TOP 10: “Mean Girls” Musical Songs

April 27, 2024

BY Eric Rezsnyak

Raise your hand if you have ever been personally motivated by the movie Mean Girls. Many people have in the 20 years since its release. So many, in fact, that in the mid-2010s, it was turned into a hit Broadway musical, written by Tina Fey, with lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and a score by Jeff Richmond. And you guys, it’s actually pretty great. Like, making-out-with-a-hot-dog-level great. (That is high praise coming from me.)

As we celebrate the Best Mean Girls Quote on the podcast this week, we also wanted to look back and reexamine the songs featured in the Broadway musical. Below find my personal Top 10 songs from the show, ranked in order from worst to best. Note that we’re focusing on the performances from the Original Broadway Cast Recording.

I’m slightly psychic, so there’s a 30 percent chance you’re already disagreeing with my takes. That’s fine! Drop your own favorites Mean Girls musical tracks in the comments below!

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Honorable Mention: “It’s Not My Fault”

Generally speaking we’re not looking at songs/versions of songs from the 2024 Mean Girls musical film. We’re making an exception here, for this banger of a track by the film’s Regina George, Renee Rapp, and Megan Thee Stallion, which was used in the closing credits. It’s absolutely fierce, possibly the best song in the whole film.

10. “Cautionary Tale”

Clocking in at a brisk 1:36, this opening track to the musical does a great job conveying the Broadway-rock tone of the music, showcasing arguably the two best characters in the show (Damian and Janis), and laying out the basic premise of the story. It also manages to infuse the show’s signature snark via the duo’s playful barbs and side comments. Brief but super effective!

9. “What’s Wrong With Me?”

One of way the musical improves on the source material is by exploring the Plastics, their internal conflicts, and their individual dynamics with Regina. Gretchen Wieners’ “What’s Wrong With Me?” isn’t as catchy as Karen Smith’s number (more on that in a minute), but it is absolutely lovely. The sing-songy lullaby speaks to a little girl desperate to navigate the complicated social politics of teendom, while simultaneously making it clear that Gretchen is aware that Regina is a black hole of a person — but she has no idea how to escape her gravitational pull. It’s genuinely poignant.

8. “It Roars”

Cady’s first, and arguably, best song. This number does a great job of setting out her uniquely isolated life up until the start of the show, and her charming naivete. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the tone feels highly reminiscent of Ariel’s “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. Basically the same story, except with fewer sea witches and more binge drinking.

7. “I See Stars”

A lovely upbeat pop ballad to close out the show. “I See Stars” ends things on a hopeful note, literally and figuratively, as Cady learns her lessons and lifts up the entirety of her class, who finally drop their social structures and just…coexist. The solo Cady verses for the first 2 or so minutes are lovely on their own, but this song soars when the full cast joins in for a potent anthem of acceptance.

6. “Apex Predator”

This was one of the songs used to promote the show, and it’s easy to see why. Musically it screams “2010s pop rock” and it successfully sums up the main thrust of the show. It drives, it’s catchy, and the chorus is a banger. The verses are, I think, overwritten, but when Cady and Janis double up in the last third, the song really hits.

Top 10 Lists

5. “Stop”

Damian’s Sassy Gay Friend “look at your life, look at your choices” song isn’t the most musically resolved, but the lyrics are genuinely hilarious. They only get better as Damian passes the attention along to the other gals in the cast, who share their own horrible behaviors, culminating in a sharp critique of the way women are abused dating in a digital-photo world. “Stop. Because I’m actually a human being, not a prop.” Wise words from Karen Smith. And then a dance break!

4. “Someone Gets Hurt”

In my opinion, Regina’s shining moment in the show. Some of her other solos get shrieky, but this one zooms all over her range while still feeling coldly controlled. A great villain song can steal a show, and this one comes close. “It’s fine for you, it’s fine to flirt/and god you’re hot — why do you even wear a shirt?” Also, that duo part at the end with Aaron is fire.

3. “Sexy”

A total departure from the rest of the show, this song brings us into the mind of one Karen Smith. It starts out simultaneously serious and stupid and then explodes into a synth dance pop on empowering sexiness. Except it’s actually a searing condemnation on people (not just women!) demanding to be taken seriously while behaving ridiculously. “This is modern feminism talking/I expect to run the world in shoes I cannot walk in.” Sorry not sorry, but that is dead on. The whole list of sexy costumes, and the doctor curing sex cancer bit, make me laugh every time.

2. “Revenge Party”

Janis and Damian steal the show here — Cady is present, but it’s really their song, and it’s a banger. The ruthless plotting and glee at taking down Regina is great, and then the Greek Chorus comes in with that earworm of a chant. “She has everything. She gets everything. Regina! Regina! Regina!” Which then segues brilliantly into one of the movie’s signature quotes, “Glenn Coco! Glenn Coco! Glenn Coco!” And then the whole North Shore Lions costume admission — it is so good.

1. “I’d Rather Be Me”

This song is absolute perfection. Giving us a Broadway-meets-90s-alt-rock vibe and letting Janis Ian — the key vocal part of this show, in my opinion — an opportunity to belt some of the most gloriously written lyrics in the entire score. I understand why it’s not one of the songs used to promote the show. You’d want to use something with Cady or the Plastics. Duh. But I don’t think the show gets better than this song, especially when it gets to that dizzying bridge sequence and that soul-stirring ending. Every time I listen to it I chant along with the chorus: Janis! Janis! Janis! Janis!

Did we forget your favorite Mean Girls song? Let us know in the comments. And take a moment to re-listen to the whole Original Broadway Cast Recording. It’s totally fetch!

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Joelle
Joelle
18 days ago

Justice for Apex Predator down at #6?!?!?