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  • Writer's pictureZachary Zanatta

Top 15 Muppets Songs

Am I even going to bother with an introduction? The Muppets are the greatest thing to happen to art since mankind began documenting their mammoth hunts with blood and dirt on cave walls, and if you need me to explain that to you then you’re too far gone to help. I have a very personal connection with The Muppets but even outside of that, it’s hard to find any franchise as funny, creative, heartfelt, and unique as them. They’re hands down one of the strangest cultural icons out there, but it’s impossible not to fall in love with their idiosyncratic charm. While I could gush for literal hours, I’d like to bring attention to one of their most endearing qualities, their music. While they have 44 years of film music (and even more with the fantastic Muppet Show), I’ve decided to narrow down my 15 favorites songs from their ever charming and expansive repertoire.

#15: Cabin Fever - Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Cabin Fever is capital “W” wild. Muppet Treasure Island’s strongest attribute is its set pieces. Even when the movie falters narratively, the huge production design always delivers. Cabin Fever is the apex of this. A completely insane song that zips from country to samba to funk to opera all while the set metamorphizes like a kaleidoscopic cyclone. Arguably the best part of the movie, Cabin Fever is a ridiculously good time and as always, catchy as hell.

#14: Happiness Hotel - The Great Muppet Caper (1981)

The Great Muppet Caper has the privilege of doing a pseudo-factory reset on the Muppets since they each play a new version of their character. This allows for reintroductions in the form of song, and none are as charming as the Happiness Hotel. A twangy groove fires away as the Muppet cast unloads a laundry list of issues plaguing the titular hotel. The rapid introduction of the characters grows ever frantic as the cast fully takes form for the rollicking heist film to follow.

#13: Together Again - Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

This earworm from Muppets Take Manhattan may have been stained by its inclusion in an inescapable Vrbo ads a few years back, but it still stands on its own as a really sweet and great song. Manhattan is the Muppets’ take on Broadway, and Together Again serves as the successful product of this experimentation. It’s dynamic, slowly building to a big, schmaltzy climax. But most importantly, the song acts as a thesis statement to the Muppets’ innocent and earnest themes of family.

#12: Shiver Me Timbers - Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

The opening song to Muppet Treasure Island is a sinister and thumping sea shanty that features none of the main cast. Vocals duties are split among bugs, fish alligators, and tiki masks while the chorus is carried by a faceless crew of shadowy pirates. It sets a dark tone with haunting lyrics and instrumentation. It hardly constitutes a Muppet song, but it’s a catchy and ominous tune that sets the stage for a high stakes and serious tale.

#11: Life's A Happy Song - The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets (2011) had the tall task of not only faithfully adapting the Muppet brand, but also translating it to a whole new era. Luckily, the joyous opening number, Life’s a Happy Song, sets aside any concerns with haste. Bright and bubbly, but not without the signature humor and snark of the Muppets, it’s on brand but also distinctly modern. The eventual town-wide climax of the song demonstrates the perfect blend of classic Hollywood musical reverence and Muppet zaniness all while remaining endlessly catchy.

#10: Scrooge - A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The frigid opening number to A Muppet Christmas Carol perfectly sets up the icy character of Scrooge and the cozy atmosphere of the film. The wintery landscape is scored by a punchy orchestra and lyrics which render Scrooge as a generally unpleasant man. While certainly snide, the song feels warm thanks to some whimsical in

#9: I Hope That Somethin' Better Comes Along - The Muppet Movie (1979)

In The Muppet Movie, Jim Henson playing Kermit the Frog duets with Jim Henson playing Rowlf the dog. It’s a bluesy piano song carried by funny lyrics and earnest vocals. While many Muppet songs include massive orchestral crescendos, this one rests on the laurels of the charm of the characters. The strengths of the first film lie in the sweet and funny relationships between the main cast, and Something Better Comes Along serves as the ultimate synthesis of that.

#8: Man or Muppet - The Muppets (2011)

I think it’s been long enough to deem this song a bonafide classic. Songwriter, Brett McKenzie’s (of Flight of the Conchords fame) wit is on full display in this showstopper from The Muppets (2011). The intense struggle of choosing between man or Muppet is realized with a piano ballad that leads to a massive emotional climax in the rain. Sure, is the struggle of "Man or Muppet" one grave enough to merit a song of such weight, maybe not, but for about 3 minutes, it sure feels like it.

#7: Marley and Marley - A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

This certainly isn’t as iconic as the other songs that will round out the top 10 but this Christmas Carol deep cut is genuinely one of the best songs to come from the Muppet canon. A Statler and Waldorf duet, Marley and Marley is a cautionary tale about being good in life lest you pay for your sins with an afterlife of chains and torture, and by God it is such a banger. The baroque instrumentation perfectly complements the haunting but jaunty tone of the ghost story, and the creative visuals form a standout sequence from an already standout film.

#6: We're Doing a Sequel - Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

I have mixed feelings on Muppets Most Wanted, but before contrived settings, annoying frogs, and Ricky Gervais, there’s the opening number. The broadway excess of 2011 is cranked up a notch with an intricate and theatrical song and dance that would make Busby Berkely proud. It’s equal parts bombastic, funny, and I’ll say it again, charming, in a way only the Muppets can be. It’s a meta and joyful tune, truly a victory lap that celebrates all things Muppets.

#5: Pictures In My Head - The Muppets (2011)

As much as the Muppets approach music with the same tongue and cheek snark of their narratives and humor, they can also imbue it with the heart-on-sleeve sentimentality that drives their films. Pictures in My Head takes a more mature approach than the twinkly optimism of the earlier films with a ballad about nostalgia and growing up. It’s a moving song with one of the best musical climaxes in Muppets history.

#4: Movin' Right Along - The Muppet Movie (1979)

The original Muppet Movie is the ultimate road trip movie with its cross-country voyage to get the Muppet name to Hollywood. This journey is spurred by Kermit, but the road trip really begins when a frog and a bear go to see America. Movin’ Right Along kicks off the adventure with one of the most fun duets ever featured in a movie. It’s an iconic song that captures the light-hearted friendship that the Muppets are founded upon. A true staple for any road trip.

#3: Can You Picture That? - The Muppets Mayhem (2023)

The Electric Mayhem is the resident band of the Muppet cast, and they certainly earn that position. Can You Picture That? is the ripping introduction to the band in the original film. Gibberish lyrics, groovy instrumentation and twinges of psychedelia, metal, and blues all smash together into a great rock tune. A thunderous celebration of rock and roll that demonstrates the surprising versatility of the Muppets.

#2: I'm Going Back There Someday - The Muppet Movie (1979)

While humor serves as the backbone for majority of the songs listed, I’m Going Back There Someday is nothing but genuine. An ode to outsiders and finding your place among the outcasts, this slow folk song is the true heart of the Muppets. The gaggle of mismatched pigs, frogs, and whatever Gonzo is becomes a family over the duration of this song. They become less a traveling band of misfits and a haven for the disenfranchised and those who seek home in the cracks between the ordinary.

#1: Rainbow Connection - The Muppet Movie (1979)

I’m not entirely sure if this is my personal favorite, but I couldn’t possibly give anything else the number one spot. Acting as the thesis statement for the Muppets, Rainbow Connection is a hopeful folk song about chasing your dreams and making people happy. While the music of the Muppets ranges from acid rock to broadway musical to sea shanty, there is a reason Rainbow Connection was first. The innocent love it expounds is what defined, and continues to define what the Muppets are all about almost half a century later.

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