Back in February of 2016, we compiled a list of the five best songs from our favorite cartoon Steven Universe. That’s been a year and a half and there’s so many more brilliant songs that have come out since then. In celebration of this month’s long awaited release of the Steven Universe soundtrack album (a must-have, by the way), we thought we’d take a look at the best of the new songs — and one we missed the first time.
5. “Do It for Her”
This one was out in time to be on our first list, but with so many great songs, we had to make some difficult decisions. “Do it For Her” was one of those hard choices — do we include it or “Strong in the Real Way”? We ended up doing “Strong in the Real Way,” but now we can give Pearl and Connie’s “Do It for Her” its due. This gorgeous songs is one of the first hints in the series that Pearl’s love and devotion to Rose Quartz is more than just loyalty to a commander.
4. “Here Comes a Thought”
“Here Comes a Thought” is so far the longest song in the Steven Universe songbook. It’s almost three-and-a-half minutes long — which is even more impressive when you realize there’s only a little over 10 minutes in an episode. Almost an entire third of its episode, “Mindful Education,” is turned over to the song — so worth it. While just about everyone in the voice cast has amazing singing voices, we still get a thrill when Garnet, voiced by Estelle, gets a song. In “Here Comes a Thought,” Estelle is joined by Stevonnie’s voice actress, pop singer AJ Michalka. And, like just about everything in Steven Universe, there’s a great lesson in there subtly snuck in: The song’s not just about confronting demons, but also the usefulness of meditation.
3. “What’s the Use in Feeling (Blue)?”
In a cast of amazing singers, you wouldn’t think they’d need to bring in a ringer — but we’re glad they did. Broadway legend Patti LuPone was brought in to voice Yellow Diamond — show creator Rebecca Sugar apparently used roses to convince her to take her first role in animation. For LuPone’s first song, they picked an amazing piece — “What’s the Use in Feeling (Blue)?” is unlike anything else we’d heard on the show. The opening where the Pearls sing a dissonant harmony makes the song sound surprisingly experimental. Not just for Steven Universe, but for animation in general. The lyrics are chilling — Yellow Diamond is encouraging Blue Diamond to stop having emotions. In a show that’s so much about emotional intelligence, it’s a subtle way of setting Yellow Diamond up to be the likely big-bad of the series. (And — without getting too spoilery — it makes us wonder about the two Diamonds’ relationship after the events of “The Trial.”)
And, as a bonus: Rebecca Sugar singing the song:
2. “Love Like You”
“Love Like You” is the ending theme for the first three seasons of Steven Universe, and a verse appears in the Season 3 finale, “Bubbled.” The song beautifully explains what the show is about — learning how to love and what love means. As the song progresses we get different looks at what it is to love — both others and yourself. These lyrics from the song are powerful for anyone going through self-loathing or depression:
I always thought I might be bad
Now I’m sure that it’s true
’cause I think you’re so good
And I’m nothing like you
Look at you go
I just adore you
I wish that I knew
What makes you think I’m so special
If I could begin to do
Something that does right by you
I would do about anything
I would even learn how to love
Though at first blush those lyrics seem harsh and self-critical, the music betrays it as hopeful, as does the final line “Love me like you.” That added “me” in the final runthrough is a brilliant way of summing up the truism that you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself. According to Sugar, who wrote the lyrics and sings, the song isn’t meant to be from any one character — and that’s the beauty of it. We can easily see Steven, Pearl or Rose Quartz herself as the singer — or even someone like Lars. And, well, honestly — the lyrics and melody are just beautiful. This could — and should — be the latest addition to the Great American Songbook. “Love Like You” can easily stand along such standards as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Summertime,” or “As Time Goes By.”
1. The Entirety of “Mr. Greg”
If you’ve checked the comments on the first article, you may have seen this one:
And our only feeble excuse was that our list was written before “Mr. Greg” aired. But Uji’s right — “It’s Over, Isn’t It,” as well as all the songs in the all-musical episode “Mr. Greg” are absolutely essential. The episode is one of the few to take place outside of Beach City; Greg, Steven and Pearl all take a trip to
New York Empire City to have a bit of fun with Greg’s newfound riches. The entire episode is exquisitely produced. (No wonder both Rebecca Sugar and Tom Scharpling, who plays Greg, have named “Mr. Greg” as their favorite episode.) If, for some reason, you’ve held off on watching this episode because you don’t like musicals — well, you’re probably watching the wrong show, but just listen to “It’s Over, Isn’t It” to find out what a huge mistake you made.