Reader, one of the ongoing tragedies of COVID-19 lockdowns is the absence of live theatre. You can listen to cast recordings and you can watch pro-shots, and if you’re really desperate you can watch movie adaptations, but there’s nothing quite like the magic of sitting in a theatre watching a musical. It’s my favourite form of entertainment and I miss it desperately. Even though I’ve never had a chance to see a show on Broadway, it makes me very sad that its currently shut down.
That brings me, in a roundabout way, to today’s topic. Last week, Mean Girls the Musical announced that it would not be returning to Broadway when COVID restrictions are lifted. Although I don’t have a huge emotional attachment to this show, I’m still upset at this news, because I always get upset when a show that I have even a passing interest in closes.
So, in honour of the Broadway show, today, I’m going to be ranking all of the songs from Mean Girls the Musical. I have never seen the show (and based on the news of its closure, it’s going to be a long time before I will get to to see it), so unlike some previous rankings, this is based entirely on what the songs sound like on the cast recording, and my knowledge of the plot of the movie.
So let’s dive right into the rankings!
21. More Is Better
When I went to do these rankings, I was a little surprised to find this song at the bottom. It’s not that I have anything against it. I think it’s a fairly sweet duet that highlights the relationship and differences between Cady and Aaron, I just…never listen to it. Like, at all. I haven’t listened to it since I bought the recording, so, sorry “More Is Better.” You are not better than any of the other songs.
This is another one that I don’t have a strong negative feeling towards. It works…fine, I guess. But really, that’s all it is. It’s fine, and that’s not enough to compell me to listen to it on repeat.
19. I See Stars
This is another song that is basically fine. It probably works well onstage, as a close to the show, but just to listen to, it’s a touch generic. This is actually a problem with a lot of finales. Away from the emotions of the stage, they can be very similar and bland, especially if I listen to them too close together. Sorry, “I See Stars.” It’s not you, it’s me.
18. Where Do You Belong?
Damian is a great character, and I think both of his songs are really funny, but of the two, I listen to this one less. There are some great jokes about the various cliques in the high school and it’s a good introductory number, but all in all, it’s basically the same as the scene from the movie just put to music. I usually like a number with a bit more punch.
17, 16, & 15: What’s Wrong With Me? (Reprise), Someone Gets Hurt (Reprise), & Stupid With Love (Reprise)
I’m ranking these three reprises together, because none of them are really long enough to warrant its own entry, and I feel the same way about all of them. I like them all, but mainly because I like the original iterations of all three songs. These are more little blips of remembrance rather than radical reimaginings, and I like them, but I don’t love them.
14. What’s Wrong With Me?
I think this is an excellent character song for Gretchen. It gets right into her head and develops her character in a way I don’t think the movie really did. It’s funny and sad at the same time (“Mamma calls me beautiful/Don’t believe her anymore”-ouch, that’s a harsh line), and shines a well-deserved spotlight on the most overlooked Plastic. However, outside of all this context, just listening to, not my favourite.
13. Revenge Party
“Revenge Party” I like, to a point. It’s got a fun beat and it is depicting probably the most iconic part of the movie, but I also have two issues with it. One, there’s a lot of dialogue which makes it hard to jam out to it, and two, the line “It’s a revenge party/It’s a party with revenge is what it’s like” is just stupid. You couldn’t come up with a better descriptor than just reversing the word order? Come on.
12. Whose House Is This?
I know this is one of the most unpopular songs in the whole show, but I actually really like it. I have a weakness for big goofy party songs in musicals. This is basically the “Big Fun” of Mean Girls, and it works for me. It’s just silly.
11. A Cautionary Tale
The only reason this isn’t ranked higher is it’s too short. I think this is a fantastic opening to the show, I love the chemistry between Janice and Damian, and I love the opening instrumental that matches the opening of “Meet the Plastics.” Like I said, make this song a little longer and its easily in my top 10.
This is my favourite Damian song. It works well for his character, while also delivering really solid jokes that weren’t already in the movie. It’s also insanely catchy and gives Grey Henson a chance to shine in all his toe-tapping, jazz hands glory and that’s always a good thing.
9. Do This Thing
I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about this song that really works for me. It’s one of those empowering feminist songs that I love, but it’s also got some really funny lines (my personal favourite may be “Welcome to the IMCT State Final Math Championships, sponsored by no one” for the sheer randomness), and there’s a great beat to it as well. I’m also kind of obsessed with the audacity of rhyming “bitch” with “mission”, which does not work written out, but if you listen to Erika Henningsen’s delivery, you’ll see what I mean. It’s just kind of awesome.
8. I’d Rather Be Me
Speaking of kind of awesome, it’s time to show some love to Barrett Wilbert Weed, who is perfectly cast as Janice. This is another one of those awesome feminist empowerment songs, and it works partially because of the badass delivery by Wilbert Weed. It’s just that little bit more edgier and in-your-face than your typical girlpower song, which is what gets it this high up on the list.
7. It Roars
I think this is an excellent “I Want” song. It beautifully sets up both Cady and the jungle of contemporary high school, while also establishing the comedic tone for the rest of the show. Any “I Want” song that includes the line, “I try to confide in my lions/But they keep biting me,” tells you you’re in for a very funny evening with a slightly quirkier heroine than your typical Disney princess-type ingenue.
6. Stupid With Love
I just adore this song. It’s a perfectly giddy, giggly first-crush type of love song, that doesn’t make the mistake of taking itself too seriously. It’s crush at first sight in a very high school kind of way, and the goofiness of the song perfectly conveys that vibe. I’m also just really really amused by the line, “I’m astounded and nonplussed/I am filled with calcu-lust”, because I am easily entertained by puns, and it makes me chortle every time I listen to it.
5. Meet the Plastics
As introductory songs go, there aren’t many better than this one. Each Plastic gets a chance to introduce herself in her own unique style (Regina-slowly because she knows the music will wait for her, Gretchen-as fast as possible, because she hardly ever gets a chance to speak, and Karen-without a care or any amount of depth). It’s a fun way to get to know our central characters, and it gives their appearance all the drama it deserves.
4. Apex Predator
As good as “I’d Rather Be Me” is, “Apex Predator” is the better showcase for Wilbert Weed’s talents. I don’t have any insightful analysis to offer about this song, I’m just obsessed with the sound of Barrett Wilbert Weed and Erika Henningsen belting harmonies together. It sounds gorgeous, and I listen to the end of this song on constant repeat.
Karen’s ode to sexy Halloween costumes is an absolute hoot, and gives another dimension to her character. She may be stupid, but she’s always surprisingly canny about certain things. This song is mostly silly, with a surprisingly sharp edge (the line, “This is modern feminism talking/I expect to run the world in shoes I cannot walk in” is perhaps the most obvious example), and much like Mean Girls itself, it shows that feminism can be found in the bubbliest and pinkest of places.
2. Someone Gets Hurt
Okay, I am just obsessed with Taylor Louderman and the amazing belting she brings to Regina. This song is a masterclass in manipulation, as Regina literally never touches the floor as she somehow convinces Aaron she was the victim. It shows Regina’s clever side and her evil side in equal measure, and sets her up perfectly as someone who won’t give up without a fight, letting us know that dislodging her from power won’t be as much of a party as Janice assures us it will.
Okay, I love a good villain song, and this is a really good villain song. Regina finally just lets it all go, both story wise by releasing the Burn Book, but also vocally, by belting and riffing some insane notes. It’s pretty much the epitome of “If I go, you’ll go with me”, and Taylor Louderman absolutely nails it, making this, without a doubt, my number one song from Mean Girls the Musical.
And that’s all I’ve got for you today. You guys should let me know in the comments your thoughts on Mean Girls the Musical or the show you most want to see live when that’s finally allowed again, stay safe, wear a mask, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.
Until the next time.