Back in April, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s season finale ended the same way it had begun: with Rebecca losing her grip on reality and also losing sight of all the important people right in front of her. Now that we officially have a premiere date for the highly-anticipated second season (October 21), it feels like the right time to celebrate the incredible music that made this show so great. There’s a great mix of styles among the 39 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend songs, ranging from rap to jazz, to pop and R&B. And lyrically, the songs on this list are better than much of what can be heard on the radio lately. Trust me when I say I’ll be blasting “I Give Good Parent” next time I’m off to a soiree with the in-laws. With so many different musical elements making up the soundtrack to this show, it’s difficult picking favorites; it all depends on whether you prefer Bloom’s mad rap skills, Champlin’s dazzling Broadway style or Fontana’s take on nineties alt rock. Prep yourselves for Season Two, and join us as we celebrate the amazing tracks that made up the unforgettable first season.
The boy band made up of four Joshes was difficult to get through—visually and melodically. Lyrically however, it was nauseatingly cute, as Josh is addressing everything that’s wrong with Rebecca and offering to fix it. But honestly, I doubt even four Joshes are man enough to put up with the emotional wreck that is Rebecca Bunch. Josh slipped into the boy band role so easily, honestly, it was a bit eerie.
Ahhh, young love! Doesn’t this song just take you back to the days when you still hand wrote saccharine love letters? Back to the time when your heart was still intact and blissfully unaware of the many big-footed douchebags waiting to stomp all over it? Sixteen-year-old Rebecca’s love letter to Joshua Felix Chan is sweetly hormonal and just a touch dramatic. In other words, not all that different from the carefully written notes I dropped into a couple of mailboxes when I was a kid.
Lily & The Parlour Tricks already set us up for supermarket-romancing with their new single Broken Hearts/Bones earlier this year and, as a result, we’re starting to get into love stories that unfold in the frozen food section. Marty’s sweet serenade to Ally is completely delightful. Who knew garlic, pimento and olives could sound so lovely in verse?
Josh has never been good at expressing himself with words and he seems to have been stuck in a teenaged, skateboarding mindframe for a long time. As a result, hearing him release his frustrations in this Rocky-montage-meets-Footloose-garage scene with little more than the words “angry” and “mad” works beautifully. Add in a few grunts and aaarghs for good measure and that’s about as much personality as you’ll ever get from Joshie.
Oh, poor Rebecca! All that spanking and Greg’s wrecking her lady parts has given Rebecca the feels, and she’s no longer sure if it’s just about sex… or oh, my god: does she like him? Plenty of us are routing for team #Grebecca—the two of them together make more sense than Josh and Rebecca ever will.
I wish a hairband would show up to sing in my ear whenever I find myself in an embarrassing situation I can’t talk myself out of. Granted, they didn’t help Rebecca all that much, ultimately just confusing the many lies and voices in her head. But at least she didn’t have to face that panicked oh-shit-I’ve-been-caught-out-AGAIN moment all on her own. Her facial expression in this scene is priceless—it’s the way any proper nineties girl would react to a Motley Crue-looking eighties band these days.
The title of this song is a bit misleading because as far as I’m concerned, Rebecca wasn’t feeling “kinda naughty” that night; more like “kinda, totally more damaged than usual.” And sure, that may sound a bit harsh; I guess there are many of us who’ve had that kind of girl crush—the one where you can’t really tell if you want to smooch your newfound BFF or if you really just want to take over her identity. “Feeling Kinda Naughty” isn’t one of Bloom’s best songs, but it deserves a big thumbs up for one specific reason. What started out as a parody of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” actually translated into what Perry’s lyrics would have sounded like had they stemmed from an honest place.
Yeah, you read correctly: Ricky-freakin’-Lake. Though, if you watched the series, you can’t be that surprised. Dr. Phil made an appearance, so why not Ricki Lake as a dream ghost? The trio harmonize in aid of pointing troubled people like Rebecca (and the guy contemplating his divorce, and the girl considering an abortion) in the right direction by sneaking themselves into their dreams. “Dream Ghosts” has a sweet vibe obviously reminiscent of the Dreamgirls—oh, and because they’re all women, the job doesn’t pay very well.
I guess Christmas songs have to be a bit tacky in terms of melody, but I would have much rather preferred a Sublime approach to this one. Still, the lyrics reflect that biting satire the show has become known for. They totally oversell the concept of a sunny Christmastime (Christmas without snow is bullshit), only to slowly destroy the joyous, seasonal spirit by making us think about real stuff, like cancer and the consumerist mentality behind the holiday. A nice touch is everyone collectively admitting, in a complete side note, to wanting to find themselves. It’s another moment that normalizes all the “crazy” in everyone’s thoughts.
We all knew the team behind Crazy Ex-Girlfriend would pull out all stops for the season finale, but we didn’t see Lea Salonga coming. Introduced as Josh’s Aunt Myrna, a one-time Star Search celebrity from the eighties who never quite got over her self-perceived stardom, Salonga took to the stage to sing about that One Indescribable Instant—the very one Rebecca has been waiting for throughout the whole episode, if not the entire season. And in that “one indescribable, magical, mystical, endless, incredible, barely believable truly unlikely but not inconceivable, what are you kidding me, no it’s for-realable instant,” while Myrna sings her little heart out on stage, Rebecca finally gets what she (thinks) she’s always wanted.
Fontana’s voice mesmerized the hearts of many a little girl when he lent it to Frozen’s Prince Hans. Now, some three years later, Fontana is doing the very same for girls in their teens, ladies in their fifties and pretty much everyone in between. “What I’ll Be,”, the opening of which is reminiscent of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” is Greg’s first solo on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and it helps really bring shape to his character. We’d already gotten to know the cynical, but secretly hopeful side of him, but this is the first time he really drops his guard since his disastrous date with Becca. In “What I’ll Be,” Greg shares with us his need to break free from West Covina and his life as a lime slicing, vodka pouring bartender.
Daryl is discovering a whole new world and is open to all types of new experiences, including “Having a Few People Over” and impressing them with a wide selection of fromage and crudités. This is another great tribute to Daryl’s general excitement and his efforts to find his place in the world. This song is the drug you need to muster up the energy to clean your house in under two minutes, AKA just before your guests arrive.
This was the very first song on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and therefore, also the moment when most of us awkwardly scratched our heads and stifled a laugh, while wondering, “What the hell am I watching right now?” It’s such a Disney moment, complete with cheesy dance routines and pretty dresses, some may have had a hard time fully immersing themselves in it, for fear of actually liking something seemingly kitschy. But if you can move past that and actually start listening to the lyrics, you’ll notice that this particular New York princess seems to have barely escaped the padded walls of an asylum, hence her need to escape to West Covina. But just to be clear: it’s not because Josh lives there, she just needed a change… ’cause to move there for Josh, now that’d be strange, right?
If you’ve ever gone through a loner spell during high school, or faced a big transitional period in your life, you may relate to “I Have Friends.” It’s basically the song you sing to yourself when you’re trying to convince yourself you’ve got lots of friends… when in actuality, you don’t. Or do you? Think of it this way: Rebecca (sarcastically) mentions several friends, Paula and Daryl included. And while they may not be “cool,” they have her back no matter what, whereas the “in-crowd” (Josh, Valencia, etc.) fail to see the loneliness Rebecca is hiding deep inside. So next time you’re moping about and pulling a Bridget Jones, take a good look around: you definitely, objectively have all the friends.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone understood the gravity of a textmergency? Or worse yet—a messagepocalpyse! Fortunately, Rebecca Bunch seems to be surrounded by fellow lawyers and clients who have had their fair share of textmergencies and don’t hold it against her when she dashes out of the office in an attempt to save herself from complete and utter humiliation… Well. Kind of. Either way, this snazzy formation has definitely coined a term that will follow us into the next decade.
Poor Daryl, he’s just got so much going on, but he’s crap at expressing the many things that go through his confused mind. He still hasn’t found his way in life and transmits such excited curiosity, it’s hard to take him seriously at times. But it is this gentle and child-like spirit of enquiry, this unconditional and totally NOT creepy love that ultimately saves him from looking/sounding like a dodgy guy. Daryl is sincere and he really does love his daughter (in a normal way). And if you look passed the Freudian horses in the video, you’ll believe that too.
This song works on so many levels. Not only is does this express relatable sentiments for the perpetually insecure, it also plays on the fact that many a yoga teacher these days acts like a self-professed guru, if not an object of idolization. Had the song been performed by anyone other than Valencia, it wouldn’t have had the same impact. But Valencia relishes in her yoga “fan base” and the fact she can kiss her own hoo-ha, so the song really isn’t all that far-fetched. Inhaling her own arrogance and exhaling on a “Rebecca sucks,” Valencia does not shy away from winding down her vicious Vinyasa flow to a chorus of childish nyah, nyah, nyahs.
There aren’t many women who can pull off a skin-tight animal print bodysuit, but two immediately come to mind: Ciara and Rebecca Bunch. Ciara definitely has the grace and fierce sexuality that shines in this suit and its wild patterns, but Rebecca is in a league of her own. It’s hard to be goofy and sexy at the same time, but that’s precisely what she pulls off here. Lyrically, the song isn’t as strong as its concept—which exaggerates the drama of an impromptu hookup, from the initial, horny confidence, to panic, to the biggest dread of all: the sweaty balls.
A group of teenaged girls urging you to “put yourself first for him” perfectly represents everything that’s wrong with this world. Another hilarious parody, this time of Fifth Harmony’s “Worth It,” “Put Yourself First” is as funny as it is tragic. Initially, these girls seem to send a positive message of empowerment, motivating ladies to pierce their ears, push up their boobs and wear six inch heels “just for yourself,” but it quickly becomes clear that the only reason they are torturing their bodies is to look hot enough for a guy to like, totally, want to make out with them.
The dreaded group hang includes salsa, burritos, taquitos, guacamole and pizza, and all the perfect ingredients for a Shakira parody! I mean, those are all Columbian foods right? Once again, Rebecca Bunch sings from the deluded heart of a desperate woman when her long-awaited date with Josh turns into a group hang. Beneath all that obsessing about Josh being out of reach, it’s nice to see that Rebecca’s intelligence still manages to trump her shallow ways, as she makes time to address the bastardization of the Mexican culture.
This is Paula’s moment of crazy, and she performs it in true Broadway style. Obviously confused by her maternal feelings for Rebecca and her insatiable craving for her own romantic reality show, Paula has finally lost her shit over the Grebecca affair. Her opening will immediately make you flashback to all the times your mother has listed the many things she sacrificed. She’s intimidating and like every friendly mother and mothering friend, she’s got chutzpah.
The competition between so-called “sisters” can be a cruel sport if you’re into playing that kind of game. Valencia is the star player in the West Covina’s women-to-envy-competition and although her character is easy to hate, it’s also easy to see where that shallow wall she’s built around herself comes from. She appears to have been stung in many a crazy girl rivalry, and has now taken to mistrusting women in general. She’s not subtle about it either; her wariness of other women has turned her into an ice queen who turns to sheer bullying tactics in an attempt to keep needy, backstabbing chicks at bay. “Women Gotta Stick Together” is spot on in its portrayal of the complexity of the female relationship and what constitutes a sisterhood these days.
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching.” So much for Rebecca’s integrity. It takes some harsh but deserved criticism from Greg to get her to want to do right by others, but her heart isn’t in it at all at first. She’s too busy making sure her good deeds are witnessed by others, Greg in particular. Surely not the most attractive quality in a person, but now that we know what Rebecca is all about, we can’t hold it against her at all. In this song she continues to do what she’s been doing all along: looking for validation and love. But at least she does so with a whole lot of punky attitude: “I’m a good person, get it? FUCK YOU!”
“His Status is Preferred” is the female equivalent to Hugh Laurie’s “Sophisticated Song.” This song is a shining example of Bloom’s witty, imaginative writing skills and Champlin’s captivating voice and stage presence. Paula expresses her fascination for Calvin Young (Cedric Yarbrough) with such savoir faire, it’s impossible not to feel her deep longing for romance. She’s not really interested in an affair with Calvin. He’s not just a piece of meat, he’s filet mignon and that’s what has excited her hungry palate. All she wants is to experience something out of the ordinary; to taste French cheeses and lay on four hundred threat count sheets. She’s not in love with Calvin, she’s in love with his lifestyle.
This song will make you laugh and it’ll really make you want Greg to win Rebecca’s heart. “Settle For Me” is endearing, albeit in sarcastic, in-your-face Greg style. He knows she’s all hung up on Chan and that she’s got a lot of crap to figure out, but he is so convinced of their connection, he’s happy to be her second choice. Deep down, he really does believe that their coming together this way is fate. They’ve got a great Freddy and Ginger routine going, and connect in a way Rebecca and Josh just… don’t. Greg, you had me routing for a settlement from the get-go.
In a “Settle For Me” reprise, we totally get Greg’s surprise when Heather—of all people—bursts into song. It may have been a brief moment, but we’re happy to settle for just about anything when we get to see more of Vella Lovell.
As May Saunders said in her review of “Josh and I Work on a Case,” “there is only one woman making television who loves The Music Man enough to make a musical number modeled after “Ya got Trouble” and her name is Rachel Bloom.” The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s parody of Robert Preston’s Professor Hill spreading mass hysteria over a pool table is unerring. The implications of Rebecca’s concern however, could be a lot more dangerous than the birth of a pool-playing subculture: Rebecca is fighting the evils of cold water, the use of which, as we all know, can lead to cocaine.
I caught a little spoiler of this clip before the episode aired and, after seeing Rachel make them bags of yellow fat bounce like nobody’s business, I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say/rap/sing about the Heavy Boobs issue. Unfortunately, the video—scrap that, the dance!—was better than the actual song. Sure, certain dresses and tops tend to look tacky on big-busted women and yes, big boobies can definitely hold a few pencils and maybe even a stapler. But is that all there is really to having heavy boobs? I could think of a whole list of other disadvantages to having a big rack—back pain, under-boob-sweat, badly fitting bras, etc. Lyrically, the song could have been a bit more fleshed out, but I’ll admit Rebecca more than made up for it with her boob-slap.
Daryl’s ode to getting bi was a thing of real beauty. His entire storyline has been top notch: an insecure, middle-aged man who suddenly discovers his true sexuality and decides to out himself to the entire office with a little song and dance, aided by a band of polo-shirt-wearing preppy boys? wWhat’s not to love? Crazy Ex-Girlfriend pulled off the unexpected by matching up two unlikely candidates and making the situation happen without any exaggerated drama. Daryl’s as surprised by the whole bi situation as we are, but he’s dealing with it in a marvelous way, by just rolling with it—cause bi’s legit!
Admit it—you couldn’t get through “Flooded With Justice” without letting a little tear of joyful relief slip down your face. This is a tribute to Rebecca and her “leaky sink of change” it is the drip, drip, drip that only she can fix. Performed to a surprisingly chilling parody of Les Miserables’ “Do You Hear the People Sing,” this song delivers a strong message from our hero. Rebecca realizes that, while her move to California may have been rash and based on the wrong motives, she made a good decision in leaving her former firm in pursuit of happiness.
As detached as she may be from a reality without a happy end for Josh and Becca, Paula continues to be a [somewhat misguided] rock in her cookie’s life. She offers Rebecca the nurturing arms she clearly missed from her own mother, and tries her best to pick her up whenever she’s down. She’s also really good at motivational speeches, but none quite compare to her musical rendition of a “Face Your Fears” talk. This was Champlin’s first solo on the show and it was awesome. Her heart-felt urgings of “don’t wipe front to back” and “swim right after eating” brilliantly reflect Paula’s warped idea of support and hunger for sensation. With great exaggeration, chin quivering and lip twitching, Paula turns her advice into a big production, convincing herself of her own advice, better than she does Rebecca.
There’s nothing sexy about depression; according to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, your bed “smells like a tampon” and all you can do is think about thinking about thinking of fixing all the things you’ve ever done wrong. But apparently, if you slip into the role of a chain-smoking Parisian, dressed all in black and clad with Jackie Kennedy style sunglasses, you can achieve what Rebecca refers to as the sex-e frainche daypreshion. This may be a comical series, but it touches upon serious issues like depression and in its own absurd way, attempts to rid them of their stigmas.
In this song Rebecca comes to another important realization: this whole time she’s been making herself out to be Aladdin’s Jasmine, when in reality she’s Jafar. It may not be a proud moment for Rebecca Bunch, but it’s definitely another song for Rachel Bloom and co-writer Adam Schlesinger to celebrate. The music is Disney-sinister and Rebecca’s running commentary just proves how uncomfortable she is in acknowledging that she has become the wicked witch, when she’s been convincing herself that she’s the hero all this time. It almost goes hand in hand with “You Stupid Bitch” in that it’s self-deprecating but, at last, honest.
What makes this song incredibly funny is that it perfectly depicts a macho male attitude. Greg’s penis swells with pride after learning Rebecca has contracted a UTI following several nights of hot passion. You see, in Greg’s mind, Rebecca experiencing pain or discomfort after sex immediately translates to him being so good at sex “her maiden ship got wrecked.” Greg delivers the song with such pleasure and confidence, I’m sure even Rebecca felt like patting him on the head with a “well done” after his stunning, totally misinformed performance.
It takes some skill to “give good parent,” but apparently Miss Bunch has it down. With Paula having manipulated Becca into the Chan’s gathering for Thanksgiving, she can now exploit every opportunity to get the “Cham fam damp in their underpants.” This was Rachel’s first rap track on the show and she killed it. Mama Chan’s gold-toothed chorus and Josh’s sisters shaking their politely smart booties in the background perfectly contradict the neatly dressed and overly courteous reality of the situation. One thing is clear—Rebecca Bunch will suck up and kiss ass until she has them eatin’ outta her hand.
On a good day, getting ready for a hot date might have you feeling like the protagonist in your very own music video; you’ll flirt with our own reflection, bust out a few sexy moves in a hip-hugging dresses and walk out the door ready to make magic happen. But for the most part, women can end up feeling like guinea pigs in a science lab, with all the poking and prodding that has to go down, just to get hair and makeup on point. The “Sexy Getting Ready Song” exemplifies the über-confident highs and self-mutilating lows of a woman’s pre-date routine and underlines the pressure we all feel to exit our transformation quarters like the embodiment of the “perfect” female specimen.
I don’t know anyone who can’t relate to “Where’s the Bathroom” in at least one way or another. The Dutch have an idiom for the Naomi Bunch style entrance: “Falling into the house with the door,” which basically translates into totally overwhelming someone without warning, i.e. starting to rant before even having stepped foot in the door. No one does this better than a mother on a mission to question everything wrong in her daughter’s life, and no one could have portrayed such ambitious maternal anxiety better than Tovah Feldshush. I was stressed before she even got to her first insult so—job well done!
Be honest—how many times have you sung a rendition of this song to your mirror’s reflection? Me too, and that’s exactly why this song rocks hard. The lyrics are sad, but for many of us, they ring (or have rung) so very, very true. After yet another colossal slip-up, Rebecca lets it all out in a song of self-indulgent self-loathing, in which she repeatedly beats herself up for being a stupid, stupid, bitch who’s really gone and done it this time.
This song sums up Greg in a nutshell; in other words, it’s the dog’s bullocks. “I Could If I Wanted To” could have easily turned into an alt radio favorite. Had it been recorded in the nineties which it wasn’t. But it could have been! The song totally mirrors Greg’s angst and a prevailing inner conflict. On one hand, Greg is trying to break away from a path already set out for him; on the other, he feels the need to prove that he can achieve every milestone expected of him. Behind his cockiness in saying he could actually achieve whatever he wanted to, if he wanted to, he is admitting that he doesn’t really know what it is he wants.
You guessed it, the JAP Battle, as in a rap battle between two Jewish American Princesses, represents the height of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend musical genius. Jam-packed with references that’ll have the coolest of the goys break into a schwitz, this track would make many an ambitious, Jewish mother proud. These Scarsdale alpha bitches fight it out in a manner that can only be described as intellectual territorial pissing—someone’s going to have to walk out feeling the smartest, even if they both be ‘tripping like birthright.’ The lyrics tackle various socio-political issues with the finesse of a “verbal curb stomper,” so kindly “sheket bevaka the hell up,” kick back and listen to this unforgettable track.
Roxanne Sancto is a freelance journalist for Paste and The New Heroes & Pioneers. She’s the author of The Tuesday Series & co-author of The Pink Boots. She can usually be found covered in paint stains.