There’s a reason why over a decade after Flight of the Conchords ended its run on HBO, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clements still tour playing songs from the show. The New Zealand musical comedy duo first introduced many of the songs that appeared on the show in their special for HBO’s One Night Stand in 2005, including fan-favorites like “Business Time,” “Boom,” and “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros.” But Flight of the Conchords also introduced plenty of new great songs, while giving the older ones hilarious backstories.
It’s difficult to decide how to rank Flight of the Conchords’ tracks. Not only are McKenzie and Clements excellent songwriters who seamlessly craft songs that are both sweet and absurd, but fans each have their takes on what makes a Flight of the Conchords song top the list. To narrow it down, this ranking only includes fully fleshed songs, so “She-Wolf” and “Rock the Party” won’t be found here. So, to mark the 15th anniversary of Flight of the Conchords, here’s a definitive ranking of the 44 songs featured on the HBO show.
This might be a controversial position for “Oh, Dance, Baby,” but hear me out. If it’d been released as a standalone gag online, it would’ve been perfect. It’s Bret doing a parody of music videos made for songs at karaoke spots, featuring him singing in Korean. The English translation of the lyrics is absurd, with lines like “Sometimes love is as sweet as kalbi / Sometimes the taste is likened to milk of a cow who has done nothing wrong.” But, in the Flight of the Conchords universe, it doesn’t quite fit. It pales in comparison to the more memorable, hilarious songs featured on the show.
When Flight of the Conchords are tasked with writing a jingle for a toothpaste made for women, they can’t turn down their first opportunity to make money, even though they are absolutely clueless about what would make women want to buy a toothpaste—not to mention that they have no idea what women like in general. They love to weave…possibly? They have breasts and long-ish hair? Yeah, that sounds about right. The lyrics are amusing, but the jingle doesn’t feel as catchy as other short ditties from the show like “Albi the Racist Dragon.”
The issue with “Friends” is that it appears in an episode that’s one of the least exciting from the series. Mel’s song “Dreams” is the standout from “Murray Takes It to the Next Level,” while “Friends” doesn’t feel quite as whimsical and silly as many of the other songs featured on the show. It almost feels like a bland version of the “F.U.N. Song” from SpongeBob Squarepants, lacking a chorus that’ll follow you over a decade later.
“Demon Woman” had all the potential to be a great song. It comes up when Jemaine becomes entangled with Karen (Mary Lynn Rajskub) who wants Jemaine to pretend to be Art Garfunkel in bed, pestering him to sing “Bright Eyes.” Why Jemaine would launch into a parody of Cliff Richard’s song instead of a Garfunkel one while dressed as Garfunkel is beyond reason, but even more questionable than that is why such a forgettable song would be included on the show in the first place. We do get some Jemaine hip-swinging action though, so that’s a plus.
“Rambling Through the Avenues of Time” has a great back-and-forth between lovelorn Bret and an annoyed Jemaine who just wanted some damn bread, not for his bandmate-roommate to get distracted falling for some lady he hasn’t even talked to: “She was comparable to Cleopatra
(Quite old) / She’s like Shakespeare’s Juliet (What, thirteen?).” But this parody of “Piano Man” and “Where Do You Go To My Lovely” rambles on a bit without much excitement.
It’s a treat when Rhys Darby gets to have his own musical moment, even though he’s not the one singing (the voice we hear is actually Andrew Drost). “Rejected” attempts to turn this opera number into a spectacle. What’s more dramatic than Murray belting out lyrics about being fired by the band while standing over a balcony with a 360 degree view of New York City’s skyline? But it’s not a Flight of the Conchords song that fans would think of while remembering their favorites. It lacks the unforgettable, “oh god this song will follow me for the rest of my life” aspect that so many songs from the show have.
Usually, no matter how ridiculous a Flight of the Conchords song is, it somehow fits into the story well. But “Angels” feels like it comes out of nowhere, and even though the lyrics should be memorable (it’s a song about angels fucking!) and sounds like Velvet Underground, it’s sadly pretty underwhelming.
Is Murray a good manager? Absolutely not. Poor guy sucks at everything. So when Bret and Jemaine try to cheer him up by writing him a song, they struggle to find genuine compliments. He umm…well, he has a job, all his limbs, and a sensible nose. He’s good at matching his ties to his clothes. The lyrics are great, but the song doesn’t get to be at “FOTC classic” level because it’s not very sonically enticing.
Flight of the Conchords songs often teeter between corny and cool, but this West Side Story parody is just plain corny. It’s catchy, sure, but has the opposite effect of its name. When you have a nearly-perfect earworm like “Hurt Feelings” in the same episode, it’s tough to measure up to that.
This one’s amusing, because it’s Bret and Jemaine attempting to talk about serious issues (Gun violence! Disease! Child slavery! Death!) in a very Flight of the Conchords way. “There’s people on the streets getting diseases from monkeys,” sings Jemaine, seemingly predicting the hysteria over the resurgence of the very scary-looking monkeypox. It’s definitely a fun one lyrically, serving as a PSA parody of sorts, but fans know there are far better Flight of the Conchords songs.
The one thing that’s better than when Bret and Jemaine have hilariously mopey songs about being rejected by a love interest is when they sing about feeling slighted by one another. In this case, it’s Jemaine being upset that Bret chose his new girlfriend Coco (played by former Younger star and Broadway veteran Sutton Foster) over the band. Jemaine goes on and on about love being like a “roll of sellotape.” Most of the song isn’t particularly special, but the chorus (“Brown paper, white paper/Stick it together with sellotape of love”) is hard to forget.
This is not a bad song by any means. It’s fun and macabre, with Bret singing in a Russian accent about being stranded on a boat with “Petrov” (Mel’s husband, Doug, played by David Costabile) and Yelyena (Mel, played by Kristen Schaal), who gradually eat him as he sleeps. It’s not a song that most fans would necessarily consider to be a favorite, but the visual gag is great. It’s equally as enjoyable when Jemaine fills in as Petrov during live performances.
This Beck parody has great lyrics; I’d even go as far as saying they’re some of the best within Flight of the Conchords’ songs. What’s better than Bret tapping into his kinky side by singing about all the weird things he’s into that are simultaneously bizarre and PG-13, like nibbling chips off his lover’s hips while watching the moon eclipse? But while the lyrics are memorable, the song doesn’t sonically stack up to the other horny songs from the show, like “Sugalumps” and “If You’re Into It.”
“Fashion Is Danger” comes up when Bret and Jemaine get addicted to hair gel, tapping into their ‘80s fantasies by parodying “Fade to Grey” by Visage. This is the only full song featured on this episode, and though it’s a good one, it’s not amazing enough to stand on its own. It does prove that Bret’s voice pairs perfectly with dark synths, though.
Sally (Rachel Blanchard) is one Flight of the Conchords’ biggest muses. The unavailable love interest who’s been entangled with both Bret and Jemaine is the subject of fan-favorites “Business Time” and “The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room).” There are no bad songs about her. But when it comes to “Song For Sally,” a ballad where Bret and Jemaine commiserate over losing the girl of their dreams, it’s not quite as great as the others.
With “Frodo,” Flight of the Conchords has a charming meta moment, given that Bret McKenzie appears in the Lord of the Rings movies as an elf. It’s even funnier when you think about how McKenzie’s character in LOTR was given the name “Figwit” by fans, an acronym for “Frodo is grea… who is THAT?!???” This song almost feels like a fever dream with all its nerdy goodness: Bret as Frodo! Bob’s Burgers co-stars Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal contributing vocals! Bret as a heavy metal Legolas! But there’s too much going on in this two minute-long recap of J.R.R. Tolkien’s story, with a messy mash-up of genres (including a rap and a medieval-style melody), failing to make “Frodo’’ stick in fans’ heads as much as other songs from the show.
Every song on this episode is great, and while the song that shares its title with the episode is a great one, it’s somehow not the best one on it (that honor goes to “We’re Both in Love with a Sexy Lady”). Still, there’s plenty to love about “Love Is a Weapon of Choice.” It’s a power ballad, partially inspired by Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”—but that’s not even the best part! Kristen Wiig lends her vocals on this one as Brahbrah, the woman Bret and Jemaine are fighting for. If anything, “Love Is a Weapon of Choice” is a reminder that Flight of the Conchords should’ve given us more songs with Wiig.
In this song, Jemaine dared to ask why a heterosexual guy can’t tell another heterosexual guy that he thinks his bootie is fly. He made some good points! “Bret, You’ve Got It Going On” was ahead of its time, coming out when “no homo” was still annoyingly said by men insecure with their sexuality. And, let’s be real, Jemaine was right when he said “Some girly out there must be needy for a weedy shy guy.” There’s a reason why there are too many uncomfortably thirsty tweets about Michael Cera out there! This is an anthem for any guy trying to boost his best guy friend’s spirits…if you ignore the part about Jemaine putting a wig on a sleeping Bret to pretend he’s a lady when he’s too sexually depraved.
Flight of the Conchords gave Sarah McLachlan a run for her money with this hilariously sad song bringing awareness to epileptic dogs for a charity show. This song makes the middle of the ranking because it’s so memorable over a decade later. It’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for epileptic dogs. What’s not to love?
This song is by Bret and Jemaine’s rival band Crazy Dogggz. In this episode, Todd Barry and Demitri Martin ditch the Flight of the Conchords members to join forces and make their own mega hit. It’s the single that turns Murray into a callous rich guy who neglects Bret and Jemaine to profit off Crazy Dogggz and honestly, I don’t blame him. It’s so catchy! If the show had been made in the 2020s, the song would’ve likely become a TikTok dance craze.
Rhys Darby got his musical moment where he actually sings with “Leggy Blonde”— and it’s a great song! It’s simultaneously heart-wrenching, sweet, and funny as Murray sings about the hot tech support lady leaving the office: “I’ll never get, I’ll never get to be with you / I’ll never get to share another cup of tea with you / Never get to let you know how much I think of you / I’ll never get to tear your clothes off on the photocopier.” Compared to other fan-favorites, it might not seem as exceptional, but once you listen to it, you’ll find yourself singing “Leggy, leggy, leggy, leggy” all day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
A Flight of the Conchords song in the style of David Bowie, what a combo! This is a wonderful tribute to Bowie, that fits equally as a touching homage and a campy parody. The same could be said about the episode as a whole, where Bret imagines Bowie as his Jiminy Cricket of sorts, imparting wisdom to him (albeit in ill-advised ways) on how to feel confident.
This is the best song featuring Mel from the series. It’s whimsical and childish in a delightful way. It almost feels like it belongs in a children’s TV show like Sesame Street. While it’s Kristen Schaal’s moment to shine, the best bit is Bret and Jemaine as cookies singing in an pseudo-Slavic accent reminiscent of Salt and Pepper from Blue’s Clues.
In the first season, Jemaine tends to have the most moments where he loses his mind over some attractive woman, so this is one of the first instances where Bret shows his horny side. The line “She’s so hot, she’s making me sexist…bitch?” remains one of the best from the show and this Shaggy and Sean Paul-inspired dancehall track is plain ridiculous in all the right ways. It’s hard to top Bret declaring himself to be the “Boom King” while shaking his tiny butt.
Most Flight of the Conchords songs are memorable because of their outlandish lyrics, but “A Kiss Is Not a Contract” works as an excellent consent anthem. The words “Just because you’ve been exploring my mouth doesn’t mean you get to take an expedition further south” will always be important for everyone to remember. That’s not to say that the song doesn’t also enter silly territory while speaking on an important subject, though, like when Jemaine chimes in that you can buy him a burrito with “some beans and rice” but it “won’t get you into pant’s paradise.”
Perhaps Bret and Jemaine should’ve seen trouble coming after they met the women’s water polo team at their hotel and likened them to mermaids in the song. The ladies used their womanly appeal to lure the guys into handing them their room number and signature to get free drinks. “Mermaids” is so pleasant to listen to that the lyrics almost don’t matter. It’s not as funny or lyrically strong as other songs, but it still makes the top 20 because it’s a musical highlight of the episode.
This is another Season 1 standout that sticks with you years after watching the show. Sure, the lyrics haven’t aged super well (“Oh you sexy hermaphrodite lady-man-ladies with your sexy lady bits and your sexy man bits too. Even you must be in to you-ooo-ooo”—what the fuck, Jemaine?). But there’s something absurdly genius about rhyming “lady” with “Bret-y.”
“Foux Du Fa Fa” is très bien. You don’t have to understand what Flight of the Conchords are singing to love it; after all, it’s mostly nonsense mixed with random French phrases. Bret and Jemaine’s over-the-top French accents are so charming and comical that this song instantly brings joy.
It’s hard to fail while making a parody of one of the 2000s biggest pop songs (Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps”), so Jemaine’s song about his “sugalumps” is a winner. With rhymes that are only rivaled by Peaches’ “Fuck The Pain Away,” “Sugalumps” is one of the best-written Flight of the Conchords songs. Just look at this incredible line: “My candy balls cause a kerfuffle /
The ladies, they hustle to ruffle my truffle / If you party with the party prince / You get two complementary after dinner mints.” And, of course, it is catchy as fuck.
I’ll say it: this “Same Girl” parody is better than the original song. Not only does it have an infectious beat, but pairing a sultry rhythm with comical lyrics makes this one of the best Flight of the Conchords songs: “Are you talking about a girl with a beautiful smile? / Yeah! / Like strawberry wild? / Yeah! Yeah! / Blueberry tracksuit pants! / White chocolate skin! / And socks! / That sounds like her!” It also helps that the “sexy lady” is played by Kristen Wiig.
It can be the year 2052 and Flight of the Conchords fans will still likely remember the lyrics to “Motha’uckas.” The self-censored rap isn’t quite at the level of brilliance of “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros,” but it’s certainly a standout amongst the lengthy list of songs featured on the show.
The show’s pilot has some of the best songs and that includes “Not Crying.” Bret and Jemaine come up with a humorous list of why they’re teary-eyed but are absolutely not crying from heartbreak. There are so many great excuses for watery eyes mentioned in the song to choose from, but my personal favorite is from “cutting up making lasagna for one.”
Yes, the word “prostitute” feels so antiquated now that it’s cringey. But that doesn’t mean that “You Don’t Have To Be a Prostitute” isn’t a banger. The “Roxanne” parody where Bret begs Jemaine to not try to do sex work has one of the catchiest choruses in the series: “You don’t have to be a prostitute / No no no no no / You can say no to being a man-ho.”
“If You’re Into It” is easy to fall in love with. What starts off as a twee, romantic-yet-horny song by Bret for his new girlfriend Coco turns into a deranged threesome proposition. Bret sings about wanting to hang out with Coco and take off his clothes around her and have her be naked too—but only if that’s what she’s into. That’s sweet. But things get weird when Bret suggests double-teaming her with her roommate, Stu. It’s one of those moments that reminds you why Flight of the Conchords songs are so enjoyable. Just when you think you know where something is going, there’s a hilarious twist involved that makes the song even better.
“The Prince of Parties” is a classic for a reason. It sounds like a rejected Beatles song from the band’s trippy last years and the lyrics are nonsensical fun. What does “you’re a tasty piece of pastry, you’re so lighty flighty flakey” even mean? Nobody knows! But that’s the point. It feels like we’re on the acid trip with Bret along for the ride.
This is hands down one of the catchiest songs on Flight of the Conchords. And, no matter your gender, I think we can all agree that Jemaine was right when he sang that there are too many cis men taking up room on the dance floor.
Every lyric in this rap is pure gold, especially: “My lyrics are bottomless / Sometimes our rhymes are polite / Like, thank you for the dinner Ms. Right / That was very delicious, goodnight / Sometimes they are obscene / Like a pornographic dream / NC-17 with ladies in a stream of margarine.” It’s no surprise that it became a real-life hit, reaching No.67 in the 2008 Triple J Hottest 100.
This isn’t just an excellent song for Flight of the Conchords; it’s an excellent song period. Hell, it even was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. That’s how great it is! The Pet Shop Boys-style track rings true for anyone who decided to live in New York City (or any major city), with some harsh truths: “Check your mind, how’d it get so bad? / What happened to those other underpants you had? / Look in your pockets, haven’t found a cent yet / Landlord’s on your balls, ‘Have you paid your rent yet?’”
Some casual fans might question why a song that’s supposed to be from a TV show within the TV show would make it so high on this list, since it’s technically not a Bret and Jemaine song (though Jemaine sings it). But “Albi the Racist Dragon” is beloved by the show’s biggest fans because it’s one of those songs that is brilliant in every way. What’s funnier than the concept of a theme song for a TV show about a racist dragon?
Everything about “Robots” works in its favor: the concept of a song about murderous robots from the “distant future” … of the year 2000, the rhyme of “gasses” with “asses,” Bret’s robot noises. It’s the first “real-world” song introduced on the show as being written by the band, letting viewers know exactly what kind of kooky guys these Kiwis are.
Many of the best Flight of the Conchords songs mix sweetness with outlandish lyrics, and “Carol Brown” is no exception. Besides being a standout from the show, it’s also beloved by fans from the live Flight of the Conchords performances. It works as an adorable love song, where Jemaine is telling his new Australian girlfriend Keitha that though he’s fucked up every relationship in the past for a myriad of reasons, he wants to make things work with her. The choir of ex-girlfriends actually sounds lovely, making it feel like a real love song (and no wonder, with Sia among those singing). But there are still plenty of playful lines like “Jan / Met another man / Lisa got amnesia / Just forgot who I am.”
Nearly every rap in Flight of the Conchords is about the band questioning why they can’t just be accepted for being softies, and “Hurt Feelings” is the best of those. When Murray asks the guys if they’ve ever had hurt feelings after Bret and Jemaine diss every rapper they can think of during a library gig, they launch into the track, detailing everything that’s made them feel miffed: friends not complimenting a homemade meal, forgotten birthdays, friends lying about being unavailable to hang when they’re actually going to the theater to watch Maid in Manhattan. We can thank Flight of the Conchords for making being in touch with your feelings cool.
This is the first song featured on the show, and it’s such an excellent way to start. It’s difficult to top! While some Flight of the Conchords tracks are memorable for their catchy choruses, all of “The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room)” sticks with you because every line is pure excellence. It’s no surprise that this song was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. It lost to Sarah Silverman’s “I’m Fucking Matt Damon,” which is also a classic so that’s fair, but its loss still stings.
Sally truly gets the best songs. This one isn’t Bret and Jemaine’s attempt at penning a love song for her, but rather Jemaine getting a bit too excited fantasizing about what it’d be like to have sex with her. There are so many reasons why this song tops the list. For starters, it’s so hard to resist singing along to its chorus. Try listening to “Business Time’’ without belting out “It’s business, it’s business time!” But, besides that, it’s the fact that even in his fantasies, Sally doesn’t seem to want to engage with Jemaine, while he’s obliviously trying to sleep with her: “You lean in and whisper something sexy in my ear like ‘I might go to bed now, I’ve got work in the morning’ / I know what you’re trying to say, girl / You’re trying to say, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s business time.’” Every detail is hilarious, including how Sally wears an old team building exercise t-shirt to bed with a curry stain on it that somehow still turns Jemaine on.
Tatiana Tenreyro is a pop culture journalist whose work has appeared on The A.V. Club, SPIN, The FADER, and Billboard. She’s a former member of the Weezer fan club and shamefully still owns the shirt—just don’t tell anyone. You can challenge her hot takes on Twitter @tatianatenreyro.