teenybopper lovesickness, one not so far removed from the central wish of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” — to spend every hour of every day with the person you’re crazy about. A friend-crush is still a crush, after all.
45. “Super Tina”
The ‘70s Wonder Woman TV serial had an all-timer of a theme song, with superheroic trumpeting announcing Lynda Carter as she did her signature transformation-twirl into the lasso-wielding defender of truth, justice, etc. Super Tina may not be in the same league as her more globally accomplished inspiration, but when you need someone to find the corkscrew in the miscellaneous kitchen drawer or stare at butts faster than a speeding train, she’s your gal. In the animation, Tina’s superpowered alter ego does the Carter Twirl, shakes out her feathered hair subtly paying homage to Carter’s era, and does the decidedly less-than-Carterian upkeep of using her t-shirt to clean a smudge off of her glasses. The lowly nerds deserve a champion to represent us just like anyone else, and Super Tina is living proof that even someone bad at running can still save the day.
44. “Roll a Rock to Rock and Roll”
The climax of Zentipede’s General Inzanity comes as our hero, consigned to a Sisyphean eternity of hauling a boulder up a hill, realizes that he can use its propulsive force to free himself from imprisonment. As Bob himself concedes, the allegorical significance is right there on the surface: those of us stuck in the dead-end drudgery of a daily job can find a path to salvation through the liberating forces of hot guitar lixxx. And indeed, songwriter Tim Dacey and band The Elegant Too bring the world-class shredding expected from a prog epic, well aware that the genre planted the demon seed that would eventually grow into the unholy spawn that is hair metal. But for a brief, shining, glorious moment, prog reigned as king with headbangers like these, blowing minds one bloodshot-eyed burnout at a time.
43. “Morse Code Song”
Most professionals enunciate morse code as dots and dashes, but by replacing that with shortened doot and open doo syllables, Tina and her science class partner (voiced by Aparna Nancherla) can fit the international communications system into the dialect of doo-wop music. They conjure the setting of a ‘50s ice cream parlor with this head-boppin’ tune, in which Tina incorrectly translates basic words like “egg” or “cat” as “I love you” and “I’ll always care.” She’s got the spirit of a lover while her partner has the reserved emotional demeanor of a true scientist, their odd-couple dynamic making for a difficult go of their science project but sensational chemistry in song. Throw the soundtrack to Grease into heavy rotation on the PA system aboard a submarine, and you start to get the idea.
42. “Tina’s Assorted Love Songs”
This is a four-in-one, collecting the brief romantic fantasies that Tina instantaneously concocts about everyone she encounters at the auditions for the new Boyz 4 Now member. That’s just how her brain works; she immediately falls head over heels for the idealized version of a boy that she can whip up in her head, whether he’s a workplace rival voiced by Daveed Diggs or a competing pair of friends with the dogfighting tenors of Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad. There’s an aerobics-class scenario involving a sheer T-shirt, an extended John Hughes homage featuring Gad and Rannells’ former Book of Mormon compatriot Rory O’Malley, and a napkin-themed vision of marital bliss, all of it informed by Tina’s tendency to be romantic about romance. She loves love, just sometimes more in theory than in practice.
41. “Amor Por Favor (Me Llamo Tina)”
In Mexico, singers belt out corridos, narrative ballads commemorating the assorted pains and hardships facing the peasant class. That’s the template for this thrown-together duet from Tina, who sings key phrases from her Intro to Spanish class, and Louise, who takes some liberties with the translation. Because Louise wants to convince her much-loathed guidance counselor Mr. Frond not to shack up with her Aunt Gayle, phrases like “El perro es grande” and “Donde esta el baño?” turn into “Stay single forever, protect your heart, avoid guidance counselors.” Dan Mintz’s straining voice as Tina ties the bit together, so impassioned that it threatens to crack at any moment. With Gene backing her up on a convenient ukulele, she sounds like she wouldn’t be out of place busking for coins from generous passersby at a Guadalajara fountain.
40. “The Christmas of My Dreams”
It’s always tough to realize that reality rarely matches up to an ideal created in your head, but that doesn’t mean that those ideals aren’t worth conceiving. For Linda, her perfect Christmas represents an antidote to the year’s downer vibes, something that will bring people together to drink eggnog and forget the bad times. “Christmas of My Dreams” showcases Linda in a warm, generous light, wishing for five carving meat stations and guests from far-away nations, even though the food will probably be burgers and the guest will likely just be Teddy. It’s a nice introduction to the mini-“Bleakening” musical, which takes the audience on a Christmas journey that begins at the Belcher home and ends at an underground nightclub. A dream Christmas might not look like what you thought, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a good time.
38. “The Right Number of Boys 4 U Is 4 (4Ever)”
It’s not necessarily an endorsement of a polymaorous lifestyle, not explicitly anyway, but this uplifting episode-closer celebrates a more innocent kind of free love. This episode opens on Tina’s family giving her a talking-to about being boy-crazy, which she contests as something closer to being boy-focused; she rejects this idea that she has an excess of crush-energy, seeing as that’s what generally fuels her. Every boy she’s ever had feelings for, however momentary — and there are a lot of them — materializes in this season premiere highlight to declare their undying adoration for Tina with the ascending phrase “more, more, more forever!” The song comes from the same place as Michael Stuhlbarg’s moving final monologue from Call Me By Your Name, imploring a passionate young person to keep their heart wide open and welcome every affair de coeur that comes their way.
39. “I Want Some Burgers and Fries”
Gene Belcher’s fast food-themed original has all the simplicity of a timeless anthem: a catchy, repetitive chorus; a throbbing beat, initially achieved by straws and a three-note keyboard melody; and the sheer vocal determination of bored children itching to start a band. When cymbals, a flute, and a warbling extra vocalist (courtesy of Aziz Ansari) are added to the formula, it turns a jingle-in-the-making into a full-blown arena hit, befitting a rock concert or a dance floor. The best Bob’s Burgers songs find a way to lodge themselves in your brain but only make themselves known at the right moment. This one never fails to materialize whenever burgers and/or fries are available to order.
37. “Nothing Makes Me Happy / Nothing Makes Me Happier”
A true workaholic who appreciates a long day over the grill, Bob doesn’t know what to do with himself after his family forces him to take the day off. Eccentric landlord Mr. Fishoeder notices his aimlessness and gives him a lesson in doing nothing, “Nothing Makes Me Happy,” a completely foreign concept to Bob. Later, when he eventually ends up helping out at Patricia’s 77 Sandwiches, he realizes his work-til-you-drop attitude can be a drawback if it keeps you from finding those who care about you; “Nothing Makes Me Happier” finds a balance between loving work and appreciating the family that makes it worthwhile. Fischoeder’s number succeeds on grounds of being a testament to lounging, but Bob’s heartfelt tribute to labor as a source of joy rather than torment will put a lump in your throat. After all, someone has to care so much about cooking burgers that they find romance in crumpled napkins covered in grease.
36. “Girls Being Girls”
When the kids turn the restaurant’s basement into an underground casino while left to their own devices, Gene sees the perfect opportunity to launch a ‘60s-style girl group he’s been putting together. (He found some beehive wigs in the garbage.) Rechristening three of his classmates Dottie Minerva, Misty Gish, and Girl #3, and refashioning himself as their gold-chain-clad Berry Gordy, he books them a gig at the fledgling gambling operation they name The Meat Grinder. The Ronettes and the Crystals don’t have anything to worry about, however; Girl #3 is the only one with the chops and stage presence to really make the swooning ballad come alive. And girls may be girls (may be girls may be girls), but Gene delivers a serviceable rendition of the same song when his act walks out on him.
35. “Here Comes the Meat Plane”
In their evident quest to spoof every single musical genre, no matter how niche, the writers eventually had no choice but to turn on ska. That most ignominious tradition of aggressive brass sections and unforgivable checkered Vans/fedora ensembles gets resurrected here, on a CD that a shady horse-meat dealer (voiced by Ken Marino) puts on to drown out his conversation with wired-up sting agent Bob. Stick the thirty-second clip in a playlist of Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake, and nobody would be able to tell the difference between a gag and the real thing; the sprightly offbeat horn stabs and elaborate percussion syncopation are all identical. Some cooing background vox and audio of Marino making smalltalk keep the song moving at a fleet pace the Mighty Mighty Bosstones would approve of.
34. “I’m Tall Enough”
Boy-averse Louise gets her very first crush on Boyz 4 Now’s resident baby Boo Boo (voiced with buttery hey-girl slickness by Max Greenfield), who assumes frontman duties on another one of the group’s specifically-themed love songs. Boo Boo’s prepubescent body has finally expanded in size enough to qualify him for a ride on a roller coaster, and he’s so amped about it that he serenades the unspecified girl that seems to play the subject of every boy band single. “I’m tall enough to ride your heart / keep your arms and legs inside my cart,” he croons, then applying his silky tenor to a straight-faced recitation of amusement park safety regulations. With a seductive voice like that, he can make legally obligated requests to securely buckle the seat belt sound like an invitation to the prom of your dreams.
33. “I Used to Spend My Time”
Louise’s “Quirky Turkey” play was designed to offend and disturb so that guidance counselor Mr. Frond would shut down the show and give the student body a real half-day before the long Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately, her Carrie-style ending, which ends with bloody giblets and gizzards being projected via air compressor onto an audience of unsuspecting parents, goes too far, forcing the penitent Tina to save the day with “I Used to Spend My Time,” a showstopper about believing in yourself that somehow doesn’t devolve into mawkishness. It helps that the song’s intestinal theme (“Do you have the guts to be yourself?”) has a literal dimension, with Tina throwing turkey parts into an adoring crowd already covered with them. It’s a nice capper to an Ugly Duckling-style musical that began as a sour gag and ends as a sincere triumph.
32. “Derek Dematopolis”
Gayle mostly functions as a thorn in the side of the Belcher family, irritating the hell out of them with her hapless nature and desperate loneliness. Occasionally, however, she has moments that surprise everyone, such as when she sings her sexual ode to teenage crush Derek Dematopolis at their high school reunion. The lyrics are appropriately filthy (“Won’t you enter my Acropolis / And make my yogurt Greek?” but the high-pitched vulnerability evinced by Megan Mullaly throws the entire song in a tender, moving light. Plus, the instrumentation pulls at the heartstrings: an affecting keyboard intro eventually turns into a full-blown rock ballad, with Linda joining in on vocals to close out the song. By the end, some break into tears, and Derek, who initially reacted with discomfort, finds himself so touched by Gayle’s devotion that they later end up hooking up in his car.
31. “Burobu Theme”
It’s a testament to the enduring power of the Pokémon theme song that many of the kids reared on its couplets about catching ‘em all and being the best still remember every line by heart. The Bob’s-universe stand-in, a combination cartoon/trading card game in which all of the creatures battling head-to-head are various slugs, offers tautological elbows to the original’s ribs: “There’s only one way to win the fight / beat the other guy / the one rule of climbing the highest height / is to climb up really high!” In the background, an invisible choir of kids shout out the names of their favorite hybrids, including the Slugaconda, the Slugstronaut, the Slugvertible, and the Slugicopter. It’s easy to see how the kids of Wagstaff could get hooked, leading to the schoolwide ban that cues up the undercover card-trading economy featured in this episode. Who knew repackaged Pokémania could sound so good?
30. “We’re Going to Dinner”
The artist transmutes her torment into an expressive outlet, and in doing so, she is freed. That’s the principle motivating a sizable swath of human history’s creative output, and very much the case in Tina’s baldly stated Thanksgiving musical “The Quirky Turkey.” She plays a gobbler alienated from her “conventionally attractive” peers due to her glasses and “rather smallish buns,” as she admires a handsome pig played by apple-of-her-eye Jimmy Jr. Once the popular kids have all met with an untimely demise by carving fork, it doesn’t take much critical analysis to see the wish fulfillment bleeding through — the entire text has been printed between the lines. It’s clumsy dramaturgy, perhaps, but splaying out their innermost insecurities and desires for all the world to see is just what teenagers do.
29. “I Love U So Much (It’s Scary)”
Boyz 4 Now’s spooky single is not just one of Bob’s Burgers best original songs, but can easily be considered one of the best Halloween songs of the modern era. The group’s signature approach to sensitive, take-it-slow romance gels with the seemingly oppositional theme of frightening monsters; the eponymous boyz unwittingly become monsters of their own timidity as they try to woo their object of affection. The music video featured in the episode “The Hauntening” adds a horror twist to the song’s goofy, rhyme-strained lyrics: The boys become monsters who literally terrorize a Boyz 4 Now fan who secured the role by winning an essay contest. The Belchers’ funny interjections only add to the song (“They switch Allens sometimes”; “It’s like a reverse Thriller!”), but “I Love U So Much” could easily coast on the strength of its chorus, which is so irresistible it even wins over Bob, who joins his family in the sing-a-long with gusto.
28. “The Harry Truman Song”
One of the flat-out silliest songs in Bob’s Burgers repertoire, “Harry Truman” puns on the connection between “hair” and “Harry,” but eventually takes a morbid turn when Linda exclusively focuses on Harry Truman’s demise, i.e. “He’s dead in the ground / He’s dead in the ground / Dead, dead, dead.” Proper context only amplifies the song’s humor: Linda boasts in her Mother-Daughter Healing seminar that she sings the song while braiding Louise’s hair. The song doesn’t require a longer developmental runway. The seamless transition between braiding hair and the death of our 33rd president is more than enough for the original tune to stand on its own two legs. Hairy/Harry Truman would be proud.
27. “Oil Spill”
In 1994, Tori Amos went on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno to perform her single “Icicle,” a song that thinly veils her account of girlhood masturbation in the most threadbare figurative terms. It’s a slightly awkward yet affecting performance, as she drives home the erotic subtext with a breathy, faintly orgasmic delivery. Or as Bob might say, “It’s, uh, not subtle.” That’s how he describes singer-songwriter Tabitha Johansson, who “sings that song about oil spills but you know she’s really talking about her vagina.” Megan Mullally does a spot-on Amos impression as the so-called “sexy pianist,” her voice ululating while she suggestively grinds her pelvis against her piano bench. Creator Loren Bouchard has clarified that he had no intention of making fun at Amos’ expense, but that’s hardly a concern; if it’s parody, it’s clearly rooted in affection.
26. “I’ve Got a Yum Yum”
Linda Belcher’s infectious energy can be a blessing or a curse depending on the right context. When she’s trying to light a fire under the asses of striking museum employees, her proclivity for rhyming chants helps them step up their protest game… until she takes it too far and everyone gets sick of her. John Roberts’s musical background and improvisational talent is on full display as he, through Linda, weaves together memorable chants even though they may not always be on topic. “I’ve Got a Yum Yum” features the best of her cheers (“Boys are from Mars / Girls are from Venus / I’ve got a yum yum / You’ve got a penis”) and offers inappropriate advice about dropping one’s pants. It’s pulled together by a funky beat that will get you out of your seat and ready to repeat nonsense.
25. “Girl Power Jam”
“Girl plus power makes / girl power!” So goes the clarion call of this estrogen-fueled pump-up track, soundtracking a montage of mischief that lets Linda, Tina, Louise, and their limo driver for the night shrug off dumb boys to revel in female company. It’s their spikier take on Galentine’s Day, reclaiming the day from Cupid and using it to celebrate solidarity among women. They crash a date between Jimmy Jr. and the girl he ditched Tina to date, but take the high road and decide not to spoil what’s making the two of them happy, until the male gender disappoints yet again and Tina’s former nemesis joins their girl-gang. It’s impossible to tell whether the main hook goes “This is a girl power jam / we’re all girls — no ma’ams!” or “no mans!” Whether resisting against the dustiness of aging or all the trifling men of the world, it’s a winningly rowdy call to arms among sisters.
24. “Die Hard/Working Girl Medley”
Though definitely overshadowed by “Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl,” the medley that occurs earlier in the episode also features Bob’s Burgers at its musical best. Gene’s underground, DIY Die Hard musical competes with Courtney’s flash-over-substance Working Girl musical, abetted by her showboating father, and the results are imaginative and amusing. For both shows, the central joke lies in the struggle to translate the respective film’s complicated plot into a stage show context, e.g. Tina-as-Sigourney-Weaver rushing through her underhandedness regarding Melanie Griffith’s radio idea. While the Working Girl musical has much better production value, Gene created the best original song: a ukulele-scored Hans Gruber introduction that fits in his murder of Mr. Takagi.
23. “Buckle It Up”
Five seconds. That’s how long it took for Bob’s Burgers to create the definitive jingle about seatbelt safety. The song has no origin story or larger explanation because it requires no additional set-up. Bob doesn’t even offer an obligatory introduction, like “Hey, kids, remember the song?” or something equally corny. They jump into the car and immediately belt out the enduring lyrics: “Buckle it up / Buckle it up / Buckle it up or you’ll die!” For parents who have ever been frustrated by their kids’ disinterest in basic motor vehicle protection, Bob’s Burgers has you covered. Just remember to extend the “Die!” at the end so they get the message.
22. “Parents Make Their Kids Do This For a Reason”
Every indoor child forced to participate in outdoor group activities — like, say, peewee soccer — eventually asks themselves, “Why do my parents make me do this?” Though it’s likely a combination of exercise and building character, the answer can still be vexing. Bob’s Burgers argues that some parents don’t know why they make their kids play sports, but there must be some reason because, well, everyone does it. This general confusion animates one of the series’ most fun interstitial rock songs, complete with indie rawk instrumentation and an amusing pump-up chorus. The tune soundtracks Louise’s soccer team’s utter collapse at the hand of the Blue Dragons, but they eventually get it together just enough to score one goal and avoid the humiliation of being shut out. Maybe parents make their kids play sports to teach them that losing isn’t the end of the world. Or maybe it’s because they hate their children.
21. “Hot Pants Rain Dance”
Gene’s accurate assessment that “It’s Raining Men” holds the title for best disco song about rain shouldn’t obscure the fact that “Hot Pants Rain Dance” stands as a close second. With its pulsing, syncopated beat and repeated chorus imploring you to get out there and take a chance, “Hot Pants” can encourage even the wettest blanket onto the dance floor. Case in point: Bob, an exhausted grump on a good day, finally joins in the Bog to Beach parade float fun and shakes his moneymaker in the rain. Bob’s Burgers emphasizes its community of diverse misfits without forcefully hitting the nail on the head. Just watching the entire ensemble shake their pants in the rain demonstrates that everyone, even old cranks, can have fun together.
20. “The Mad Pooper”
People like to smear poop on things. God knows why, but it must be something programmed into the code of our DNA, from our feces-flinging chimpanzee ancestors to the enigmatic “Mad Crapper” defiling the pages of the National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook Parody. One such vandal descends on the unsuspecting halls of Wagstaff Elementary, cuing this funky selection plucked right from a ‘70s cop movie montage. The sprightly breakbeat and blaring brass section recall Curtis Mayfield, a comparison supported by the hint of stank that vocalist Will Forte applies to the second syllable of “poo-PAH!” Makes a person want to get their wide-lapeled powder-blue leisure suit out the storage unit — just don’t let any poopers get their soiled hands on it.
19. “Groping for Glory”
An ’80s power ballad to rival Joe Esposito’s “You’re The Best,” “Groping for Glory” has all the goofy bravado required to pump someone up to beat a video game or to crash multiple kids’ birthday parties. Aided by a killer keyboard intro and John Roberts’s best arena rock vocalist impression (his delivery of “Sometimes you just gotta say, ‘I don’t give a damn’” absolutely kills), “Groping for Glory” suckers you in with inspiring instrumentation but keeps you around with its nonsensical lyrics: “Shoot your arrow in the sky / Tell the Gods you’ll never die / You’re a real special guy!” Its general silliness supports the episode’s action: Darryl teaches an increasingly stoned Bob the skills to beat Jimmy Pesto’s high score at Burgerboss. Then again, aren’t we all, in minor and major ways, groping in the direction of glory?
18. “Let My People Rock”
Bob’s Burgers succeeds at specific parodies of relatively niche interests, i.e. General Inzanity by Zentipede, a lampoon of mid-’70s rock operas — specifically ones with needlessly dense plots that revolve around transparent teenage rebellion, which is most of them. Bob explains the album’s Sisyphus-inspired story to Gene: General Inzanity imprisons The Rebel for writing a resistance song and sentences him to hard labor in a rock quarry where he pushes boulders up a mountain. The Rebel eventually gets the idea to “roll rocks” down the mountain to save rock ‘n’ roll. (“The plot is…not subtle,” Bob concludes.) Though the Bob’s Burgers team eventually released a complete General Inzanity mini-album, “Let My People Rock” stands as the fictional record’s best track. Molded in the vein of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall,” it encapsulates the pondering self-righteous of adolescence (“We are not machines / We like to wear tight jeans!”) with some kick-ass prog-style riffs.
17. “Nice Things Are Nice / Bad Things Are Bad”
Rock and roll is all about making it look easy, but conversely, a good showtune is proudly and nakedly effortful. Ensemble numbers wow the audience with their level of coordination and planning, and while the medium of animation can streamline the work to a certain extent, there’s still a lot going into this big end-of-act showstopper. Time-tested musical theater tropes get trotted out and rejuvenated: a premise oriented around one enthusiastic character convincing an unenthusiastic opposite to do something, a harmonic counterpoint between their vocal parts, spotlights bringing in disparate members of the cast from their individual locations. They’re all united in song, upholding the age-old theatre tradition of chasing your dream no matter how crazy, whether that’s saving a goitered carousel horse or opening a humble beachfront café. It’s the sort of high-execution piece approximated with destructive metaphors, a song to shake the rafters and bring the house down.
16. “Weekend at Mort’s”
A shorty but a goodie, “Weekend at Mort’s” appeared early enough in the series’ run for it to feel like an odd, absurd digression, especially when it’s sung by the Belcher family, in unison, as they walk down the street to stay in their regular customer’s mortuary for the weekend. The extended version in the end credits adds a jaunty, surf-adjacent beat to the song, which only amplifies its catchiness and permanently sealed the music as one of the series’ best elements. Everything from the low-key one-line chorus to the “UH, UH, UH”’s signaled Bob’s Burgers’ commitment to silliness and musical acumen.
15. “Watching You From a Distant Place”
‘80s nostalgia has been almost imperceptibly woven into this peppy torch song. It’s in the twinkling cascade of synths that further gild the shimmer filling in the background. It’s in the Doobie Brothers tinge of Chris Maxwell’s timbre, brought back after working “BM in the PM” for all it was worth. But mostly, it’s in the catchy melody that wriggles in through your cochlea and lodges itself in your memory for untold weeks. Pop singles like this — it belongs in a class with “Take on Me” by A-ha — have been chemically engineered to stimulate some cortex that responds to the magic combination of major chords, as if the right progression can hypnotize someone into mumbling “my satellite’s spinning right out of control / transmission to the moon, now the message is go” over the next month. Which, of course, it can.
14. “Sky Kiss”
Every ranked list reflects the taste of its makers at least to an extent, now matter how authoritative it may present itself as being, and here’s where our biases show. Fittingly for an episode set on February 14th, the credits music follows the example of ‘90s shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine. The sheer effort that this half-minute exit theme must have required, in conjunction with the hyper-specificity of its allusive roots, results in something extraordinary. The execution has been played completely straight-faced, sonic fidelity taking precedence over humor. The song’s YouTube comment section is full of astonished fans, confessing that they listen to “Sky Kiss” as music unto itself and begging for a full-length track. For now, the mesmerizing “looped a few times” edit will have to do.
13. “Daddy / The Itsy Bitsy Stripper / Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex”
Like many frustrated musicians, Tommy Jaronda (voiced by Fred Armisen) believes that his music just needs the right audience to appreciate it, despite all evidence to the contrary. So he exploits his day job as a health inspector to pressure Bob to let him play in the restaurant, and subsequently alienates everyone with his clumsy songs, which run the gamut of inappropriate material: an abusive father, an “itsy bitsy stripper” whose legs wrap around his soul, and posturing about being good at sex. In terms of sheer laughs, Jaronda’s confessional style brings out Bob’s Burgers at its best. Worse, the awful lyrics and terrible melodies counterintuitively worm their way into the brain. Even Teddy was moved to tears by Tommy’s abrasive repertoire.
12. “Kill the Turkey”
A certain sort of personality lends itself to constant musical improvisation; there are inveterate singers in this world, filling the silence in the quotidian with tossed-off little ditties and melodies strung together spur-of-the-moment. One of the writing staff’s strongest suits is the ability to approximate this habit in the dialogue for Linda, a prime example of someone who cannot stifle the song inside them. In an interview with H. Jon Benjamin, however, he affirmed that Linda’s voice actor John Roberts really did come up with this ode to Thanksgiving on the spot. You can hear the making-it-up-as-you-go quality in the loose disconnect between unrhyming phrases, and the disjointed melodic line jumping from one phrase to the next. Linda’s a great believer in enthusiasm over technical skill, whether in dancing or math or songcraft. All you need to be a master singer is pizzazz; the songs write themselves.
11. “Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl”
One of the strengths of Bob’s Burgers lies in its willingness to embrace the maxim that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. This might sound like a passive aggressive knock on the writing, but there’s something winning about the staff’s tendency to take a stupid concept and run with it until it circles back to being genius again. In this instance, that concept would be “a stage musical mash-up of 1988’s most beloved cinematic releases,” due to Gene and Courtney’s failure to reach an agreement when he wants to adapt Die Hard and she wants to do Working Girl. Separated by galaxies of genre, the two movies couldn’t be more incongruous with one another, and so the show turns that oil-and-water contrast into the whole bit. The multi-part harmonies in the chorus capture the rich, full sound of a stage play’s Act II finale, an important bedrock of skill (courtesy of guest artist Carly Simon!) that grounds the deliberate straw-grasping of the lyrics in a knowing, lucid joke.
10. “Butt Phone”
Composer John Dylan Keith crafts the series’ best head-banger and it only features a few key ingredients: Robert Ben Garant’s monotone delivery, a propulsive drumbeat, and a kickin’ guitar riff. In the episode, Critter, the leader of the biker gang the One-Eyed Snakes, communicates with Bob on a “butt phone” smuggled into prison so that he can be bailed out. But context isn’t really necessary to appreciate this track, which is all but designed to hype you up before starting your day, whether that means working a boring day job at an electronics superstore or burning parking tickets with your friends. Sometimes you just need to rock out.
9. “Happy Crappy Place”
Bob’s Burgers’ status quo requires Bob to be unsatisfied, so when he briefly finds happiness, it’s a good bet that it’s at the expense of someone else. Hence, “Happy Crappy Place,” which follows Bob’s elation at his new spot in the community garden, but in exchange, he agrees to have the garden master’s son and Louise’s nemesis, Logan, “intern” at the restaurant. Obviously the situation not built to last, but the call-and-response song, about a dream coming true while a personal hell manifests, features Bob’s Burgers in pure karmic mode. Nothing good comes without suffering.
8. “Lifting Up the Skirt of the Night”
This funk track appeared early in Bob’s Burgers’ run (the sixth episode to be exact) when the series was a little more risqué than its current iteration. “Lifting Up the Skirt” soundtracks Bob’s brief sojourn as a cab driver on the night shift where he’s introduced to his town’s seedy underbelly. But he doesn’t go full Travis Bickle when immersed in the muck. Instead, he embraces it, vomit and all, and even befriends a trio of trans sex workers. (Their depiction is very 2011, but the writers’ hearts were in the right place.) “Lifting Up the Skirt” stands alone as a groove worthy of any dance floor setlist, with its disco warbling and synth intro. Yet, it also points forward to a time when songs like it would be a regular staple on the series.
7. “Electric Love”
So, for context: to spite her Thomas Edison-loving substitute teacher, Louise has penned a musical about Edison’s tragic and fictive love affair with Topsy, the elephant that he factually murdered to prove he could generate and control electric current. Tina and Gene don’t exactly have world-class pipes, so Louise pulls a Singin’ in the Rain and dubs in the more capable singing of Mr. Fischoeder and Aunt Gayle. The whole harebrained scheme culminates in a stirring love duet between the leads, boasting one of those big, cathartic Broadway hooks that the audience can hum on the car ride home. The absurdity of each couplet perfectly befits a premise that’s completely ludicrous the begin with, their elephant-human love expressed with such pearls as “and I never noticed / the curve of her trunk / and I never noticed / his electric junk.” From the crowd, a clearly impressed Bob mumbles to Linda, “Wow, did Gene write this?” It’s a flex, but one the writers have earned.
6. “Coal Mine”
One of Bob’s Burgers’ funniest, most indelible moments in its entire run: the members of Boyz 4 Now, the series’ resident boy group, breaking through a teen girl’s bedroom wall, dressed in miner garb, presenting her a diamond and asking her to be their “coal mine.” At this point, Bob’s Burgers hadn’t even delved deep into the Boyz 4 Now mythology, but “Coal Mine” is a perfect introduction to their absurd, saccharine material. Everything from the belabored metaphor in the lyrics to the ridiculous music video that features the boys “mining the cave for love” explains the chastely romantic appeal of the group, which even ensnares the cynical Louise. They know they’re breathing toxins, but you’re lookin’ foxy — or, alternatively, foxin’!
5. “Twinkly Lights”
Think the meaning of Christmas is Good Christian charity, gratitude for one’s blessings, milk and cookies? Think again! It’s actually the occasion for this decadent, unstoppable disco-diva LGBT anthem sung by drag queen Miss XXXmas (also known as Cleavage to Beaver, and known out in our flesh-and-blood world as Internet sensation Todrick Hall). The lyrics celebrate the glory of diversity with a seasonal metaphor, inviting the listener to picture a house decorated most beautifully with a variety of colored lights, rather than plain old white. Our vibrant differences make the collective whole that much more magnificent, whether we’re talking wintertime exterior design or the rainbow of human race. In the most unexpected Christmas miracle of all, this floor-filler offers the first instance of a carol that revelers can actually dance to. With a relentless pulsating beat and a message everyone can get behind, it deserves to be enshrined as a new holiday standard.
4. “BM in the PM”
Chris Maxwell’s stellar impression of Michael McDonald pays off dividends with this eminently catchy, ’80s-inspired number about evening bowel movement routines. The “she” in the song refers to Linda, whose sudden disappearance sends Bob and the kids toward her favorite hangout spots, which include the Royal Oyster Hotel lobby bathroom. However, the concierge and Tim the hotel pianist assure him that it’s too early for a visit from Linda, hence the song in question. Bob’s Burgers’ musical métier is sweet, sophomoric humor that reaches for the earworm brass ring. “BM in the PM” will have you humming all the way to the toilet.
3. “Bad Stuff Happens in the Bathroom”
Shame and guilt are the twin forces in “Bad Stuff Happens in the Bathroom,” one of Bob’s Burgers most acclaimed tunes, an episode-stopper made for the series’ 100th episode (production wise, 107th to air) that sends our favorite father-daughter team soaring to the skies. Glued to the toilet after a Louise prank gone wrong, Bob awaits help just as the people from Coasters magazine arrive for a profile interview. “Bad Stuff” features the trickster Louise at her most remorseful, since she knows she’s responsible for her father’s potential embarrassment. When she eventually rallies the town to support her father, albeit by calling him “Toilet Bob,” the catharsis feels earned. Plus, The National and Låpsley’s downtempo, synth-heavy cover throws the whole song in a moodier register.
2. “Bad Girls”
Television has long capitalized on people’s illicit desire to go, or “break,” bad, but what if you only wanted to dip your toes in the water? The chorus-forward, punk-adjacent track “Bad Girls” embodies the feeling of being in over your head with the absolute wrong crowd. In this case, it’s Tina falling in with Tammy, the new girl with a rude ‘tude, who convinces her to act out of character and shoplift, invite boys over without permission, and even drink (margarita mix, but still). Bad girls, as the song says, don’t want to do any of the activities that make Tina the horse-obsessed, erotic-friend-fiction-writing girl she is, but peer pressure might be the baddest girl of them all. Though the episode’s version of the song amuses because it serves as commentary on the action, the St. Vincent cover features extended lyrics and a snarling delivery. It’s worth pondering: “Are the boys and their cute butts really worth all this?”
1. “I Do”
In any job, such as one where you rank Bob’s Burgers’ original songs, it can be easy to believe that what you’re doing is meaningless, especially when you know people with loftier, nobler professions. Bob’s modus operandi is cooking burgers, and when he’s tasked to cater an impromptu wedding for two people who met in his restaurant, he takes the job very seriously, even though the entire event lies on shaky foundation. “I Do” captures our hero at his most vulnerable, desperately convincing himself of his work’s importance, while his better half, Linda, tries to reassure him that this borderline-shotgun wedding doesn’t hinge on his performance. A beautiful, rousing number that sticks in your head like a virus, “I Do” carves out space for the existential and the empirical, and demonstrates how insecurity can blind us to obvious truths. It’s only our closest loved ones who can open our eyes.